Photolistings

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photolistings

Refers to photographs and descriptions of children available for adoption, who are also known as WAITING CHILDREN. Many agencies, attorneys and organizations now offer photolistings of children who need adoptive families on their internet websites.

Starting in 1971 the Adoption Listing Service in Illinois was the first organization to use a photolisting service to find families for older children. Subsequently, the Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange (MARE) and Children Awaitong Adoptive Parents (CAP) also began using photolistings in 1972. (See cap book.) In 1975, New York law ordered that all children needing adoptive families be photolisted.

Each state social service agency has a photolisting book, usually available to individuals who have completed their home study or who are considering adopting a child with SPECIAL NEEDS. How updated these listings are varies from state to state. Photolistings are used in conjunction with VIDEOTAPES of children needing families, media campaigns, adoption fairs and picnics and a variety of tactics to recruit adoptive parents.

Adoptive parent support groups often include photographs of waiting children in their newsletters. Prospective adoptive parents may also purchase photolisting books through such organizations as Children Awaiting Adoptive Parents (CAP) in Rochester, New York, which offers photolistings of domestic children, or through the International Concerns for Children in Boulder, Colorado, which includes photolistings of children from other countries.

Most photolistings are of children with special needs who are black or mixed race, are over age eightor have siblings and need to have some degree of emotional, mental or physical disability.

It is clear from the efforts of the CAP book as well as the many state photolisting services that photolisting children is an effective way to recruit adoptive parents. Giving a "face" and a description to a child inspires many adopting parents to select a particular child or at least ask for further information.

Public policy is moving to universalize photolisting of all waiting children in the public welfare system with the understanding that public funds will be used to underwrite this essential OUTREACH service. For instance, a 1999 article in USA Today reported that a decision had been made to commit more than $2 million to set up a national Internet listing. (See also RECRUITMENT.)

Other variants on photolistings are weekly newspapers or television segments featuring a specific child. Such campaigns have been successful in recruiting families into adoption, even if not for the child featured. In addition, organizations such as the National Adoption Resource Exchange maintain photolistings of approved families who are seeking children.

Some organizations, such as the National Council For Adoption (NCFA), have expressed reservations about photolisting, especially on the Internet. NCFA is concerned about the privacy rights of waiting children and the potential for the well-intentioned listings to be misused. A critical concern is that sexual predators could pervert the sound goals of photolisting.


Jeff Seideman, How to Publish a Photo Listing Book (Boston: Adoption Exchange Association, 1984).

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