Opinion: Child Welfare Laws Are Fundamentally Flawed

Charlotte Allison, M.A.

Children are emotionally damaged when they are taken away from their parents.Photo bylisa runnels

The Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) signed into law by President Clinton in 1997 is having the exact opposite effect of its original intention.

The purpose of the ASFA was to improve the lives of children in foster care by establishing three primary goals for child welfare. The goals were safety, permanency, and well-being.

While the original intention of this law was to protect children, it is doing exactly the opposite. The Title IV Funds-E stipulated in this law has resulted in thousands of children needlessly being removed from their parents and placed in foster care.

ASFA was an amendment to an earlier bill; the Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act, signed into law in 1980. With this law the emphasis was placed on keeping biological families together.

One of the most significant changes that occurred when ASFA was signed into law was shifting the emphasis away from a policy of reuniting children with their birth parents and instead placing the emphasis on the child’s safety and well-being. CPS and corrupt family courts have taken it upon themselves to interpret this to mean that it’s “in the best interest of the child” to remove them from their birth parents.

This law is fundamentally flawed because it does not consider that when families are torn apart it causes irreparable emotional damage to both parents and children.

The other significant change to the law was the Title IV-E funding. This provision basically provides a cash incentive to remove children from their biological family and place them in foster care. The pay out is even bigger if the child is adopted out.

These two changes in the law are responsible for the corruption in the child welfare system. Foster care has become nothing but cash cow. CPS and corrupt family courts are now motivated to remove children from their birth parents for a cash incentive.

In a report published in 2018 by the Memphis Law Review, Texas Tech University law professor DeLeith Gossett stated that ASFA’s financial incentives have disrupted families permanently by speedy termination of parental rights, without the accompanying move from foster care to adoptive homes.

Gossett continues to say the ASFA Act thwarts the very purpose of the bill, as children continue to languish in foster care waiting for placement in a permanent adoptive home.

More than half of these children did not need to be placed in foster care to begin with. ASFA is responsible for leaving many children orphaned, when they could have remained home with their parents.

ASFA needs to be repealed. It's an unfair, fundamentally flawed law that separates and destroys families. Termination of parental rights is unconstitutional. Children are always better off with their natural parents in almost every case.

What are your thoughts about repealing the Adoption and Safe Families Act?

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I write about psychology and social issues that affect people on a personal level.

Los Angeles, CA

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