Despite the well-intentioned and yeoman efforts of so many foster parents in our community, the reality is that kids growing up in foster care do not make it in this cruel and complex world. One need not be an adoption professional, which I am, to recognize this sad truth. Where a child thrives is with his “forever family” and, regrettably, foster care is not that place.
Last month’s published study, “Developmental Outcomes after Five Years for Foster Children Returned Home, Remaining in Care, or Adopted” buttresses the time-honored principle espoused by dedicated child welfare professionals working with these precious children: developmentally speaking, remaining in foster care disadvantages foster care kids, to the point of impacting negatively a child’s development, whereas adoption into a “ forever family” yields the most positive outcomes.
It is simple, really. Getting foster kids adopted begins with all of us, no question; however, this also can be accomplished sooner and more efficiently by the child’s birth parent making the decision to place her/his child with an adoptive family of that birth parent’s choosing. This option, known in the legal world as intervention, unfortunately is not known by most birth parents whose children are in foster care, but a birth parent retains the right to make a private adoption plan. This not only saves the child from the system and from being consigned, sadly, to languishing in foster care, but also gives that birth parent the ability to make a responsible parenting decision and to have control over the placement of her child for adoption rather than the State. This is a constitutionally protected right extended to all birth parents whose parental rights have not been terminated.
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