Expert Witness Experience
I have testified in a variety of cases throughout the child welfare system, and more generally in the area of the impact of adoption in children's lives. Examples include examination of the child welfare practices of particular jurisdictions compared to established practice of the field, in areas such as termination of parental rights, grandparents' rights, the Inter-Ethnic Placement Act, Open Adoption and the Adoption Assistance Program. I have offered opinions on both the benefits and drawbacks of adoption versus reunification in the context of separation trauma. I have reviewed extensive documents in most cases and provided expert written opinions. I have been deposed in several cases and appeared before the Courts in others. I have also served as an temporary Administrative Judge in two California Counties.
My background in legislation includes serving as state legislative chairman of the California Association of Adoption Agencies (CAAA) for many years and was elected President of the organization for a four-year term. The focus of my advocacy has been improving the path to a permanent family for foster children, ensuring that all adoptions equally balance the needs and rights of adoptees, birth parents and adoptive parents, and securing adoptee’s right to open records. In this capacity I served on California's Governor Wilson’s Adoption Advisory Council and on Governor Davis’s Child Welfare Stakeholders Group. The recommendations stemming from these bodies resulted in a substantial redesign of the child welfare system to the considerable benefit of children and families. In 2008 I was honored as an “Angel in Adoption” by the Congressional Committee on Adoption, in Congress and at the White House.