While the number of children in foster care in New York State has decreased from 53,902 children in 1995 to 15,820 as of December 31, 2018, there are still hundreds of children who are legally freed for adoption and need a family to provide for them a loving permanent home.
NEW YORK, NY: Almost a decade ago, Morrison & Foerster, acting pro bono, brought suit on behalf of the Adoptive and Foster Family Coalition of New York (formerly the New […]
Please join us for the Adoptive and Foster Family Coalition of New York’s “Summer Book Read”! This year, we will be reading Beneath the Mask: Understanding Adopted Teens together.
Sibling relationships are tremendously important particularly when children face difficult circumstances like foster care. I thank Governor Cuomo for signing this legislation and bringing fairness to our foster care system. This action will lead to stronger relationships and families in communities across the state.
From its inception, and for its duration, every foster care case is a Court case. The child and parent remain within and subject to the jurisdiction of the Court and the case remains with the same Judge until the child is discharged from foster care, whether by reunification with his birth family, release into the legal custody or guardianship of a relative or adoption.
Federal Laws and Legislation on Permanency for Children in Foster Care: Permanency, as epitomized by a safe, stable relationship with a nurturing caregiver, allows these basic needs to be met.
Under New York law, foster parents lack standing to petition the Court for legal custody of a foster child currently or formerly in their care or for visitation with a former foster child.
The Foster Care agency that issued the Certificate may revoke it provided it gives the foster parent 20 days advance written notice, sets forth its reason or reasons and offers the foster parent a meeting with an agency official to discuss its decision (18 N.Y.C.R.R. 443.11).
Anyone who works with adopted and foster kids realizes that things are not always what they seem. Maltreated kids see all families as potential abusers, and if we don’t deal with the situation positively it hurts everyone.
Foster Care boarding home rates differ significantly in New York’s 58 social services districts as each local district (LDSS) or county is allowed to set its own rates. The state only determines the maximum amounts it will reimburse to the local districts as each local district is allowed to set its own rates within state guidelines.
Child was removed by CPS and placed by Family Court order |
Kin Caregiver has temporary legal custody | The case worker and court provide may provide supervision | May be eligible as a household for Temporary Assistance | Not eligible for adoption subsidy or KinGap services | Parents have the right to visit but cannot regain custody without a court order | Kinship diversion is come times used by agencies to provide the family—instead of the courts—with more control over what happens to the child, and to help avoid placing the child in foster care.
This child comes to you in great pain, having lost family and hope in probably one of the most disruptive and frightening things that could happen to a child. His family, though perhaps dysfunctional in the extreme, has also lost something precious–a child: their stake in the future, their hopes for the continuing of their family. Is it fair that you should be the only part of this equation that is not supposed to experience pain?
These kids understand how hard foster parenting is. To help those who are behind in school. To love and nurture children who are struggling with their emotions, their behavior, their ability to trust. These kids know that to do this job well demands enormous patience, stamina, and generosity of heart.
Before jumping into foster care, most families spend two or three years just thinking about it. Here are a few points to consider before making the final decision on whether or not to do foster care.
“Permanency is a feeling that is different for everyone, it is not bound by time nor can it be measured. It has to be discovered and often times it has to be tested, and rejected more than once before permanency can be established. Permanency is so hard to understand because it is a conceptual idea of an emotion and is received on both ends very differently for every person. There is no straight “by the book” definition of permanency because the emotions I feel cannot be felt by anyone else, and that’s the great thing about it.”
Sometimes, going through a traumatic event can cause real attention problems. But trauma and ADHD can be confused in diagnosis because the symptoms of trauma mimic those of ADHD.
Sources for New York Adoption Law Code
By law, medical and psychological information about the child and the child’s birth parents must be provided to prospective foster parents and upon request to the foster parent if the child is already in foster care. Additionally, when a child leaves foster care, the medical histories must be provided to the child directly and upon request to any adopted former foster child.
Courts have recognized a duty to disclose known material information about a child’s health and social background to prospective adoptive families. In the face of a breach of this duty to disclose, courts have held agencies liable and awarded adoptive families monetary damages.
The VERY basics of adoption law in in New York State from New York City Cross Borough Collaboration
This pamphlet has been prepared to assist you in understanding some of the basic adoption laws and
procedures in the State of New York. New York is a progressive and reasonable State in relation to its views and laws on adoption.
In order for states to receive federal payments for foster care and adoption assistance, federal law under title IV-E of the Social Security Act requires that they “consider giving preference to an adult relative over a nonrelated caregiver when determining a placement for a child, provided that the relative caregiver meets all relevant state child protection standards.”
Children adopted from foster care bring with them the background and experiences of their birth family and any prior foster care placements which will have to be incorporated into family life. Doing so requires honoring the child’s birth heritage and positive memories and building upon them. In this and other respects, parenting adopted children is different than parenting children by birth.
Policy Directives are how the Office of Children and Family Services communicate down the local Department of Social Services offices in each county. A selection of recent NYS Office of Children and Families Services policy directives of particular interest to foster and adoptive families.
The New York State Adoption Subsidy is intended to help provide permanency for children with special needs in public foster care by offering ongoing financial and medical assistance, also known as an adoption subsidy, to adoptive families.
In New York State, monthly adoption subsidy payments continue until the child is 21, unless the adoptive parent is no longer legally responsible for the support of the child or the child is no longer receiving any support from the adoptive parent. The adoption subsidy is supposed to follow the child.
NYS Special and Exceptional Adoption Subsidy Rate Definitions
For adoptions finalized* in 2018, the adoption tax credit is up to $13,810 per child. The 2018 adoption tax credit is not a refundable credit, which means you only benefit from the credit if you have federal income tax liability
When most people think about adoption, Domestic Infant Adoption, or DIA, is what they have in mind.. Domestic adoption (or private domestic adoption) usually refers to the placement of U.S.-born infants for adoption by their original parents, who legally consent to the adoption with an adoptive family of their choosing.
If you are a foster and kinship care provider, you know visits can also be extremely difficult for everyone involved. When a visit occurs, it is sometimes accompanied by visit-related upheaval in the child’s emotions and behavior, complex scheduling and logistics, and other challenges.
Rose Wentz,reviews a four-step decision making process for developing a visit plan to meet a child’s needs and enable parents to improve parenting skills. She also looks at how to develop a visit plan that will meet the goal of allowing children to have a safe visit in the most natural and home-like situation.
The goal of a foster parent is to care for the child while their biological parents cannot. Birth parents have a legal right to visits while their children are in care. Visits are also beneficial for the children and necessary for their emotional health even if they seem upset or out of sorts after a visit.
A parent whose child is in foster care shall be granted reasonable and regularly scheduled visitation unless the court finds that the child’s life or health would be endangered thereby
If children lose the feeling of connectedness with their families, then they may have lost a big piece of their identity and have difficulty answering the question, “Who am I?” Whether children have a lot, a little contact or no contact with birth families, they have dreams and feelings about their families.
Visit coaching is fundamentally different from supervised visits. Instead of watching the family, the coach is actively involved in supporting them to demonstrate their best parenting skills and make each visit fun for the children.
CCI is an organization created by and for Chinese adoptees with the goal to empower Chinese adoptees from all over the world by providing an inclusive and supportive community for all of us who share this common beginning.
FCC is a nonprofit organization supporting Chinese adoptees and their families and friends.
The mission of Also-Known-As is to empower the voice of adult international adoptees, build cultural bridges, transform perceptions of race, and acknowledge the loss of the birth country, culture, language and biological family experienced by international adoptees
KAAN’s mission is to improve the lives of Korean-born adoptees by connecting the community and providing opportunities for dialogue, education, and support.
African hair has always had specific political and cultural meaning. “The braids on black people’s heads in pre-colonial Africa were like very detailed ID cards. They showed everything from tribal affiliations to how much wealth a person had,”
It’s important for parents who are considering this to really be honest with themselves about whether or not this is a reflection on their own internalized racism, why it is they think those things, and what messages they might be delivering to their kids.
Most parents are open to anti-racist practices,yet are conflicted between perceptions of how racism operates in
society and their actual lived experiences. MEPA is a colorblind racist policy that reproduces
colorblind racism through its failure to provide parents with adequate resources concerning race and racism.
Wells knew that raising a black son wouldn’t always be easy. “But what I have been surprised by is this: At no point in the process of considering transracial adoption did I think I would have to teach my son how to stay alive.”
Terry Keleher is a parent and racial justice educator with the Applied Research Center, which publishes ColorLines.com. Read his essay on being a white father of an adopted black son here. Below, he offers some actionable advice for racially conscious parenting in a supposedly colorblind world.
If you are a transracial adoptive or foster parent to a young one with kinky-curly hair, this book is everything you need to start a hair styling routine with your child including basic hairstyles and techniques, from learning to part naturally curly hair to styling cornrows and twists.
Donaldson Adoption Institute’s major study on identity formation for adopted persons. This groundbreaking work provides significant information and insights on a range of issues relating to adoption, particularly across racial lines.
We quickly discovered that if you’re the white parents of an adopted black child, and you’re in the public eye at all, men and women will viciously criticize you for having the audacity to believe that you can raise your kid.
As a white mother to black children, I’m not at liberty to blithely move without question through our racialized world. Nor can I ignore the impact of white privilege on my family and how I raise my kids.
While a white parent may be able to feel grief or feel brokenhearted about incidents that cause racial trauma, the difference is that they do not feel vulnerable or targeted. Being able to honestly acknowledge that you, as a parent, cannot understand the incident in the same way, while also showing compassion, will encourage children and teens to openly discuss these incidents when they do occur.
The parents may feel that the adoption was a success because they loved the child, the child has appeared to do well in life, and the family has never faced significant issues related to the racial or cultural challenge.
The New York State Health Department maintains a Free Adoption Registry that can help an adoption search and even facilitate a reunion. It is a mutual consent registry which means that both parties searching must be signed up for a match to be made.
Community demographics are continuing to evolve nationwide, making the need for culturally competent organizations more prevalent than ever. In this article, we will discuss what this means for you as a provider of social services, and how your organization can progress in this realm by exploring the what, why and how of cultural competence.
Being able to recognize your own levels of cultural competence will help you
continue your growth in cultural competence. Knowing your strengths will help
you build on them. Knowing where you need to learn more will guide you in
Not only do internationally adopted children have to adjust to a new family, but they have to adjust to a new culture. This means they have to grow accustomed to new foods, smells, tastes, sounds, sights, sleeping schedules, eating schedules, etc.
While many will look at the term specific to transracial adoptive readiness, we extend cultural competence to include a respect for people of all cultures, languages, classes, races, ethnic backgrounds, and sexual orientations.
A culturally competent system of care acknowledges and incorporates–at all levels–the importance of culture, the assessment of cross-cultural relations, vigilance towards the dynamics that result from cultural differences, the expansion of cultural knowledge and the adaptation of services to meet culturally unique needs.
Open adoption is designed to be a child-centered arrangement based upon the premise that humans need genetic continuity to attain a healthy identity.
Open adoption is often presented to birth parents as a way to lessen the grief of losing a child to adoption. The grief we feel for our children includes not only missing the times we had with them as their mother or father, but mourning for the times we will not have with them as their parents.
Today, parents who adopt children from foster care cannot pretend their children were always a part of the family, and most know that becoming a legal part of a new family does not erase a foster child’s emotional ties to the past. As openness in infant adoption gains currency, it is worth considering how facilitated, safe contact with birth family members can benefit children adopted from care.
We sincerely believe more information is better than less, and that the more answers we can offer our children now the better their adjustment and understanding will be in the future.
If your child doesn’t ask, you need to raise the topic yourself; find out what your child thinks and what he wants to know. It’s your job to give them their information. It’s their right to know the truth.
Sometimes bringing our children’s birth parents into their lives – and ours – whether through truth-telling conversations, or letters and pictures, or occasional visits, or on-going contact – can be as uncomfortable and at times even painful for our children.
In open adoption, two family cultures come together to provide for the needs and to shape the life of an adopted child. Differences in these family cultures can sometimes cause confusion and mis-communication if they are not explored and acknowledged.
To determine what is best for their child and their family, parents need to consider why the siblings have been separated and what the long-term effects of separation might be.
Foster children who are siblings or half-siblings must not be unnecessarily separated unless placement together is determined to be detrimental to the best interests of the siblings
My son came with trauma I could barely comprehend and all I could ask was…What was I doing wrong? Why wasn’t my parenting working? What was I missing? What could I do differently?
As adoption records are becoming more accessible, social workers are finding that requests for information about siblings outnumber the requests for information about biological parents.
The National Center Child Welfare Excellence is operated by the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College and provides links to resources and more information on sibling placement.
This issue of Fostering Perspectives is about honoring and maintaining sibling connections. We lead off by bringing you the voices of children in care responding to the question, “Why are your siblings important to you?”
A special emphasis on two situations of separation and loss requiring specific attention: sibling separation and children with incarcerated
Keeping Siblings Connected: A White Paper on Siblings in Foster Care and Adoptive Placements in New York State emphasizes the importance of the sibling bond to children’s development and emotional well-being.
I have the right NOT TO BE JUDGED, BLAMED OR LABELED because my parent is incarcerated. I have the right TO A LIFELONG RELATIONSHIP WITH MY PARENT
There are currently over 2 million people incarcerated in the U.S., and an additional 5 million under correctional supervision (on probation or parole).
Every incarcerated parent is more than the crime they have been charged with or convicted of, and, as Mommy or Daddy, they may be one of the most important people-if not the most important person-in the child’s life.
After my father was arrested, my aunt and grandparents thought not seeing him until I was 18 the best for me, and the courts agreed. Since then, I’ve had to wake up each day with the hurt of knowing I will not see my father
I love my dad. He means so much to me and I wouldn’t trade him for the world, not even for multi-billionaire Bill Gates. Am I still mad at him for being in jail instead of with me all those years?
Children of incarcerated parents may also face a number of other challenging circumstances. They may have experienced trauma related to their parent’s arrest or experiences leading up to it.
Provides parents and caregivers with bilingual (English & Spanish) tools to help children ages 3-8 cope with the many transitions related to a parent’s incarceration.
Visiting a parent in the county jail can help alleviate any fears a child may have about their parent’s welfare and can be calming and beneficial to most children’s emotional and psychological well-being.
The Osborne Association works in partnership with individuals, families, and communities to create opportunities for people affected by the criminal justice system to further develop their strengths and lead lives of responsibility and contribution.
NIAAA supports and conducts research on the impact of alcohol use on human health and well-being. It is the largest funder of alcohol research in the world. NIAAA-funded discoveries have important implications for improving the health and well-being of all people.
In some classrooms, FASD is
such a large and intractable problem that we may not even be
able to acknowledge it. Knowledge and understanding of FASD helps make sense of the challenges facing students with the disability.
A simple yet handy chart for Strategies to Address FASD form and then onto adulthood.