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Labels: foster care, legal system
posted by Claudia at 5:47 AM
Hello, I am a mom thru adoption as well as my husband and I were also foster parents to many children in the past. My biggest concern is that this could be another avenue to assist parents to try to gain custody after it was obvious that their parenting abilities in the past were deficient enough to terminate their parental rights. Sadly I have seen few biological parents have a huge change of circumstances to be able to regain custody of their child at a later time. Also this would usually only be available for those children that linger in the system those that either have some serious mental health issues or medical issues or sadly are older children that make it more difficult to place them in an forever home. I have some serious issues with this bill. I am not sure its going to be used alot as I am not that sure that the majority of the children that could possibly gain from it are going to have a birthparent that would quilify under the terms of the bill.
Gina, a CPS worker in TX, comments:The way I read the bill is if the parents are able to get their act togetherand the kids have to want to go back. Majority of the parents never gettheir act together so most of the kids would never have that option. Thereis also the factor of the handicapped kids. I have kids that are veryhandicapped due to abuse they sustained, and kids who were given to CPSbecause the parent didn't want a handicap kid. I don't see that crew goingback to their parents.I have heard of situations with kids who are teenagers, and have never madeit to the adoption unit because of severe behavior and psychotic issues, andappropriate family members being sought out to place them after being infoster care for several years. I know in one case none were ever found. Ifa 3 year limit was placed on kids in adoption, we would have a lot of kidscoming back into custody, and that would be a double trauma to the kids.
I have not reviewed the bill itself closely, however, I am a believer that reunification with biological family can continue to be a potential permanency option even years after TPR in some cases. When I managed the NY Longest Waiting Children project, we had a few of these kinds of cases, where, years later, the bio family had changed and the child or sibs had never been adopted and reunification (often involving other legal terms and procedures depending on the state it might be an overturning of the TPR or it might be that the bio parents have to actually adopt their child) was the best permanency option. I saw this both as a professional and as an adoptive parent. I think that the bio family ALWAYS is a part of the child's life, and we need to help children have all the connections in their lives that help them to achieve healing and wholeness. However, I am not sure if legislation like this is the best way to do this - legislation is often a pretty heavy handed and "one size" fits all approach that rarely meets all the particular subtle and nuanced needs of individual children's situations. I believe that better training about all permanency options and the importance of all connections and relationships in children's lives is a better approach.
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