We, the undersigned, demand a reformation of the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997. We believe the Act was intended for children whose parents had passed away, children who were legitmately, with supporting evidence, abused in some form or fashion, children whose parent/parents were serving life terms in prison, children for which Social Service Agencies had verifiable evidence that supported the need and necessity of removal of those children from their biological families and subsequent termination of parental rights. The ideallic reason for this was so those children wouldn't languish in a system of numbers and budget-concerned foster care homes.
However, since it's enactment, the "bonuses" for children adopted out of foster care systems have caused hundreds of thousands of children to be removed from their biological families and homes. These precious children, though agencies claim to attempt reunification or Kinship care as a priority and first option, are more often than not, (about 66% of the time depending on which state the statistics are gathered from) placed in foster care with non-relatives.
In September of 2010, 408,375 children were in foster care according to Adminstration for Children and Families-United States Department of Health and Human Services, 254,375 of those children entered foster care just nine short months before this analysis. Of those 408,375 children, 107,573 never returned home but were placed with non-relatives, ran away, were emancipated, transferred to another agency or died. That same year, parental rights were terminated for 64,084 of those children. We are not just talking about terminations on a piece of paper, we're talking about 64,084 children, living human beings, who were effectively robbed of their family, ancestral ties and children who will likely, in adolescence through adulthood, struggle with perceived or actual abandonment issues. The biological parents are never permitted to explain the situation and are not permitted contact again until the child turns 18, if at all, assuming the child isn't dead or serving a prison sentence.
Now, we do acknowledge and appreciate that there are many children who SHOULD be removed from their parents as those children are in danger of physical, sexual, emotional and psychological harm. However, the small percentage of those children who are NOT being abused are those for whom we are advocating.
You've likely heard about cases in which innocent parents were falsely accused. Of those cases, some of those parents got their children back after long and costly battles, both financially and emotionally for the children and parents, but far more weren't reunited. Those children went on to be adopted by non-relatives, despite their biological parent/parents best efforts, compliance with court-ordered treatment plans and a complete lack of evidence to support any wrongdoing on the part of those parents.
Instead, federal funds, in excess of $451,000,000.00, were distributed to local and state government for the purposes of foster care and adoption. Not a single red cent of the $451 million was distributed to the families "under investigation" from which children were taken to attempt to rehabilitate or assist the 'troubled' families. Of that $451 million, an offensive and almost comical, if it weren't so sad and destroying so many lives, mere $640,000 was spent on the training of social workers, CASA representatives, G.A.L.'s and the like.
I, as well as countless other parents, believe the root of the problem lies within the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 itself as well as it's predecessors such as CAPTA of 1974 and the 1980 Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act, P.L. 96-272.
In 1988, the original author of P.L. 96-272 and Chairman of the congressionally appointed Select Committee on Children, Youth and Families, recognized the blantant fraud being committed under the guise of child “protection” and subsequently made this assertion;
"What has been demonstrated here is that you have a system that is simply in contempt. This system has been sued and sued and orders have been issued and they just continue on their merry way. And HHS just continues to look the other way. You have a system that is not only out of control, it’s illegal at this point. What you are really engaged in is state sponsored child abuse.” ~~~~George Miller
The bonuses offered to State and county governments for each child adopted out of foster care, bonuses for children with special needs--which now include children in therapy, on medication or those suffering attachment disorders as a direct result of being removed from otherwise innocent parents whose only crime may have been their tax bracket. From October 1, 2009 to September 30, 2010, 84% of foster children adopted were labelled as 'special needs'. Bonuses for the respective government if the adoptions within that state or county exceed the number of the same the previous year have, unfortunately, corrupted the once wholesome idea. When we mix this with under-qualified, under-trained and over-worked social service agency workers, we have a recipe for disaster and destruction of the likely not perfect but caring, functional, concerned American Family.
We, the citizens of the United States of America, demand a reformation of the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 to abolish the 'kids for cash' criteria. No one agency shall profit from the removal of children from falsely accused parents. Our nation's children are not our golden tokens for more federal funding.
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