Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Increasing Adoptions Act....NOT

A new law designed to help states cope with foster care has some good provisions--it encourages greater efforts to keep siblings together, for instance, but it appears that it might also streamline the process for parental rights to be terminated. As the AP notes, it has "enhanced adoption incentives," which is the kind of language that gives me the creepy-crawlies.

From the AP story:

"As encouragement to the states, the bill calls for doubling the per-child bonuses they receive for placing foster children in adoption. Richard Wexler, executive director of the National Coalition for Child Protection Reform, says this could aggravate an already worrisome phenomenon.

That means an even greater incentive for quick-and-dirty, slipshod placements, for placements more likely to disrupt, and for the creation of more legal orphans, as states rush even faster to terminate parental rights," Wexler said in an e-mail."

But what does the bill not do? It does not take on the worrisome problem of combating neglect and abuse so fewer children are removed from their families in the first place. There is not one penny for keeping families together.

The name of the new act says it all:

Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act

I know that adoptions are necessary, and in some circumstances good, but we need to encourage keeping families together, and whether that means helping the parents reform, giving them more financial aid, or whatever, the country is going down the wrong road on this. A friend's sister adopted a baby from a fully-formed family in Rhode Island a couple of years ago. That was pitiful--the story I heard was that poverty was the reason the child was available. So somewhere in Rhode Island there is a family--a mother, a father, siblings--who have lost a member of their kin. I wonder how often the mother thinks about the child when she sets the table.

Then I recall that gee-chucks Sarah is in favor of "adoption made easier."

You betcha I'm going to oppose that. You betcha.


4 comments :

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I just really don't know what to say anymore. And it's because I just don't understand. I know money is said to be at the root of all evil but when it comes to living, breathing human beings how is it that it is not only allowed but encouraged by our own government.
    Reading stories like this is like constantly rubbing salt in a wound. I just don't understand, no matter what political side you stand on, how anyone believes these practices are in any way right. One of the most important bonds in the world is the one between a mother and her child. So why is it even a battle to keep this bond together?
    Tonight is just one of those times when my mind has no good responses because it is full of asking "why?"

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  3. It seems to me that fast-track adoption of special needs kids especially endangers children. Haven't most of the extreme horror stories of kids tortured and killed come out of these kinds of adoptions by "someone/anyone" who was willing to take large numbers of hard-to-place kids, or Eastern European kids who can come with problems, and whom anyone could get if they had the cash?

    Adoption needs to be a last resort for those children who truly need homes, and it needs to be more stringent, not less so, to be sure that the people getting the kids really are qualified to deal with them.

    This is just another "feel good" law like Safe Havens that may sound good on paper but doesn't work in the real world, and hurts kids rather than helping them.

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  4. Why does increasing financial support and making it easier to cut through the many layers of bureaucracy surrounding foster kids necessarily endanger kids?

    These kids wouldn't be in foster care in the first place if their parents could or would take care of them. Kids who are well loved and cared for do not get put in foster care.

    The current system tries beyond all reason to keep families together, often after it has been proven time and time again that the family would prefer to do drugs or smack the kids around. This is often the case even when there are loving and caring foster parents who have been waiting years to adopt these kids, but haven't been able to.

    I don't see how throwing more money at abusive or addicted or neglectful parents will do anything to give them the strength of character they need to raise children. I'm all for any legislation that keeps kids away from those families and allows them to be welcomed into families that will keep their best interests in mind.

    ReplyDelete

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