Thenew Act on Adoption and Safe Families (ASFA) was developed as ameasure meant to correct the challenges experienced in the fostercare system. These problems were seen to deter the adoption ofchildren with disabilities. The President Bill Clinton signed the actinto law in 1997 after the United States Congress had approved it(Mallon& Hess, 2014).Its formulation was also attributable to the failure by the earlierlaw, the 1980 Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act, to solveexistent problems at the time (Mallon& Hess, 2014).The law’s interpretation required the biological families to bekept as intact as possible. However, the greatest change brought byASFA was the amendment of the Title IV-E contained in the SocialSecurity Act concerning the funding (Mallon& Hess, 2014).This new regulation changed the thinking of the child welfare. Theemphasis shifted from uniting the kids with the biological parentswithout consideration of the prior abusiveness to an approach thatmust be concerned with the children’s safety and health. This paperdescribes the ASFA provisions that defend the rights of the Childrenwith special needs in the foster care systems.
Aleading sponsor of the new Act, Republic Senator John Chafee, arguedthat a system that always tries to keep biological families togetherwas no longer reliable (Mallon& Hess, 2014).According to him, some families simply should not and cannot be heldjointly (Mallon& Hess, 2014).In an article, the First Lady of the US Hilary Clinton voiced herinterests concerning the orphaned children. Later on, she met withthe U.S. Department of Human Services and Health personnel as well asprivate foundation executives over recommendations and questions. Shealso held public events to popularize the need for amendments (Mallon& Hess, 2014).Eventually, the bill gained maximum attention and the demand for thetermination of birth parents’ rights to children became apparent.The necessity for the funding of various programs was alsoacknowledged to keep away the children out from foster care.
Someof the changes associated with the placement include the allowance ofwelfare payments for the children who are in the foster careprograms. Initially, these payments were made while the kids werestill in their homes. This law has also eliminated the delay afterthe court ruling on adoption. The kids must be put and retained inthe foster care immediately after the parent’s rights have beenrevoked. In cases where the kid suffers mental or other physicaldeformities, the state ensures the treatment process is funded alongwith the costs for the child’s care. Therefore, the ASFA offers tofund for all programs aiming at improving the safety of the childrenwho can’t find such care in their homes. Programs intended topromote adoption of the kids and other permanence homes also receivefunding from the state as this law dictates. The law encourages thefinancing of construction activities and maintenance of the childrenhomes by the federal government. Some of the funds are also allocatedto the programs meant to support families and keep them together.However, the efforts to keep the families unified should incorporatean evaluation of the child’s well-being in these homes (Mallon& Hess, 2014).
Someof the ASFA provisions affecting children with disabilities includechild safety, child well-being, and permanency as dedicated in theASFA, P.L. 105-89 (Mallon& Hess, 2014).Under this provision, health insurance coverage is guaranteed for thekids with special needs. Additionally, the Title IV-E of the ASFAadvocates for persistent efforts to ensure the disabled childrenacquires adoption placement (Mallon& Hess, 2014).This provision identifies this group of kids as being eligible foradoption assistance. Finally, the ASFA P.L. 106-169 provides theadolescents who are out of the home care with funds to support themin their youth training and transitional living programs (Mallon& Hess, 2014).The kids with special needs are also not an exception to thisprovision.
Inconclusion, the ASFA has proved competence in reducing problems thatthe children with disabilities faced in the foster and adoptionprograms. Some of the provisions that promote care for kids withspecial needs include the ASFA P.L. 106-169, IV-E, and the ASFA P.L.105-89. These requirements promote the kids eligibility for adoptionand ensure they are part of the safety, permanence, and healthinsurance coverage programs funded by the federal government.
Mallon,G. P., & Hess, P. M. (2014). ChildWelfare for the Twenty-first Century: A Handbook of Practices,Policies, & Programs.Columbia University Press.