An ASFA Overhaul to Center Family Connections, Relief for Children of Incarcerated Parents, and our #stoptheclock Campaign
An Adoption and Safe Families Act Overhaul to Center Family Connections
Children of Incarcerated Parents
Chris Gottlieb and Andrew Brown, Washington Examiner, December 12, 2021
"The COVID-19 pandemic taught us all valuable lessons. Those of us in the child welfare community were confronted with the reality of the many ways in which our system does harm to those it is intended to help. It also affirmed that the most important safety net, especially during times of social and economic hardship, is not government intervention but family ties and community support.
It’s time to put these lessons into action through commonsense approaches to correcting the damaging course federal child welfare law has taken as it has prioritized family separation and speeding to adoption over preserving family bonds. The newly proposed 21st Century Children and Families Act takes some steps in the right direction."
By Sara Tiano and John Kelly, The Imprint, November 4, 2021
Rep. Karen Bass has introduced the 21st Century Children and Families Act, which she designed with the goal of improving "foster kids' options for stability in their lives." Kathleen Creamer comments that “this bill is an important first step in moving away from cookie-cutter timelines that have caused devastating harm to children and families for decades.”
By Sylvia A. Harvey, May 2, 2021
"A change in federal law is being eyed by advocates as the most powerful way to stop the clock. In August 2020, Rep. Gwen Moore of Wisconsin (D) introduced the Suspend the Timeline Not Parental Rights During a Public Health Crisis Act to do just that. The proposed legislation would lift the ASFA mandate during the pandemic and guarantee that states do not suffer federal funding cuts due to the policy change. It also specifies that a public health crisis is a compelling reason for agencies to not seek to terminate parental rights. "
Allison Durkin, Destiny Lopez and Eleanor Roberts, April 27, 2021
"When judges sentence parents to incarceration, they can unknowingly sentence children to family separation through termination of parental rights (“TPR”). After TPR, a parent has no right to care for, visit, or communicate with their child. TPR is the death penalty of family law: If the length of a parent’s sentence triggers TPR, children suffer permanent, legal separation from their families. "
Richard Wexler, The Imprint, April 30, 2021
"Had the authors of the Adoption and Safe Families Act really been interested in reducing time in foster care, they would have focused their incentives on reunification and on guardianship, which does not require termination of children’s rights to their parents and can be achieved more quickly. Guardianship also emphasizes what the Children’s Bureau calls “relational permanency” over paper permanency."
Kathleen Creamer and Chri Gottlieb, The Imprint, February 9, 2021
"We believe ASFA should be repealed and our foster system reenvisioned. But short of a full repeal, there are steps that can bring ASFA and other federal laws up to date, improve children’s chances of achieving true permanency and help eliminate some of the biases that still permeate child welfare."
Martin Guggenheim, The Imprint, June 15, 2020
"With certain exceptions that states too often ignore, ASFA requires that child welfare agencies seek to terminate the parental rights of children whenever they have been in foster for 15 of the most recent 22 months. Courts are instructed to terminate parental rights unless the parent can show that the conditions that led to the removal initially no longer exist. The law has been responsible for the massive destruction of black and brown families. More than 2 million children’s parents’ rights have been terminated by American courts since ASFA was enacted."