Family Preservation Foundation is the first organization for children, boldly declaring that children have the fundamental right to be exempt from the traumatization of forced family separation and exploitation.
We are fighting for the rights of 73 million American children.
We believe children have the right to grow up healthy, educated and safe. - We believe that every child deserves a future. - We believe children have the right to live with their parents when it's safe to do so. - We believe every child should be protected from violence and mental traumatization. - We believe family separation by the government should be a last resort, and not the first, as it is currently to receive federal funding. - We believe children literally have a right to be heard in court, and represented by legal counsel, not affiliated with the government, because this creates a conflict of interest. - We believe children have the right to a jury trial for the severance of their parent/child relationship. - We believe children have the right to have the bulk of the Social Security Act Title IV-E Foster Care funding, reallocated to Title IV-B, Family Preservation and Support Services. - These beliefs are the heart of everything we do. - We know you share it, too.
Protecting children by providing pro bono, legal aid services to support them and their families in Child Welfare and Foster Care cases. Over 50% of the approximately 500,000 cases go through the entire legal proceedings unrepresented by legal counsel, from inception, up to and including the severance of their parent/child relationship.
Our ultimate goal is to keep children safe and out of the Foster Care system.
Key Reasons Children Need Legal Representation
In June of 2018, the Children's Defense League and 540 organizations from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico which have well-recognized expertise in the fields of child welfare, juvenile justice and child health, development and safety, reported that the separation of children from their parents will have significant and long-lasting consequences for the safety, health, development, and well-being of children. https://www.childrensdefense.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/child-welfare-juvenile.pdf
Harvard Medical School conducted a study for Casey Family Programs of 659 former foster children and found they suffer "Post Traumatic Stress Disorder" (PTSD) at twice the rate of U.S. War Veterans. Peter Pecora, director of research for Casey Family Programs, said "It is a dramatic finding," adding that national studies show that 12 percent to 13 percent of Iraq war veterans and 15 percent of Vietnam war veterans suffer from the disorder." Post-traumatic stress disorder occurs in some people who experience or witness life-threatening events, such as violent personal assaults, military combat or serious accidents. They often relive the trauma through nightmares and flashbacks, and feel detached or estranged. (Harvard Alumni Studies Report)
ASFA - Champion Reunification
In November of 1997 the Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) was signed into law. ASFA was enacted in an attempt to correct problems inherent within the foster care system. ASFA marked a fundamental change to child welfare thinking, shifting the emphasis towards children's health and safety concerns and away from a policy of reuniting children with their birth parents without regard to prior abusiveness. As such, "Parental Rights" were no longer upheld and ASFA was considered the most sweeping change to the U.S. adoption and foster care system in some two decades. The biggest change to the law was how ASFA amended Title IV-E of the Social Security Act regarding funding. (ASFA Bill)
Among the new law’s provisions:
- Shortens the time-frame for a child’s first permanency hearing;
- Offers states financial incentives for increasing the number of adoptions;
- Sets new requirements for states to petition for termination of parental rights;
Title IV-E Funding Reimbursement - Limit Time After Removal From Family Home
Title IV-E Foster Care Program, which provides funds to title IV-E agencies (states and Tribes) to assist with the costs of foster care maintenance for eligible children; administrative expenses to manage the program; and training for staff, foster parents, and certain private agency staff. Specifically, the program permits title IV-E agencies to claim reimbursement for a portion of foster care expenditures for children who are removed from home and placed in foster care for up to 15-months. To be eligible for federal reimbursement, at the first court hearing there must be a Judicial determinations regarding “reasonable efforts” and “contrary to the welfare”, responsibility for placement and care vested with the title IV-E agency and the child’s placement in a licensed foster family home or child care institution. This is the predominant reason children are immediately removed from the family home. If they are not removed at the first court hearing, the state must fund the entire out of home placement. (Title IV-E Foster Care Eligibility)
Title IV-E Adoption Incentive Payments - Negative Reunification Stimulant
The Secretary of HHS is required to make adoption incentive payments to states in which adoptions of foster children in FY 2020 in which adoptions of foster children are higher than in any previous fiscal year.
- Adoption incentive payments are $5,000 for each adoption of a foster child above the base number, plus an additional $4,000 for a total of $9,000 per special needs adoption.
- Adoption incentive payments are $7,500 for each adoption of a foster child above the base number, plus an additional $7,500 for a total of $11,500 per special needs adoption for children between 9 years of age but not 14 years of age.
- Adoption incentive payments are $10,000 for each adoption of a foster child above the base number, plus an additional $4,000 for a total of $14,000 per special needs adoption for children who have reached 14 years of age.
The key provision of paramount importance in the Act that I wish to draw your attention to, is that in order to obtain the annual adoption incentive payment, each State must exceed the prior year's maximum number of adoptions. $43,000,000 is authorized for 2020.
1,640,368 children have been adopted out and $815,773,875 have been paid to States year ending 2019. (Children's Bureau AFCARS Reports)
That’s quite an incentive created for each State at the expense of the taxpayer. In fact, given the horror stories we have been involved with, and heard about concerning CPS and parents fighting in court to get their children back, it doesn’t look like the incentive is geared toward reuniting parents with their children but rather toward separating them permanently. The people getting the money for the children should not be the same people deciding to take the children. (SSA Adoption Incentive Payments Law)
Foster Care Outcomes
9,073,607 Children have been forcibly separated from their families and placed into Foster Care in the last 20 years. While the program might be consider a success for younger children because 97% under the age of 3 are adopted, the fact of the matter remains that for the remaining children, based upon federally reported statics and child welfare outcomes, the government has done a horrible job at raising the remaining children. (Foster Care Outcome Statistics)
Jury Trials - Terminating Parental Rights
Only five of the 50 states require or permit jury trials for cases where the state is seeking to legally sever a parent-child relationship. The remaining states prohibit the practice, whether through statute, case law, or court rule. The fate of a family should not be exclusively placed in the hands of a single judge. Children and their families need experienced lawyers who specialize exclusively in the field of Child Welfare and Foster Care, who have the experience and knowledge to protect their rights. (NCJJ Jury Trial State Snapshot)
Your help for children in need will change a life.
The scale of crisis in the America has increased exponentially in recent years. There are many more children being affected than any time in the past 10-years. As always, children from low-income families are among the most vulnerable. But now they face the additional impact of COVID-19 on their futures. As the coronavirus pandemic has spread throughout America, the poorest and most disadvantaged families are hurt the hardest. Family Preservation Foundation is working hard to ensure that the health, well-being and rights of children are protected.
Giving to Family Preservation Foundation is one America's best investments. So go ahead, feel great about giving.