letters | not ready to declare success over foster care

Keep in mind that adoption does not always lead to permanent home

The Oct. 25 editorial “Foster care to adoption: a federal success story” claimed that the 1997 Adoption and Safe Families Act has proved successful because it “nearly doubled” the number of children adopted. As attorneys for the child in one of the busiest family courts in the country, we see that adoption does not always lead to a permanent home.

The 1997 law has caused agencies to push for adoption when it may not be an appropriate or realistic goal. As a result, children are adopted by adults who pass away or become infirm, abuse or neglect them, or simply lack a long-term commitment to the child. Adopted children are thus frequently placed with other guardians or back into foster care.


Rather than continue to repeat the same rhetoric about adoption always providing a loving, safe, and permanent home, stakeholders must acknowledge the reality of broken adoptions and examine how the Adoption and Safe Families Act contributes to the problem. This would be a first step toward ensuring that children actually find a “forever home.”

Dawn J. Post

Sarah McCarthy

Brooklyn, N.Y.

The writers are attorneys at the Children’s Law Center New York; however, the views expressed here are their own.

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