More Voices Make Better Decisions Regarding Permanency
If parental rights terminate, a child in foster care is looking for permanency and can find such through adoption or guardianship. Current DSS regulations give priority to the foster parent who has cared for the child in their home for 6 months or more, but only if DSS deems this in the best interest of the child.
No other child advocate voice is given any weight in this decision.
This legislation offers a path forward by legally defining the adoption priority to give first consideration to the foster parent who has cared for the child in their home for 6 months or more, subject to the court’s discretion as to the best interest of the child. This consideration can be rejected if DSS provides compelling reasons why adoption by the foster parent is not in the child’s best interest. The goal is for children to move less often and to gain a permanent home sooner.
- Current regulation does not promote a team based approach to decisions on who will adopt a child.
- Foster parents who have cared for a child for an extended period of time are the natural choice for adoption should parental rights terminate and no relative come forth to adopt.
- A logical appeal process needs to be in place should child advocates disagree on the first consideration.
- Link to bill: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/billsearch.php (type in 4493 for detail)
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