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When discussing Foster-Adopt, these are some Foster realities to bear in mind (BBBP part 2)

This is a second Basic Building Blocks type of post covering some core backgrounder material about the realities of Foster care to bear in mind when looking at federal subsidies and tax credit schemes.

See part 1, “Foster-adopt” as a case study in the problems of adoption language & information hiding (BBBP part 1) for some other key basics to bear in mind.


For starters, all stats aside, spend some time listening to those who have lived it.  The Foster Care Alumni of America and their chapters across the country as well as individuals who have experienced the Foster care system are the real experts.

(As I mentioned in my last post, I also passed through the Foster system very quickly as an infant myself, but I have no memory of, and almost no records pertaining to that brief period of my life.)

From there, as far as statistics go, to provide just several very basic overviews, see:

IL’s DCFS has a typical state FAQ for commonly asked questions pertaining to Foster Parenting that can also be helpful, as but one of many such similar.

More recently, adding new pressures on those in the system and parental rights (as well as siblings ability to remain together etc. ) has been the addition of laws like the “Adoption and Safe Families Act” that went into effect in 1997. It has been widely criticized both within the Bastard community and by those who advocate on behalf of parents ability to retain their parental rights.

It has had numerous effects upon children in foster care, not the least of which being the setting of time frames for almost mandatory terminations of parental rights, (thereby increasing the number of children made available to the adoption process.)

See this article, A Tangle of Problems Links Prison, Foster Care as but one of many examples criticizing the effects of the law on some of the most vulnerable of parents in terms of defending and retaining their parental rights:

The hurdles facing imprisoned parents grew higher in the late 1990s with the federal Adoption and Safe Families Act. If a child has spent 15 of the previous 22 months in foster care, the law requires that child welfare authorities file for termination of the birth parent’s rights. The aim is to set a time period so the child can find “permanency” instead of foster care — generally, either reunification with the birth parent or adoption by another family.

Though child welfare agencies can make limited exceptions to the timetable based on family circumstances, the law has tightened pressure on parents to defend their custodial rights. Meanwhile, state policies make no specific exemptions for incarcerated parents, whose sentences typically exceed the time line. According to research led by Columbia University law professor Philip Genty, in the years following the act’s passage — 1997 to 2002 — termination proceedings for incarcerated parents more than doubled.

Obviously, the national restructuring push to move kids out of Foster Care and into adoptions has come with financial incentives and penalties in a carrot and stick like sets of policies, but I’ll be addressing some of those incentives further in my next post.

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