DCFS INFO MEMO 2000-12

September 15, 2000

STATE OF WISCONSIN
Department of Health and Family Services
Division of Children and Family Services

To: Adoptive Parent Support Groups
Area Administrators/Assistant Area Administrators
Bureau Directors
County Departments of Community Programs Directors
County Departments of Developmental Disabilities Services Directors
County Departments of Human Services Directors
County Departments of Social Services Directors
Licensed Adoption Agency Directors
Licensing Chiefs/Section Chiefs
Tribal Chairpersons/Human Services Facilitators
From: Susan N. Dreyfus
Administrator
Re: Health of Children Adopted from Abroad

International adoption often includes an awareness that limited health and genetic background information about the child is available. However, adoption agencies can assist prospective adoptive families prepare for their adoption and care for the child from the experience gained in prior adoptions.

Recently reported research indicates that lead poisoning has been reported among some Chinese and Russian children adopted by U.S. citizens. The study looked at children from these nations because they comprised 55% of the 1998 orphans adopted abroad who were issued immigrant visas. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children from countries where lead poisoning is prevalent be screened for elevated blood lead levels. Testing soon after the child’s arrival in the United States will make it easier to determine if exposure occurred before arrival in the United States. This research is reported in "Elevated Blood Lead Levels Among Internationally Adopted Children – United States, 1998." Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 2000; 49(05): 97-100.

In late 1999, the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services also distributed the attached information about Hepatitis A & B for adoption agencies to share with prospective adoptive parents.

Thank you for your continuing efforts to provide health care and other information to prospective and current adoptive parents of children from abroad. While over 400 Wisconsin families adopt children from abroad each year, these children remain a small proportion of all children in the state. Their adoptive families and the agencies that arrange these adoptions will need to continue to make efforts to assure that any special health care concerns of these children are appropriately addressed.

 

REGIONAL OFFICE CONTACT: Licensing Chief
CENTRAL OFFICE CONTACT: Dale Langer
Manager, Adoption & Consultation Section
DHFS/DCFS
P. O. Box 8916
Madison, WI 53708-8916
(608) 266-3595
FAX: (608) 264-6750
e-mail: langedw@dhfs.state.wi.us

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