The Adoption and Safe Families Act

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According to the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting system, in 2011 there were 104, 236 children waiting to be adopted in the United States (p. 4). Adoption is the legal process an individual or family goes through to gain legal custody of a child in foster care. This child’s parents have lost custody of their child because they have been deemed unfit to raise the child, either because of neglect or abuse. After the child is removed from the horrible situation, he or she is taken by child services and placed in a foster home or with a family member. This system is in place to protect children from further abuse, neglect and trauma. Today, children in foster care are in the system for a very short period of time; there is a push to getting them out of a foster home and transition into a safe, loving and permanent environment. The foster care system is run the way it is because of the implementation of the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997.

The Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 changed the way we approach foster care and adoption. It was the first law that solely focused on children alone, not the entire family. The main objective of this law was to create timelines. These timelines determined the length of time a child could be in foster care before the parents’ loose custody of the child. After parental rights are terminated, the agency is to start searching for a family to adopt the child. In essence, this act took a process that could go on for years and condensed it. This law gives incentives for parents to clean up their act and prove they are changing for the better, through agencies allocated by the Adoption and Safe Families Act, but did not force a child to wait endlessly for their parents to either...

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