Carmel will help its employees adopt

City's offer of $5,000 toward adoption costs is unusual for municipalities, advocates say

CARMEL, Ind. -- A city that prides itself on being a trendsetter soon will offer a benefit rare among public employers: help in paying for adoptions.

Carmel's Board of Public Works this week approved a plan to offer each of its 500 city employees up to $5,000 in adoption costs per child, with a $10,000 maximum per employee.

The program that begins Jan. 1 would allow employees who adopted this year to be compensated $2,500 per child. That amount will be taxable, while the future benefits will not be.

Adoption advocates and experts agree that Carmel's new policy will make the affluent suburb one of the few cities in the nation to offer such benefits.

Meg Sterchi is executive director of Carmel-based Adoptions of Indiana, which helps families throughout the state prepare for adoption. She said Carmel is the first government employer she's heard of that helps employees pay for adoption.

"Within Indiana, they're on the leading edge," Sterchi said. "Most municipalities don't have the income to be able to offer that."

Experts say average adoption costs range from as little as $1,000 in the United States to up to $40,000 for some international adoptions.

Carmel's benefit would cover expenses such as agency and placement fees, court costs and medical expenses for the birth mother and child. The board on Wednesday approved a resolution to start the program.

Barbara Lamb, the city's director of human resources, said the adoption assistance dollars would come from money in the city's employee health-care account. Carmel runs its own health insurance program with a third-party administrator.

City funds cover 85 percent of that account, which stands at more than $6 million in revenue. Employees pay the remaining 15 percent.

Lamb said her department has kicked around the idea for the initiative for the past several years. She said at least three employees adopted children this year and estimated that about five employees will take advantage of the program each year.

"We're always looking for things we can do in our never-ending quest to make our benefits package as attractive as possible," Lamb said.

But some question whether city employees should receive the help from taxpayer dollars.

Carmel Clerk-Treasurer Diana Cordray, who adopted a child 25 years ago, said providing help with adoption is fitting in the private sector. But she doesn't think the benefit should come at the public's expense.

"I don't think that's local government's purpose," Cordray said.

Carmel City Councilman Eric Seidensticker said he doesn't view adoption as an insurance issue -- especially not one that should come from city funds.

"I feel for the people who can't have children, but insurance is designed to prevent catastrophic loss," Seidensticker said. "Just because other companies (provide the benefit) doesn't mean it's fiscally responsible."

As of 2006, 45 percent of employers offered adoption benefits, according to a survey of 916 employers sponsored by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, a nonprofit that pushes to increase the number of adoptions nationwide.

A dozen of those surveyed were in the government sector.

Lamb said that to her knowledge, no other cities in Hamilton County offer such a benefit.

Employees of the Indianapolis city-county government's human resources division declined Wednesday to say whether the capital city offers such a benefit. City offices were closed Thursday and Friday for the Thanksgiving holiday.

In the private sector, two Indianapolis companies rank among the Dave Thomas Foundation's list of top 100 adoption-friendly workplaces. Eli Lilly is 14th, offering $10,000 in financial assistance and a week of paid leave for employees who adopt. Duke Realty Corp. ranks 19th with $7,500 and two weeks of paid leave.

Rhode Island-based Citizens Financial Group, which tops the list, offers close to $21,000 per adoption and one week of paid leave.

Gloria Hochman, communications director for the adoption advocacy group the National Adoption Center, said offering adoption assistance benefits is a smart move for employers.

Because not many employees take advantage of the option, it provides a relatively low-cost way of making the company a more attractive place to work.

Hochman said the bureaucracy involved with municipal employers adding adoption benefits makes for a small number of cities that offer them.

But she expects that number will grow.

"As adoption becomes more in the news, it's inevitable," Hochman said. "More companies and municipal governments will become aware of the need for these benefits."

0

"It's inevitable"?!? Is this American Industry, at it's core?

Are you F/n CRAZY?!?!?!? 

"I feel for the people who can't have children, but insurance is designed to prevent catastrophic loss," Seidensticker said. "Just because other companies (provide the benefit) doesn't mean it's fiscally responsible."  So let's find a way to make gains every which way we can.  HMMMM.  How can we do that?  Claim it through some other person's child!!!  YAY!  One woman's loss is another company's gain, and boy does that bring back lots of sweet, sweet money for the companies, baby!!  Just watch how this thing unfolds. Unfuckingbelievable how it needs to register a few times...

Lamb said her department has kicked around the idea for the initiative for the past several years. She said at least three employees adopted children this year and estimated that about five employees will take advantage of the program each year.

"We're always looking for things we can do in our never-ending quest to make our benefits package as attractive as possible," Lamb said.

But some question whether city employees should receive the help from taxpayer dollars.

Carmel Clerk-Treasurer Diana Cordray, who adopted a child 25 years ago, said providing help with adoption is fitting in the private sector. But she doesn't think the benefit should come at the public's expense.  Of course not.  But people are easily fooled by public/private sectors of the community, right?  Taxes, shmaxes, no one really pays attention to a few extra cents added on here and there, do they?  I'm sure if it's weaned in slowly, no one will notice.     (Let's see, where's my slide, rule?)

As of 2006, 45 percent of employers offered adoption benefits, according to a survey of 916 employers sponsored by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, a nonprofit that pushes to increase the number of adoptions nationwide.

A dozen of those surveyed were in the government sector.

Lamb said that to her knowledge, no other cities in Hamilton County offer such a benefit.

Employees of the Indianapolis city-county government's human resources division declined Wednesday to say whether the capital city offers such a benefit. City offices were closed Thursday and Friday for the Thanksgiving holiday.

In the private sector, two Indianapolis companies rank among the Dave Thomas Foundation's list of top 100 adoption-friendly workplaces. Eli Lilly is 14th, offering $10,000 in financial assistance and a week of paid leave for employees who adopt. Duke Realty Corp. ranks 19th with $7,500 and two weeks of paid leave.

Rhode Island-based Citizens Financial Group, which tops the list, offers close to $21,000 per adoption and one week of paid leave.

Gloria Hochman, communications director for the adoption advocacy group the National Adoption Center, said offering adoption assistance benefits is a smart move for employers.  Of course Gloria would say that, especially if Gloria wants to keep Gloria's glorious job. 

Because not many employees take advantage of the option, it provides a relatively low-cost way of making the company a more attractive place to work.  And  there ya go kids, it's all about the money, isn't it?  The god-forsaken money, damn-it!  Why it's written on the paper itself:  "In God We Trust." 

Next will we learn mortgage lenders and car dealerships are in on the adoption market, too?  It is just that cheesy, isn't it?  Selling "The American Dream", at the expense of pre-existing families!  No wonder we're a country living on sleeping pills and viagra.

Anyone want to go green with me? 

 

 

A boy, a migrant worker... and many mouths to feed

There are those who Give, those who Take, and those who will sit and share, simply because they care. 

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22013748/

PHOENIX - An illegal immigrant who gave up his long walk into the U.S. to help a boy whose mother was killed in a van crash in the desert said Wednesday that he never thought of leaving the child.

"I am a father of four children. For that, I stayed," Manuel Jesus Cordova Soberanes said in Spanish from his home in the Mexican state of Sonora. "I never could have left him. Never."

Authorities said Cordova may have saved the life of 9-year-old Christopher Buztheitner, whose mother was killed when their van ran off a cliff in a remote area north of the Mexican border on Thanksgiving Day.

A spokeswoman for the Mexican consulate in Nogales said the office is working to obtain a short-term visa for Cordova so he can come to Arizona and be recognized for his actions.

The 26-year-old bricklayer was two days into his walk and about 50 miles from Tucson when he saw the boy, who had walked away from the crash.

In a telephone interview with The Associated Press from his home in Magdalena de Kino, Mexico, Cordova said Christopher had scrapes on his leg and was dressed in shorts despite the desert cold.

The boy had his dog with him and was holding a side mirror from the wrecked van.

'I just sat next to him'
Neither Cordova nor Christopher spoke the other's language, but the boy took the migrant to the edge of a canyon and showed him the accident site.

Authorities said Christopher and his mother, 45-year-old Dawn Alice Tomko, had been in the area camping. Tomko was driving on a U.S. Forest Service road when she lost control of the van, which landed 300 feet from the road.

By the looks of the mangled van down below, Cordova said, it was obvious the boy's mother had died. The child was distraught but did not cry.

"I felt frustrated and sad because I couldn't do anything for the mother," Cordova said. "And I didn't know how to console the boy, so I just sat next to him."

Cordova gave the boy the sweater he was wearing, climbed down to the van, and found chocolate and cookies to feed him.

He then built a bonfire, and the two hunkered down. The boy slept most of the night; Cordova kept watch and tended the fire.

Mexican mayor calls man a hero
Fourteen hours later, a group of hunters found the pair and called for help. U.S. Border Patrol agents took Cordova into custody, and Christopher was flown to a hospital in Tucson.

Christopher was reunited with family over the weekend; a message left with his uncle was not immediately returned Wednesday.

Santa Cruz County Sheriff Tony Estrada said Cordova is "very, very special and compassionate" and may have saved the boy's life.

Adriana Hoyos Rodriguez, the mayor of Magdalena de Kino, called Cordova a hero. "He left everything to save that boy," she said.

Cordova said he wanted to come to the United States to earn money to feed his four children, who live with their mother, and help support his girlfriend's three children. "I have two families, many mouths to feed," he said.

He said that even though his trip was thwarted, he is glad to be back home and wishes Christopher the best. "I hope he has a good life," he said.

 

public vs. private benefits

As a public enterprise the city of Carmel is very much following a trend that can be seen in the private sphere all to much. Every year the Dave Thomas foundation publishes the most "adoption friendly" workplace. The outrage over the people of Carmel paying for the adoption of the employees of the city is understandable. Think twice though: everyone who is a customer of any of these companies is paying just as much. Here is the top ten of the Dave Thomas list.

U.S.Rank Employer U.S. Headquarters Number of Employees Industry Financial Assistance for Adoption *includes additional assistance for special needs adoption Maximum Weeks of Paid Leave for Adoption
1 Citizens Financial Group, Inc. Providence, RI 25,000 Financial Services $20,960 1
2 CMP Technology Manhasset, NY 1,200 Entertainment, Media and Publishing $15,000 2
3 Timberland Stratham, NH 5,600 Consumer Products $12,000* 2
4 JPMorgan Chase New York, NY 169,000 Financial Services $10,000 12
5 Avon Products, Inc. New York, NY 6,500 Consumer Products $10,000 8
6 American Century Investments Kansas City, MO 1,750 Financial Services $10,000 4
7 Fannie Mae Washington, DC 6,500 Financial Services $10,000 4
8 South Mountain Company West Tisbury, MA 30 Architecture, Engineering and Construction $10,000 4
9 The McGraw-Hill Companies New York, NY 14,000 Entertainment, Media and Publishing $10,000 3
10 Abbott Laboratories Abbott Park, IL 65,000 Pharmaceutical $10,000 2
10 Leo Burnett Chicago, IL 890 Advertising, Marketing and Public Relations $10,000 2
10 Subaru of America Cherry Hill, NJ 800 Transportation and Automotive $10,000 2
10 TAP Pharmaceutical Products Inc. Lake Forest, IL 3,100 Pharmaceutical $10,000 2

Special Perks given to "special" people?

Are these perks given only to those people who adopt another person's child, but not given to every parent?  Can that really be done?

The Dave Thomas list for 2009

Every year the Dave Thomas Foundation published its list of "adoption-friendly" workplaces. Or in other words they publish a list of companies through whose activities the general public pays for the adoption subsidies of their employees.

U.S.Rank Employer U.S. Headquarters Number of Employees Industry Financial Assistance for Adoption *includes additional assistance for special needs adoption Maximum Weeks of Paid Leave for Adoption
1

Wendy's International, Inc.

Dublin, OH

38,500

Food, Beverage and Restaurants

$24,300

6
2

Citizens Financial Group, Inc. / RBS Americas

Providence, RI

25,000

Financial Services

$22,150

3

LSI Corporation

LSI Corporation

4,300

Industrial and Manufacturing

$15,000

2
3

United Business Media LLC (UBM)

Manhasset, NY

1,000

Entertainment, Media and Publishing

$15,000

2

Liquidnet

New York, NY

335

Financial Services

$15,000

2
6

Subaru of America, Inc.

Cherry Hill, NJ

800

Transportation and Automotive

$12,150

2
7

Bowen Engineering Corporation

Fishers, IN

340

Architecture, Engineering and Construction

$12,000

13
8

Timberland

Stratham, NH

5,400

Consumer Products

$12,000 2
9

Barilla America, Inc.

Bannockburn, IL

394

Food, Beverage and Restaurants

$12,000 1
10

Time Inc.

New York, NY

5,700

Entertainment, Media and Publishing

$11,000

The complete list can be downloaded here.

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