Foster Children Term Paper

Pages: 35 (12574 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 36  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Children

SAMPLE EXCERPT . . .
Another provision of the Adoption and Safe Families Act was designed to expedite adoption for children who could not safely be returned to their birth families. For children who spent 15 of the previous 22 months in foster care, and could not be returned to their families, before requesting determination of parental rights could be filed, and upon approval of the child would be placed for adoption (Homes, 2002).

The Act was added to help reform the foster care provisions of the social security act. The main goal was to keep children from spending too much time in foster care, and either return them to their biological families or find adoptive families in the quickest amount of time. Foster care is growing, since more children enter the foster care environment each year then exit it through emancipation, adoption, or return to biological families (States, 1999).

While the intentions of the foster families were often good, as were the intentions of the court system, they failed to look at the desire for these children to have a permanent home. Instead, they were more concerned with processing these children through the court system and studying every aspect of their biological family and foster family in order to determine what should be done. Because of the need for these children to have a permanent family, the general opinion is that passage of this Act was very helpful for all children involved in a foster care environment (States, 1999).Get full Download Microsoft Word File access
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Term Paper on Foster Children Face, Especially When Assignment

Belief that this Act is working to help children comes from findings listed in the general accounting office report. According to data acquired from all 50 states in the U.S. between 1998 and 2000, children who were returned to their families after a period of foster care spent an average of less than one year in a foster home. Children who were adopted after foster care spent an average of 3 1/2 years in a foster home. Admittedly, the general accounting office had trouble determining whether or not the Act provided any significant benefits to children in foster care, due to discrepancies in the data collection methods between the pre-Act and post-Act information (Homes, 2002).

Nevertheless, it is still believed that children who spend less time in foster care fare better in the future that children who spend a significant amount of their lives in a foster care environment (Cicchetti & Carlson, 1989). It was also noted by the general accounting office that children who were returned to their birthparents after foster care returned to foster care within three years at the rate of 33%. The most common reasons for children reentering the foster care system were abuse and neglect at home by their natural parents (Homes, 2002). Parental drug abuse was also a problem for many children who were involved in foster care system. Studies have shown that 50% of infants who had drug addicted mothers were in foster care (Mahony, 1999, Amaro, 1989, Bell, 1995).

Some of these infants were placed in foster care immediately after birth, and returned to their natural mothers at a later date, after the mothers had completed a treatment program. Other infants who went home from the hospital with their natural mothers came into foster care at a later date because the natural mother either would not or could not complete a treatment program and remain drug-free (Mahony, 1999). This may be indicative of problems in the birth parents' home creating some of the problems that foster children have later in life, instead of placing all of the blame for foster children's problems over on to the foster parents (Homes, 2002).

It was largely the finding of the general accounting office that many of the problems faced by children who have been in foster care were not caused by the foster care itself, but rather from the legal hassles and the difficulties that foster parents and foster children faced when dealing with such topics as a returning to a birth parents home, adoption, or special needs for children with disabilities. It is important to note that the general accounting office points out that the term "special needs" does not only mean children with disabilities, but also relates to a child's specific age, whether or not they are part of a sibling group, and whether or not they belong to a minority race (Homes, 2002).

The older a child gets, the more difficult it is for that child to be adopted. Most children who get adopted out of foster care are under the age of 12, and are categorized as having special needs, although the general accounting office findings do not state whether that term is being applied to disabilities, or whether it is being applied to sibling groups or minority children. Children who are part of a group of siblings also have a difficult time getting adopted, since there is an effort made not to break up the family. Large groups of children, or even a brother and sister, are more difficult to adopt, as many couples who adopt children only wish to take on one child at a time. Consequently, this often leads to the breaking up of sibling groups (Homes, 2002).

When a family is broken up, it is difficult for the siblings who are then parted from each other, especially if they had always been together in foster care. Often they will show their displeasure by acting up and making themselves difficult to live with which sometimes results in them being returned to foster care, and the cycle starts all over again (Coeyman, 2001). Approximately 1% of children who enter foster care in any given year come from adoptive families who found that the child's needs were too great for them to handle (Homes, 2002, Chernoff, 1994).

Since the mid-1980s, the amount of children in foster care has nearly doubled, and this brings a sense of urgency into the situation. Obviously, there are many more children that need help now then there were in the past, and there are more children needing foster care that there are people to provide it. Because of this more people will be taking foster children into their homes. Knowing how to deal with these children, how to help them through the problems they will undoubtedly face, and how to prepare them for emancipation in the future should be at the forefront of instruction for anyone who chooses to become a foster parent (Homes, 2002).

Apparently, gender does not play much of a factor in whether or not children are adopted out of foster care. According to the report by the U.S. general accounting office, the children they studied were equally likely to be adopted whether they were male or female. Children who were adopted out of foster care were also slightly more likely to be African-American, and much more likely to be under 12 years of age. The distribution of gender and race were very similar between children who remained in foster care and children who were adopted. The difference, it seems, in the children who were adopted was age. Forty-six percent of the children living in foster care in 1999 were 11 years of age or older (Homes, 2002).

While children of African-American origin or being adopted at a normal rate in 2002, it was not the case in 1998, when another report by the U.S. general accounting office was released. This report stated that African-American children had to wait longer than other children to be adopted, and that there were fewer minority applicants for adoptive parent positions or foster care positions then there were children who needed their services. Because of this, barriers that were related to race and ethnicity came down, and children who were African-American were sometimes placed in homes with Caucasian or Latino parents, this was also true of Latino children, and Caucasian children. African-American children benefited the most by this, however, because they were the ones most in need of Foster and adoptive parents (Foster Care, 1998).

Many adolescents choose to remain in foster care rather than be adopted, sometimes because they have strong ties to their birth parents even though they are not allowed to live with them, and sometimes because they have been at a foster parents' home for so long that they begin to feel comfortable there and do not want to change that adoption would bring. Many adolescents also realize that they will soon be old enough to live on their own, and make their own decisions. Knowing this, they would prefer to remain in a home where they are comfortable and stable rather than change their entire life around at that point to suit an adoptive family, only to have to… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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