White Paper on Amending the Adoption and Safe Families Act
LOS ANGELES (June 4, 2021)- The Adoption and Safe Families Act is failing the broadly accepted principle that, when children must be removed from their families to ensure their safety, the first goal is to reunite them with their families as soon as possible. The law should support parents like Stephanie Jeffcoat—parents who love their children and are showing they can reform and provide a safe and loving home for their children. Instead, the law imposes nearly-impossible requirements that are designed to tear families apart instead of build stronger families. This is especially true for parents of color who have been incarcerated, often for minor or non-violent offenses, and who represent a significant portion of the parents whose families have been destroyed as a result of ASFA and the financial incentives it creates for States to prioritize adoption over parental rights. ANWOL and other organizations ANWOL has partnered with have prepared this report to (i) shed light on the problems ASFA has created for families that have experienced having a child removed from the home and (ii) propose specific changes to ASFA to promote family reunification and ensure the child welfare system begins to produce more equitable outcomes for all families.