Improvements to the Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA)
On the ten year anniversary of the Adoption and Safe Families Act’s
passage, there is considerable reason to evaluate the statue’s impact,
especially on the lives of mothers behind bars and their children. The
distinct conditions of maternal incarceration, and the challenges of
maintaining familial ties during a mother’s sentence, were overlooked
by the original architects of ASFA—by their own admission.
The Rebecca Project is therefore working on research unearthing the specific ways
in which ASFA has a disproportional impact on parents behind bars in
the termination of parental rights.
Legislatively, RPHR has worked for
the implementation of federal guidelines to state child welfare
agencies and department of corrections on how to meet the needs of
children in foster care and their incarcerated parents (see attached
Second Chance Act of 2007 which contains such federal guideline).
Additionally, RPHR is urging for an amendment to ASFA that includes in
the definition of “reasonable efforts” for parents behind bars the
reasonable time to receive services to maintain their parental rights,