1. Permanency, Foster Parents and the Law
This chapter of the Legal Resource Manual for Foster Parents provides information on the basic structure of child welfare law, including the Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980 and the Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA). It addresses the key areas of ASFA, including aggravated circumstances, mandatory filing of termination of parental rights and exceptions to the mandatory filing, and permanency hearings and permanency planning. The Indian Child Welfare Act is also addressed.
2. Dependency Court and Removal of Children
The purpose of this chapter is to help foster parents understand how child abuse and neglect cases proceed through the dependency court system. The first section lays out the dependency structure, and discusses how the foster parent might be involved at each stage. The second section talks about remedies, both through the agency and the dependency court, that might be available to foster parents when a child is removed from their home for reasons other than maltreatment.
3. Court Participation by Foster Parents
As a requirement of receiving federal foster care funds, juvenile courts in every state must give foster parents “notice of, and opportunity to be hear in, any review or hearing to be held with respect to the child.”
This means that the child’s current foster parents must be given the chance to let the child’s jusge know information they believe will help the court in making decisions about the child. By passing this section of the federal law, Congreass recongized that foster parents and relatives caring for children often have valuable information that will help the court make its decisions.
4. Allegations of Maltreatment Against Foster Parents
Foster parents, like all child welfare professionals, have an obligation to ensure the safety of the children in their homes. Children who have been separated from their parents because of abuse, neglect or abandonment often have special needs that require their foster parents to respond to challenging behaviors and to provide stability during a crisis in the child’s life. In addition, foster families often experience increased scrutiny and may be more likely to be the target of maltreatment allegations than other families in their communities.
The Legal Resource Manual for Foster Parents is authored by Cecilia Fiermonte of the American Bar Association and Regina Deihl of Legal Advocates for Permanent Parenting.