Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2006

Abstract

The importance of expediting the placement of foster children into permanent homes has emerged as a dominant theme in child welfare policy. Identifying and finalizing legally secure placements provides children with psychological stability and a sense of belonging, and limits the likelihood of future disruptions of familial relationships. Upon a child's entry into foster care, child welfare agencies, under both federal and state laws, are compelled to develop a detailed plan to ensure a child's prompt placement into such a home. If a parent is unable to rectify the conditions causing the child's placement in foster care within a year, a court is required to consider other permanent options for the child. States are also permitted to develop concurrent placement plans to ensure that children achieve permanency even if their parents fail. The paramount need for permanency has created momentum to reexamine laws preventing children from forming permanent relationships with caring adults and impeding their exit from foster care. Unnecessary, protracted stays in foster care contravene the consensus view that the child welfare system is not suited to serve as a long-term surrogate parent for children. One area in which the permanency needs of children remain subordinate to bureaucratic impediments is the interstate placement of foster children. The median time spent in the foster care system by children in need of out-of-state placements is forty-three months, two full years longer than the average waiting time for a child with a potential placement in state. This disparity exists due to the application of the ICPC, which imposes significant obstacles for foster children like Tasha who have potential placements in another state. Under the ICPC, a state cannot send a foster child to another state without obtaining approval from the receiving state agency, which must determine whether the placement is contrary to the child's interests. If the agency denies approval, the Compact prohibits a family court from making the placement.

Comments

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