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					Too Fast
  for Families
                             Winter 2000 Number 6




                                                                        c
                                                                        ww                     CHILD WELFARE WATCH
                                                                                               CHILD WELFARE WATCH




Washington’s Get-Tough
  Adoption Law Hits Home
  In 1999, following state implementation of the federal
  Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA), the number
  of petitions to terminate parental rights filed in
  Family Court jumped by one-third—to 4,201.
  (See “Terminations,” page 6)                                           New York’s 62 contracted foster care agencies differ enormously in
                                                                         the percentages of children they assign to the adoption track.The
                                                                         citywide average is 34 percent—but some agencies have adoption
  The number of children assigned to the adoption track                  track rates as high as 76 percent or as low as 13 percent.
  rose by 10 percent last year, reversing a five-year trend.             (See “Rushing Roulette,” page 8)
  (See “Adoptions,” page 7)

                                                                         Only 15 percent of the foster care adoptions completed in 1998
  Since 1996, the percentage of foster children in the system            would have conformed to ASFA’s new speedier timetables.
  who have been assigned to the goal of adoption has fallen              (See “Strife in the Fast Lane,” page 2)
  from 44.6 percent to 33.8 percent.
  (See “Adoptions,” page 7)
                                                                         The city has finally begun to weigh family reunification and
                                                                         adoption equally in its new system for rating the performance
  Caseworkers spend from five to 20 percent of their time                of contracted foster care agencies.
  locating services for parents, according to an informal survey         (See “EQUIP-ed,” page 10)
  of foster care agency administrators conducted by CWW.
  What takes up the biggest share of a caseworker’s time?
  Paperwork. (See “Survey,” page 11)                                     In 1998, nearly two-thirds of the adoptive parents in New York
                                                                         City were single mothers. Not one was a single father.
                                                                         (See “Adoption Snapshot,” page 5)


                                                                         Only one percent of the 11,000 foster parents or adoptive
                                                                         parents who have been fingerprinted under the state’s tough new
                                                                         ASFA implementation law actually had criminal records.
                                                                         (See “Bad Rap Sheets,” page 13)


                    Child Welfare Watch is a joint project of the Center for an Urban Future and the New York Forum
              This edition was written by Shalini Ahuja, Jonathan Bowles, John Courtney, Peggy Farber and Glenn Thrush
           The New York Forum: James Dumpson, New York Community Trust Julius C.C. Edelstein, Senior Vice-Chancellor Emeritus, CUNY
                    Augusta Kappner, President, Bank Street College Stanley H. Lowell, former Deputy Mayor, City of New York
                               Milton Mollen, ex-Justice Richard C. Wade, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, CUNY

   Center for an Urban Future: Kim Nauer, Executive Director, Neil Scott Kleiman, Director, Shalini Ahuja, Family Desk Director, Glenn Thrush, Editor
                                   Funded by the Hite Foundation with ongoing support from the Child Welfare Fund.
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                                                                  CHILD WELFARE WATCH


                                                                                                                  2
                                                                                                              Introduction




  Introduction:
                                                                                                                  3
                                                                                                           Recommendations

        Strife
            in the                                                                                                4




a
                                                                                                          What’s in ASFA?

           Fast Lane                                                                                 ASFA:The Low-Budget Sequel




AT WHAT POINT SHOULD GOVERN-                      but does virtually nothing to assure that par-
                                                                                                                  5
                                                                                                           My Law’s “Flawed”
MENT step in to sever the bonds between           ents get equally speedy access to the services
parents and their children?
    In 1997, the federal government attempted
to address this nearly unanswerable question
                                                  they need to get their kids back. And it will
                                                  affect a lot of families: A recent analysis of
                                                  adoptions in New York found that 85 percent
                                                                                                                  6
                                                                                                           Thanks to ASFA,
when it passed the Adoption and Safe              failed to be completed in accordance with          Termination Petitions Skyrocket
Families Act (ASFA), the most sweeping            ASFA timetables.
child welfare legislation in nearly 20 years.         “ASFA was long overdue—kids cannot
In the past, Washington mandated that local
governments focus on the task of reuniting
                                                  stay in agencies forever,” says Arlene
                                                  Goldsmith, executive director of New
                                                                                                                  7
                                                                                                             Adoptions:
foster children with their parents. Now the       Alternatives for Children, one of the 62 pri-
                                                                                                         Ready to Rise Again?
pressure is on to move children out of foster     vate agencies contracted by the city that care
homes as quickly as possible, even if that        for the vast majority of the city’s foster kids.
means pushing biological parents out of the
picture faster.
                                                  “But it’s a problem when you are working to
                                                  reunify families.You need time.You can’t                        8
                                                                                                           Rushing Roulette
    The law is already having a big impact in     change a parent in five minutes.You need
New York and it shows in the number of            time and support and resources to make it
new filings of court applications to perma-
nently sever the legal relationships between
parents and their children. Since the begin-
                                                  work.”
                                                  But while the law is long on mandates, it’s
                                                  short on new resources—there’s almost no
                                                                                                                  9
                                                                                                           Agency Adoption
ning of last year, when the law was imple-        money to pay for more caseworkers or legal               Tracks Vary Widely
mented, the number of these “petitions to         help for parents.
terminate parental rights” has shot up by a           And the system is already letting families
third.
    It’s because ASFA has given local foster
                                                  down. In this report, we document the failure
                                                  of many agencies to deliver services to par-
                                                                                                                10
                                                                                                        Parents Can’t Always Get
care agencies a simple, powerful ultimatum. If    ents in a timely, efficient way.When Child                What They Need
a child has spent 15 of the last 22 months in     Welfare Watch canvassed administrators in city-
foster care, the agency must either move to       contracted foster care agencies, we found that
terminate a parent’s rights—or justify in writ-
ing why a child isn’t a good candidate for
                                                  caseworkers devoted the smallest portion of
                                                  their time—in some cases as little as five per-
                                                                                                                11
                                                                                                     Survey: Little Time For Parents
adoption. In the past, child welfare agencies     cent of their overall working hours—to help-
were compelled to ask: “Why terminate the         ing parents obtain services.
parent’s rights?” Under ASFA, the question
has become:
    “Why not terminate parental rights?”
                                                      We want to make one thing very clear:
                                                  This report is not an attempt to discount the
                                                  importance of adoption or to demean the
                                                                                                                12
                                                                                                            Insider’s View:
    This fundamental shift in philosophy          thousands of parents in New York City who              Agency Administrators
comes in response to a very real problem.The      make great sacrifices to adopt children out of
time it takes to adopt a child out of foster
care has been rising steadily in the U.S. over
the last decade. In New York, this delay has
                                                  foster care.
                                                     Instead, we are raising issues of fairness
                                                  and prudence. ASFA’s biggest problem may
                                                                                                                13
                                                                                                     Fingerprinting: Bad Rap Sheets
increased from a median of 5.8 years to 6.8       be that it presents adoption as the solution to
years in the last four years alone.               the myriad of problems afflicting the nation’s
    Child Welfare Watch has spent the last six
months analyzing the potential impact of this
                                                  troubled child welfare systems.
                                                      What’s being lost in the shuffle is this:
                                                                                                                14
                                                                                                            Book Review:
major new initiative. After interviews with       Creating a new adoptive family means the
                                                                                                           Nobody’s Children
dozens of parents, caseworkers, agency execu-     death of an existing family. In some cases,
tives, advocates, judges and lawyers, we con-     that’s a good thing.There are biological fami-
clude that the law could result in the unfair
dissolution of many families. ASFA’s fatal flaw
                                                  lies so dysfunctional that they are dangerous
                                                  to a child’s well-being and safety. But many,                 15
                                                                                                         Watching the Numbers
is that it accelerates the termination process    many more parents aren’t beyond redemp-
                                                                           2
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                                                                                                            services it has identified as essential for fami-
                                                                                                            lies, including housing assistance and drug
                                                                                                            treatment.

Recommendations
               &      Solutions                                                                             ACS needs to SCRUTINIZE
                                                                                                             the agencies that have placed a
      proposed by Child Welfare Watch                                                                       HIGH PERCENTAGE of their CHILDREN
                                                                                                                on the ADOPTION TRACK.
The Adoption and Safe Families Act is the most dangerous piece of
                                                                                                            One of the most crucial indicators of an
child welfare legislation to come along in two decades. It may also be                                      agency’s commitment to reuniting parents
the least understood.                                                                                       with their kids is the percentage of children
   In extensive interviews, Child Welfare Watch found that many of the                                      it places on the adoption track.
                                                                                                                Citywide, an average of 34 percent of fos-
people who work in the city’s child welfare system had precious lit-                                        ter kids have been given a goal of adoption—
tle idea what the law meant.The general befuddlement was best                                               but some agencies have adoption track per-
                                                                                                            centages that range closer to 50 percent.
summed up by a state court official who admitted: “We have no idea                                          There are many reasons for this wide varia-
what’s going to happen.We’re just going to have react when the                                              tion, including the ages and typical case char-
                                                                                                            acteristics of the children in question. But
other shoe drops.”                                                                                          the bottom line is this: The higher the per-
   Unfortunately, what they don’t know about ASFA will hurt foster                                          centage of children on the adoption track,
care children and their families.                                                                           the lower the number of kids who ever make
                                                                                                            it back home.
Over the last year, the number of termination          ing short-term solutions:                                The city needs to take a close look at
petitions against birth parents has risen dramati-     The ENTIRE SYSTEM must                               those agencies that have assigned a high per-
cally, by more than a third.                                  rededicate itself to                          centage of their children to the adoption
     If these increases are sustained—and there’s                 HELPING PARENTS.                          track, investigate why this is the case—and
good reason to think they will be—the entire                                                                take corrective action if an agency fails to
system will have undergone a major upheaval.           The best way to avoid a tough job is to tell         help parents adequately.
Still, the child welfare system behaves, for the       everyone you’ve already done it.That’s just
most part, as if there isn’t a crisis at hand.         what many prominent child welfare theorists in              Agencies and ACS
The city’s Administration for Children’s               the country are doing when they claim that the         need to make MAXIMUM USE of
Services deserves credit for undertaking a wide        system is already working too hard to help par-      ASFA’s exemptions for
range of initiatives to improve the system’s per-      ents. Five minutes in a foster care agency or a          KINSHIP CARE, FAILURE to
formance. Still, most of ACS’s proposals are           Family Court hallway will shatter that myth.         PROVIDE SERVICES and REUNIFICATION.
only in the planning or early implementation           Nothing could be further from the truth.
stages.                                                    The city and its agencies need to recognize      Under ASFA, agencies can use one of three
     And speed is of the essence.                      they are failing to do this fundamental job—         exemptions to pull children off of the termi-
     ASFA, after all, is all about speed. If parents   and that many families will be wrongly split         nation track. An exemption is possible if a
can’t get their lives together quickly, their chil-    apart as a result of that failure.                   child is placed in kinship care. An exemption
dren are put on the fast track to adoption—no                                                               is also granted if an agency lawyer stands up
matter how sluggishly the system is working on         ACS must force agencies                              in court and admits his agency failed to pro-
a families behalf.                                         to PROVIDE SERVICES                              vide necessary services to parents.
     And while ASFA is a looming reality, so far,              BEFORE they proceed with                         The third—and most important—exemp-
better accountability to parents is a still just a     TERMINATIONS against parents.                        tion is simply to keep kids off the adoption
promise.                                                                                                    track by assigning them to be reunified with
     This report is intended as a warning.There        As we document throughout this report,               their families. All three tools should be used
is a basic inequality in the way ASFA was draft-       ASFA’s great flaw is that it speeds up the           as vigorously as possible.
ed and is being implemented.The system                 clock on terminations without creating an
already fails to provide enough help to birth          equal mandate to pressure agencies to make           FAMILY COURT JUDGES should
parents. If we don’t address that problem quick-       energetic efforts on behalf of reuniting fami-          be given DISCRETION in deciding
ly, families will be broken up, without getting a      lies.                                                whether a parent with
fair shot to get back together.                            In communications with its contracted            an old FELONY CONVICTION can
     The best solution, of course, would be to         foster care agencies, the city has outlined its        remain a FOSTER PARENT.
repeal ASFA.The next-best solution would be            commitment to helping families. But paper
to mandate—and fund—overdue institutional              promises won’t get the job done. The city            Under the state’s version of ASFA, parents
reforms: smaller caseloads for foster care work-       needs to step up the pressure on agencies to         are automatically excluded from retaining
ers, increased visits for birth parents and better     immediately improve their efforts on behalf of       their children, or adopting new kids, if
representation for birth parents in Family             parents.                                             they have been convicted of a violent
Court, to name just three.                                 In addition, the city must fulfill its promis-   crime. In some instances, however,
     With that in mind, we propose the follow-         es to increase the abundance and quality of          reformed criminals have proven to be

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 What’s in




a
          AFSA?
 A Detailed Summary of the New Law
1. ASFA greatly speeds up                                 child abuser or violent criminal.                holds that have applied to adopt a child.
  termination of parental rights.                      Under ASFA, agencies are exempt from man-              If an adult in any of these families is found to
Under ASFA, a procedural clock starts the day          dated “reasonable efforts” at reunification            have a violent criminal record, the entire
that child welfare officials remove a child from       under the following circumstances: If                            household is automatically barred
the family’s home.When a child has been in             the child has been severely or                                        from adopting kids, or even
foster care for 15 of 22 months, the city or its       repeatedly abused; if the par-                                           from retaining custody of
contracted agency must, in most cases, move to         ent has been convicted of            On November 19, 1997,                  foster children.The crimi-
terminate the parents’ rights and place the child      manslaughter involving              President Clinton signed the              nal offenses that trigger
up for adoption.                                       one of their other kids; if                                                    the law are very similar
                                                       the parent has been con-
                                                                                         Adoption and Safe Families Act                to those that are used
2. New York’s version of the law includes              victed of attempted                 (ASFA), the most significant                 for suspension of rea-
  three important exemptions to the                    murder or manslaughter                                                           sonable efforts. In addi-
 “15 of 22 months” rule.                                                                 piece of major federal legislation
                                                       of another family mem-                                                           tion, an agency can ask
First, agencies are allowed to cite a “compelling      ber; or if a parent has          dealing with child welfare services            the courts to disqualify
reason” that a child shouldn’t be slated for           been convicted of first or       since 1980. Fifteen months later,             parents if they’ve ever
adoption. If an agency documents a reunfiica-          second-degree aggravated                                                     been charged with any of
tion goal in its case planning, they are permit-       assault on a child under the
                                                                                            New York Governor George              the aforementioned crimes.
ted to suspend the 15 of 22 month rule.                age of 11 resulting in that       Pataki signed the state law that
Another compelling reason: In New York, chil-          child’s “serious physical injury.”                                  5. Adoption planning is part of
dren 14 or older are still given the right to          With this provision, the agency must                           every foster care child’s planning rou-
reject adoption. Second, agencies can place            apply in court to waive their “reasonable           tine from day one.
children in kinship foster care. If a child is         efforts” obligation.                                Before ASFA, local agencies were not mandated
being cared for by relatives, they are also                                                                to assign children simultaneously to two tracks:
exempt from the 15 of 22 month rule. A third           4. New York State now                               Adoption and reunification. Now, case man-
exemption goes into effect when an agency                requires all foster families and adoptive         agers must create “concurrent” plans that simul-
admits it has failed to provide the “necessary”          parents to be fingerprinted.                      taneously provide for reunification and adop-
services that give parents a fair chance of reuni-     Under New York state’s version of ASFA—one          tion, beginning on the day a child is removed
fying with their children.                             of the toughest in the nation—the state now         from home.The agency must identify potential
                                                       fingerprints all adult members of a foster          adoptive parents and document grounds for ter-
3. ASFA prevents children from being                   household. In addition, the state now finger-       mination, even while it pursues efforts to reuni-
  returned home if a parent is a confirmed             prints anybody over the age of 18 in house-         fy families. Agencies must also review the


                                                         ASFA II, THE LOW-BUDGET SEQUEL

The federal version of ASFA contains a lot of new mandates, but scarcely a          nical assistance. That leaves a mere $5 million nationwide to expand
penny for overburdened state courts to deal with the law’s strict new timelines.    court-appointed advocates that speak for abused or neglected children.
    Last year, in response to a growing chorus of complaints about the              The money would be provided in two chunks—$30 million up front and
impact ASFA would have on state courts, a bipartisan group of ten U.S.              $20 million phased in over the next four years.
Senators introduced legislation that establishes new funding to imple-                 No matter how you slice it, it’s not much. Court officials in Cleveland—
ment the law, easing the pressure on court systems across the country.              which deals with far fewer adoption cases than New York City—estimate
But even this effort–the only proposed federal attempt to tackle the prob-          that their Cuyahoga County court system alone needs $7 million in new
lems created by ASFA–provides a pittance. No new money is earmarked                 funds to comply with ASFA.
for legal representation for parents, which they desperately need.                     But even more importantly, the bill doesn’t provide any additional fund-
    If that isn’t bad enough, it hardly stands a chance of being passed into law.   ing to increase the pay—and decrease the caseload—of lawyers who rep-
    The bill, introduced in 1998 and revived last spring, would provide a           resent parents. A year ago, Child Welfare Watch reported that attorneys
total of $50 million to help state courts reduce their current backlogs and         representing parents in New York courts—known as 18B’s—earn lower
set up procedures for complying with ASFA. "As well-intentioned as the              pay than parents’ lawyers in all but six other states. Largely because of this,
strict time lines [are], mandatory filing dates won’t be enough to promote          90 percent of them don’t even file a single written motion on their clients’
permanency if the court docket is too clogged to move the cases through             behalf, according to one study.
the system," said Senator Mike DeWine (R-Ohio), the bill’s primary spon-               Still, the bill has bigger problems. Though it was introduced by DeWine,
sor, in testimony before Congress last March.                                       a Republican, it hasn’t gotten a nod from Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott
    That may be true, but DeWine’s dollar amounts are hardly enough to              and has no companion bill in the House of Representatives. Even worse,
make a dent. The bill sets aside $10 million for extended court hours and           the only other Republican co-sponsoring DeWine’s legislation, Senator
money for hiring new judges and court staff; $10 million is tapped for              John Chafee, died last October.
computer upgrades; and $25 million is slated to provide states with tech-
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My Law’s
                       “Flawed”
  Says Richard Gelles

IF THE ADOPTION AND SAFE FAMILIES                  surprise, the measure attracted a formidable          children in their teens. “I get a lot of com-
Act can be said to have a father, it’s the con-    ally: Hillary Rodham Clinton. “She got on the ments from people out in the field who tell
troversial conservative Richard Gelles. In an      phone and started making telephone calls.”            me, ‘We are asked to support a termination
interview with Child Welfare Watch in              Gelles recalls: “I don’t think that bill would        and adoption plan for a 13-year-old because
November 1999, ASFA’s father expressed a           have been voted on in that Congress if she            of the law you wrote, you moron.’ I tell them
few second thoughts about his new offspring.       hadn’t got involved.”                                 that [pushing older kids towards adoption]
    His concerns: ASFA doesn’t meet the needs          The adoption part—which has attracted             wasn’t in the original bill and it probably
of older foster kids, and the law doesn’t chan-    the most press—was basically an “after-               shouldn’t be in the one that we have.”
nel enough money toward good programs.             thought,” Gelles says. “Initially, this was just          Another criticism searing Gelles’ ears these
    “I wrote the law, and I’m glad it’s out        supposed to be a safe families bill, not really       days is the charge that Congress didn’t do
there,” says Gelles, chairman of the                             an adoption bill at all,” he            enough to channel resources to localities.
Child Welfare and Family                                               explains. “The adoption           Recently, on a trip to New York, Gelles asked
Violence program at the                                                    component was a way of        New York City child welfare chief Nicholas
University of                The adoption part–which attracted the sanitizing the bill, to               Scoppetta what it would take to double the
Pennsylvania School of                                                         make it more appeal-      number of caseworker visits the city’s
Social Work. “But
                            most press–was basically an afterthought. ing to a broader                   Administration for Children’s Services con-
there’s no doubt that         It was a way of sanitizing the bill, to            group of people.        ducts each year. According Gelles, Scoppetta
it’s flawed—in some                                                             Adoption is a very       responded without hesitation. “Richard,”
ways deeply flawed.            make it more appealing to a broader              popular concept in       Scoppetta said to him. “You would have to
Like everything else        group of people.Adoption is a very pop- the country right                    double my budg-
that ever comes out of                                                       now.”                       et.”
Washington.”                  ular concept in the country right now.                 Something was
    Gelles is the author of “The                                      lost in the effort to please
Book of David: How Preserving Families                         all parties, Gelles now
Can Cost Children’s Lives,” a book which           admits. He takes issue with the
chronicles the 1990 beating death of David         law’s timetables, which weren’t
Edwards, an infant in Boston. Gelles uses the      customized for children of
tragedy to illustrate what he believes are the     different ages. Under                                   NYC ADOPTION IN 1998:
excessive efforts to preserve dangerously dys-     ASFA, child welfare
functional families.                               agencies must pursue
                                                                                                                       A Snapshot
    His critics—and they are legion—charge         termination of
that he blames parents for the failures of the     parental rights if a                Children Adopted           were:
system.They point out that most foster care        child has been in
cases start with charges of neglect, not severe    foster care for 15
abuse. And, they say, the child welfare system     of the last 22                          95% black or Hispanic
lets families down by failing to support birth     months. “I have                    8.4 years was the median age when they were adopted
parents.                                           always been in
    But Gelles’ thesis—that child welfare sys-     favor of a slid-
                                                                                           85% were adopted by their foster parents
tems save the family at the expense of the         ing timeline,                      4.4 months was the median age when they first entered foster care
child—became the philosophical bedrock of          not the one-
the new federal law. Soon after the book came size-fits-all
out, Gelles began consulting conservative          thing,” he says.                               Facts about      Adoptive Parents          :
Ohio Senator Mike DeWine, who later would “The 15 months
become instrumental in creating the new law.       was a terrible
    According to Gelles, the law’s architects      compromise. It’s                               41% were related to the child
had two basic goals. First, they wanted to cre-    too long for the                                  99.6% received the adoption subsidy
ate a system that would automatically remove       small kids, and too                            67.6% were single mothers
kids from parents with histories of child abuse    short for the big kids.”
or violent crime. Second, they wanted to               Gelles says the termi-                        0 were single fathers
speed up the process by which agencies per-        nation timetable should be
manently sever the bonds between kids and          much shorter for infants and                                      Source: NYC Adoptions 1998,Trudy Festinger,
their birth parents.                               toddlers—six months, in most                                              NYU School of Social Work.
    At first the bill seemed destined for          cases. But he also says there
Washington’s back burners. Then, to Gelles’        shouldn’t be any timetable at all for

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                                                                                                            Will the increase in termination petitions
                                                                                                        continue? The Giuliani administration says no.




                                                                                                                                                             a
                                                                                                        “We have always estimated that, at any given
                                                                                                        time, between one-fourth and one-third of the
Thanks to ASFA,                                                                                         children will have their goals changed to adop-
                                                                                                        tion,” says ACS spokesperson Jennifer Falk.
            Termination                                                                                 “ASFA isn’t going to change that basic calcula-
                                                                                                        tion.”

                  Petitions                                                                                 Falk chalks up the rise in TPRs to an
                                                                                                        ASFA-induced clearing out of the most
                                                                                                        extreme cases of abuse and neglect. “It’s having
               Skyrocket                                                                                an effect on these more extreme cases, if there’s
                                                                                                        severe abuse or fatality of a sibling,” says ACS
                                                                                                        spokesperson Jennifer Falk. “Why should the
                                                                                                        other children be put through the rigmarole of
The leading edge of ASFA has hit New York—with a stunning                                               waiting for permanency when we can just ter-
increase in the number of court motions aimed at severing the                                           minate their parental rights sooner?”
                                                                                                            But agency lawyers who process these cases
legal bonds between parents and their children.                                                         claim that the new TPRs are no different than
                                                                                                        the ones they have always dealt with. “There
                                                   of ASFA, he was buried in an avalanche of            was no difference, we just got a rush of new
IN 1999,THE NUMBER OF NEW FIL-                                                                          cases,” Carrieri says. “These are all the same
INGS for Terminations of Parental Rights           manila folders. Agency staffers, after a harried
                                                   phone call, dumped off the “boxes and boxes”         cases we usually do, except they’ve been hang-
(TPRs) jumped by one-third to 4,201, accord-                                                            ing around for a year-and-a-half or two.”
ing to state court records. “That’s major,” said   of cases they wanted pushed towards termina-
                                                   tion.                                                    And experts say the jump in terminations
an official in the state’s Office of Court                                                              will persist, because the speeded-up ASFA
Administration. “Right there, that’s ASFA.”            This backlog purge reverses the recent
                                                   downward trend in termination filings. In            timetables have yet to be applied to new cases.
    System watchers expected an increase in                                                             “There will be an increase, overall, in the num-
TPR filings under the new law. But the magni- 1996,TPR petitions topped out at around                   ber of terminations as a result of the new law,”
tude of the change has taken many by surprise.     3,900. Since then, they have steadily declined
                                                   to around 3,200 a year. But last year, in the        says Joseph Lauria, the recently-appointed
“It’s kind of a shock,” says Michael Arsham,                                                            Administrative Judge of the city’s Family
executive director of the Child Welfare            wake of ASFA, they bounded past the 4,000
                                                   mark. Carrieri alone filed 150 extra TPRs in         Court.
Organizing Project, a parent advocacy group.                                                                “This rush will keep up for another six to
    Yet despite this shift, the city and its con-  addition to the 500 or so he deals with in any
                                                   given year.                                          12 months,” Carrieri, a 30-year veteran of the
tract agencies have not created a plan to                                                               system, predicts. “Then it will plateau. But these
respond to the sudden rush of terminations.            Parents facing termination orders don’t
                                                   stand much chance of getting their kids back.        numbers are basically here to stay.This increase
There is no new strategy aimed at improving                                                             in TPRs is real.”
the quality, quantity and speed of help delivered Agency lawyers who file these documents told              But ACS’s Falk maintains there won’t be a
to parents.                                        Child Welfare Watch that they generally win
                                                   more than 90 percent of the cases they begin.        radical increase in terminations over the long
    “I don’t think agencies are being reckless                                                          haul. She points to the introduction of the new
with these terminations, but there’s no doubt      “If the case goes to trial, chances are the parent
                                                   is going to lose their kid,” says Ira Eras, a        neighborhood-based services programs, which
parents are being written off much more                                                                 will be expanded from the Bronx to the rest of
quickly,” says Arsham.                             Brooklyn attorney who represents three agen-
                                                   cies.                                                the city later this year.These programs, says
    The key to this sharp increase is the law’s                                                         Falk, will help keep families together by mak-
retroactivity. Most foster care agencies                                                                     ing more social services available to parents
have accumulated a big backlog of chil-                                                                       in the communities they live in.
dren who have been languishing in fos-            TERMINATION PETITIONS Filed in                                    For parents, however, those services
ter care for years. Under ASFA, cases                                                                         may not come quickly enough. “What
                                                                FAMILY COURT
that hit the 15-month marker must be                                                                          happens to all these families in the mean-
immediately pushed toward termina-                                                                            time?” asks Arsham. “ASFA is already here
tion—or agency administrators must jus-                         FY                  Terminations
                                                                                                              and you haven’t even seen finalized [neigh-
tify why the children should remain in                                                                        borhood-based agency] contracts in four
foster care.                                                   1995                   3655
                                                                                                              of the five boroughs.”
    “ASFA is like Ex-Lax,” says Joseph                         1996                   3926                          For the most part, birth parents—
Carrieri, a lawyer whose firm handles                          1997                   3428                    even ones that didn’t get the services they
termination petitions for two of the                                                                          need—will have to fight it out against the
city’s largest foster care agencies, Little                    1998                   3209
                                                                                                              odds in court.The situation could change
Flower Children’s Services of New York                         1999                   4201                    if Family Court judges, as a group, begin
and St. Christopher-Ottilie. “It’s clearing                                                                   to demand more accountability from agen-
out the whole system, clearing out the                                                                        cies—and more vigorously question the
backlog.”                                              Source: NYS Office of Court Administration
                                                                                                              quality of agency efforts on behalf of par-
    Carrieri says that by April, a few                                                                        ents. But that’s unlikely to happen. “When
months after the state passed its version                                                                     it comes to advocating for parents, some

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                                                                         CHILD WELFARE WATCH
                                                                                                                         FI N DI NG:
                                                                                                            Thanks to the city’s adoption
                                                                                                          push, New York’s finalized adop-
                                                                                                         tions rose through the mid-1990’s.
   Adoptions:                                                                                             Then the trend tapered off. ASFA
        Ready to Rise Again?                                                                             aims to send the numbers skyward
                                                                                                                        again.


AFTER THREE YEARS, NEW YORK                             they are notoriously tricky to interpret. For               kids. Recently, the agency created an adoption
City's much-publicized effort to push up the            example, experts say the increases in New                   expediting unit, charged with speeding up the
total number of completed adoptions has                 York's adoption rate in the mid-1990s may                   paperwork necessary to complete adoptions
apparently hit its ceiling.                             have simply been the result of natural cycles:              after parental rights have been terminated.The
    ASFA, however, might prompt a reprise of            Many of the children who were adopted had                   city has also begun to step up its efforts to
the rise.                                               entered the system in the late 1980s, when the              recruit more adoptive parents. Last April, ACS
    Between 1994 and 1997, the number of                city's foster child population was increasing day           began co-sponsoring a weekly televised adop-
adoptions finalized in the five boroughs                by day.                                                     tion feature called "Wednesday's Child" to help
increased by 73 percent, reaching a high of                 The slowdown is equally hard to analyze––               find permanent homes for foster children who
4,009 adoptions in the 1997 fiscal year. At that        even if its causes have potentially profound                have special needs and have been freed for
time, 20 percent of all foster care adoptions           implications. Drawing on the experi-                                                      adoption. It also
completed nationwide were in New York City, ences of other states, Madelyn                                                                         started up an adop-
even though the city was home to just eight             Freundlich, director of the Evan B.
                                                                                                               Number of NYC                       tion hotline, held
percent of the total number of kids in foster           Donaldson Adoption Institute says                 Children Put on the                      adoption fairs and
care.The climb coincided with the introduc-             finalizations may have slowed                        ADOPTION TRACK                        published the
tion of the city’s well-publicized adoptions ini- because the city has already pro-                                                                NYC Family
tiative, which is aimed at cutting delays               pelled most “easy-to-place”                            Calendar           # of             Album, a portfolio
between the time a child is freed from his or           kids––healthy, emotionally stable                       Year          Children             that advertises
her birth parents and the time the court final-         children under age ten ––through                                                           adoptable kids with
izes the adoption papers.The plan includes:             the system. In fact, ACS itself pre-                    1993             6,069             photographs and
giving contract foster care agencies adoption           dicted just such a phenomenon in                        1994             4,729             biographies.
incentive payments, a citywide adoptive parent          the 1996 Mayor’s Management                             1995             4,109                And ASFA may
recruiting drive and an effort to expedite              Report.                                                                                    be having an
paperwork more efficiently.                                 “At first, it was necessary to focus                1996             3,515             impact. After
    But the initiative seems to have ended its          on finalizing adoptions for children                    1997             3,230             declining consis-
initial growth spurt. Over the last two years,          who were already placed with adop-                      1998             3,554             tently throughout
adoption finalizations have risen dramatically          tive parents,” Freundlich says. “Those                                                     the 1990s, the
across the county, spurred by the $4,000 incen- adoptions have [now] been finalized.                      Source: 1998 Monitoring and Analysis     number of foster
tive that feds pay to states for each completed         But then there are children who are               Profiles, NYS Office of Children and     kids that the city
                                                                                                          Family Services.
adoption under ASFA. In 1998, finalizations in          not initially placed with adoptive                                                         placed on the
Illinois jumped 100 percent. At the same time, families who need to find families.                                                               adoption track
they shot up 75 percent in Texas, and 57 per-           This creates a whole new challenge to the sys-              increased last year by about 10 percent, to
cent in Florida.                                        tem, and makes it hard to keep the number of                3,554.Will the trend continue? “It's only been
    Meanwhile, the numbers in New York City             adoptions going up.”                                        11 months since the state law was passed,” says
have been moving in the other direction.                    Other interpretations emphasize the natural             Falk of ACS. “That's way too short a time to
Finalizations slid down 11 percent over the             fluctuations in intake.Trudy Festinger, a profes- identify trends. It's impossible to tell what the
same two-year period,                                                          sor of social work at New            effect will be on adoptions.”
ending up last year at                                                            York University, says                 At the very least, the new law seems to
around 3,800––that's                                                              finalizations have dipped make it inevitable that more kids will be
                                      Number of FOSTER
700 below the city's                                                              simply because fewer              pushed into the adoption pipeline.
own prediction of
                                 CHILDREN ADOPTED in NYC                          foster children were                  As we report in this issue, the number of
4,500.                                                                            admitted into the sys-            petitions for terminations of parental rights
                                    Fiscal              # of Finalized
    “We’ve hit a                    Year                 Adoptions                tem in the 1990s.                 jumped last year. ASFA's speedy termination
plateau," explains                                                                      Still, there’s no           timetables were drafted to increase the number
Jennifer Falk,                                                                    doubt that ACS’s                  of children being pushed into adoptive place-
                                     1995                 3,665
spokesperson for the                                                              reforms have had a sus-           ments, and ACS Commissioner Nicholas
city's Administration                1996                 3,666                   tained impact on the              Scoppetta seems committed to enforcing the
for Children’s                       1997                 4,009                   system. And ACS is                law to its letter.The city has even held train-
Services.                            1998                 3,848                   pushing ahead with                ings to show agencies how to push through
Finalizations are a stat                                                          changes aimed at accel-           termination petitions faster, system insiders tell
politicians love to tout             1999                  3,806                  erating all aspects of the        Child Welfare Watch.
as the measure of                                                                 adoption process, partic-             “If a child is to be reunified with parents,
adoption success. But             Source: Mayor’s Management Report.           ularly for hard-to-place             he or she should be reunified within 15


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 Role of Foster Care Agencies:
          Rushing
                Roulette
A MOTHER’S ODDS OF GETTING HER                      est at 57.2 percent, but that might have a lot       already on the rise, as we report in this issue
child out of foster care has a lot to do with       to do with a recent push to increase kinship         (see “Terminations Petitions Skyrocket,” page
her own behavior. But it may have as much           adoptions for children in the care of ACS.)          6). And in 1998, for the first time in five
to do with the foster care agency her kids          By comparison, Medina’s agency and the               years, the number of kids whose goals were
have been placed with. It’s a game of chance        New York Foundling Hospital, among others,           changed to adoption rose slightly, increasing
with very serious implications.                     have assigned fewer than 20 percent of their         about 10 percent over 1997.
    If the agency works energetically toward        kids to adoption.                                        Still, agency executives canvassed by Child
family reunification, her chances may be very           “I know that in some places there is a lin-      Welfare Watch were generally optimistic about
good. If not, she’s in deep trouble. Essentially,   gering negative attitude toward birth fami-          ASFA’s potential. But they acknowledged that
it’s the luck of the draw.                          lies,” says Mary Moe, director of foster care        parents who found themselves placed with
    In interviews with a dozen executives at        and adoption at New Alternatives for                 the wrong agency could be short-shrifted.
the nonprofit agencies that handle 81 percent       Children, a Manhattan-based                                                  “What the law does is
of the city’s foster care cases, Child Welfare      agency whose adoption track                    FI N DI NG:                     force us to be aware of
Watch found huge variations in agency per-          percentage is a shade                                                              time frames—we
formance—based on size, leadership, case-           above the citywide              Some agencies have a strong commit-                  have gotten lazy,”
worker quality, access to services and even in      average. “It’s usually a                                                              admits Willie
their capacity to supplement their govern-          certain bias that says,
                                                                                    ment to putting families back together.               Wren, executive
ment funding with outside money (see                for instance, substance       Others don’t. It’s a game of chance that                director of
“Agencies Vary,” next page). But the most sig-      abusers can’t be reha-                                                                Miracle Makers, a
nificant differences may be philosophical—          bilitated.”                    can be the difference between whether a Brooklyn foster care
how far an agency is willing to go on behalf            And although it’s an issue     family is saved or pulled apart.              agency. “But there are
of a birth parent.                                  that never makes it into the                                                dangers. ASFA would make
    “How well a parent does has everything to       reams of case paperwork, system veterans                          sense if agencies were all on an
do with an agency’s efforts to get the family       say that bias can easily affect the likelihood of    equal playing field, but that is not true.”
reunified. It’s as simple as that,” says Luis       a child returning home.                              Wren, whose own agency cares for about
Medina, executive director of St.                       “A caseworker has the most contact with          1,000 kids, says that smaller organizations are
Christopher’s, Inc. in the Bronx. “Five years       the family,” points out Emma L. Diaz-                at a disadvantage—they just don’t have the
ago, we had an adoption track rate of like 40       Alexander, a caseworker with Episcopal Social clout to get their clients into the limited
percent. We had to sit down and make a con-         Services, which has a 22 percent adoption            number of slots for drug treatment and other
certed effort to focus on reunification. And        track percentage. “The worker could leave            services. “We are all competing for resources
we’ve gotten it down to about 14 percent.”          out something to make the family look good           every single day,” Wren says.
    By focusing on adoption track numbers,          or to make the family look bad—depending                 Finding a residential program for parents
Medina improved his quality of service.             on how the worker feels.”                            with multiple problems like mental illness
“They were my outcome measure,” he says.                The caseworker’s own expertise and ener-         and alcoholism is also very tough, says Moe.
The effort began by asking birth parents what       gy level is another crucial factor. “The main        Agencies have to be aggressive in lobbying
services they needed. Medina also began scru-       problem our agencies deal with is caseworker         for a slot, and like anything else, it matters
tinizing the termination petitions his agency       turnover,” says Edith Holzer, spokesperson for       who you know.
was producing—to make sure St.                      the Council of Family and Child Caring                   Some parents do strike it lucky. There are
Christopher’s had done everything it needed         Agencies (COFCCA), a trade association of            a handful of agencies that manage to avoid
to keep the family together. “We started            foster care providers. “So when half of your         the competition for resources altogether by
focusing on what the families needed and            caseworkers quit every year, how can you             fundraising heavily for support services.
delivering it to them as fast as possible,” he      achieve any consistency in quality? How can              Luis Medina’s agency has partnered with
says.                                               you have enough consistency to achieve any           another local nonprofit to start up a drug-
    Not many agency directors have adopted          kind of a permanency plan—even adoption?”            treatment center on site at its Bronx offices.
Medina’s approach. Citywide, the percentage             Under the new law, decisions made by             And, in response to parents’ chronic housing
of foster children placed on the adoption           caseworkers and their supervisors become             problems, Medina is even considering buy-
track averaged 33.8 percent at the beginning        even more important. Courts may make the             ing local buildings for them to live in.
of 1999, when the most recent statistics were       ultimate judgments, but it’s up to the agencies          ACS Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta
gathered. Some foster care agencies, including      to decide how cases are tracked—whether chil- has made these kinds of efforts to improve
Little Flower Childrens’ Services of New York       dren are headed for adoption, or headed back         services a big part of the administration’s
and Lakeside Family and Children’s Services         home.                                                new neighborhood-based services plan,
have adoption track rates pushing 50 percent.           If ASFA achieves its desired result, more        which has just started up in the Bronx. But
(ACS’s own caseload is among the very high-         will be adopted. Termination petitions are           the effects of the program may not be felt

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  The Percentage of Foster Kids
      Placed on the Adoption Track
  Varies Widely by Agency

                                                                                         # of children with             # of children in      % of children with
Agency                                                                                   goal of adoption1              agency 2              goal of adoption 3




SYSTEM AVERAGE                                                                                     11,616                            34,500            34%
ACS DIRECT CARE                                                                                    2,930                             5,124             57%

OHEL Children’s Home and Family Services                                                           12                                95                13%
     St. Mary’s Children and Family Services                                                       27                                198               14%
St. Christopher’s, Inc.                                                                            188                               1,347             14%
     Green Chimneys Children’s Services                                                            19                                123               15%
Salvation Army, Social Services for Children                                                       117                               656               18%
     Children’s Village                                                                            83                                458               18%
Jewish Child Care Association                                                                      124                               663               19%
     Concord Family Services                                                                       89                                462               19%
New York Foundling Hospital                                                                        237                               1,172             20%
     Episcopal Social Services                                                                     130                               600               22%
Abbott House                                                                                       152                               638               24%
     Graham Windham Services for Children & Families                                               280                               1,124             25%
Brookwood Child Care                                                                               163                               614               27%
     Pius XII Youth and Family Services                                                            163                               605               27%
St. Christopher’s Ottilie Services for Families & Children                                         627                               2,323             27%
     Leake and Watts Services                                                                      295                               1,055             28%
Coalition for Hispanic Family Services                                                             60                                210               29%
     Talbot Perkins Children’s Services                                                            172                               592               29%
Cardinal McCloskey Services                                                                        164                               563               29%
     Good Shepherd Services                                                                        147                               503               29%
St. Vincent’s Services                                                                             328                               1,084             30%
     Lutheran Social Services of Metropolitan New York                                             168                               552               30%
Heartshare Human Services of New York                                                              183                               585               31%
     Edwin Gould Services for Children                                                             215                               686               31%
Child Development Support Corporation                                                              148                               462               32%
     Louise Wise Services                                                                          108                               333               32%
Miracle Makers                                                                                     315                               961               33%
     Seamen’s Society for Children and Families                                                    215                               627               34%
New Alternatives for Children                                                                      27                                78                35%
     St. Joseph Services for Children & Families                                                   266                               747               36%
Angel Guardian Children & Family Services                                                          248                               678               37%
     St. Dominic’s Home                                                                            145                               388               37%
Little Flower Children’s Services of New York                                                      766                               1,933             40%
     Sheltering Arms Children’s Services                                                           174                               434               40%
Harlem-Dowling Westside Center                                                                     284                               658               43%
     Lakeside Family & Children’s Services                                                         460                               961               48%
Catholic Home Bureau                                                                               452                               943               48%
     Downey Side                                                                                   42                                55                76%
1 Adoption Monitoring System, New York State Office of Children and Family Services, September 1999.
2 ACS ffice of Management Development and Research, October 1999. Numbers include foster care and congregate care populations.
3 Note: Source data compares most recent numbers available. Agencies that only maintain group homes were excluded from this table.

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Parents Can’t Always
       get What They Need




i
IT’S AN OLD MANTRA WITH NEW                        enough. And now, with the new law, that could          program,” Delapenha says. “I was told I didn’t
urgency: Parents aren’t getting the help they      have profound consequences for families that           need anything else.When I went to the treat-
need in order to rebuild their lives and get       could be saved.”                                       ment program it turned out I needed identifi-
their kids out of foster care.                         Child welfare groups lobbied for ASFA to           cation and Medicaid, so I was turned away.”
    The federal Adoption and Safe Families Act,    increase funding for new caseworkers to deal               Admittedly, the Delapenhas were not a very
along with the state’s version of the law, has     with the law, but they were turned down.                 sympathetic pair at the time.Yet underneath
speeded up the basic clock that governs the        Congress and the White House                                      their haggard appearance lay a power-
nation’s child welfare system.The law forces fos-  included virtually no new                    FI N DI NG:              ful desire to get their lives—and
ter care agencies to bring a court case to sever   money to beef up staffs in                                                their kids—back.The problem
parental rights once a child has been in foster    the city’s Administration         Under the new law, the federal was that the caseworker who
care for 15 out of the previous 22 months.With     for Children’s Services or government forces foster care agen- was supposed to work on
this strict deadline, parents need to get their    the 62 privately con-                                                          their behalf gave them a
lives together in a hurry, or face losing their kids
                                                   tracted agencies who            cies to terminate parental rights at half-hearted effort, while
for good.                                          care for most of the              a much faster pace. But the law              the mechanism that per-
    Local foster care agencies are charged with    city’s 35,001 foster care                                                     manently removed their
the task of helping parents get the services they  kids.                           does nothing to speed up delivery kids functioned far more
need to stabilize their lives so that their kids       That caseworkers often                                                  efficiently. No laws were bro-
can come home. But in interviews with more         don’t have the time, training
                                                                                     of the vital services that parents ken, but it was the end of the
than 50 parents, lawyers, judges, agency admin-    or inclination to work energeti- need to keep their kids. line for the Delapehna family.
istrators and caseworkers, Child Welfare Watch     cally for birth parents isn’t lost on                              After the children were gone, their
found that in many cases, the job isn’t getting    mothers like Lucille Delapehna. On January 19, lives deteriorated into a series of drug-blurred
done.The reasons for the failure are wide-rang-    1993, when Delapenha gave birth to her                 catastrophes and they were soon sleeping on
ing. Casework is one of the lowest-paying,         daughter, both she and her husband were                rooftops. But their fortunes were about to
highest stress, most thankless jobs in public      addicted to cocaine and barely able to care for        change. On January 13, 1995, two years after
service. In addition, some don’t encourage their   their 18-month-old son. Soon after she deliv-          their children were removed, the Delapenhas
caseworkers to put a high priority on tracking     ered, Delapehna tested positive for drugs. Both        found their way to a multi-service drop-in cen-
down services for birth parents. (See “Rushing     children were removed by child welfare offi-           ter run by the Grand Central Partnership
Roulette,” page. 8)                                cials.                                                     It helped them get temporary shelter, and
    “In New York State, we’ve never seen an            Drug addiction is one of the most common           introduced them to social workers who were
aggressive use of these services,” says Martin     reasons the city takes away kids. According to         focused on their needs.Within three months
Guggenheim, professor of clinical law at the       state and federal law, the family was entitled to      they had both cleaned up and had begun tak-
New York University School of Law and a            be referred to a drug treatment program.               ing steps to re-establish a home. “It’s the thing
national expert on children’s and parents’ rights.     Technically, that’s exactly what they got—         that saved our lives,” says Ms. Delapenha.
“There’s a myth that we’re trying too hard to      and nothing more. “I was given two tokens and              But it was too late to save their family. On
help parents. But we have not tried hard           a piece of paper with the name of a treatment          September 17th, 1995, a Family Court judge
                                                                                                          terminated their parental rights. “It was the
                                                                                                          most horrifying experience we’ve ever been
   Finally, Families Are EQUIP-ed                                                                         through,” says Ms. Delapenha, who had main-
                                                                                                          tained a strong attachment to the children
   Last year, Child Welfare Watch reported that the Administration for Children’s Services                through years of regular visits. Now she has no
   favored adoption over family reunification in its new system for rating foster care agencies.          idea where they are—or even whether they
          Thanks to pressure from family advocates, that has changed. Under the new “EQUIP”               were adopted.
   rating system launched this month, returning children quickly to their families is as impor-               The Delapehna case shows just how quickly
   tant as speeding adoptions. EQUIP analyzes the amount of time an agency takes to                       parents can turn their lives around when case-
   achieve reunification and adoption, and counts the proportion of kids who end up later                 workers provide them with consistent, ener-
   returning to foster care.                                                                              getic help. In New York, as in most states, foster
          Previously, agencies were evaluated with the same basic criteria the city uses to               care agencies are required to provide or procure
   score all its contractors; even then, a third received low grades. The new system is set up            services like housing assistance, alcohol and
   to encourage accountability; agencies that score well will get more foster children, while             drug treatment, psychological and family coun-
   low performers will find their caseloads reduced.                                                      seling, medical assistance and help obtaining
          The first version of EQUIP was criticized for favoring adoption-focused agencies over           employment or benefits. But for parents, hook-
   those aggressively attempting to reunify families. In response, ACS reworked its 100-point             ing up with effective services is a matter of
   scale. Speedy adoptions and reunifications now each earn an agency a maximum of 10                     chance. Some agencies are competent and
   points.                                                                                                helpful. Others aren’t.
          “[We] place equal emphasis on both adoption and reunification, as both are impor-                   “I’ve seen cases where a kid has been freed
   tant,” ACS administrators wrote in a memo explaining the changes. “In total, adoption and              for adoption, where I know that the maximum
   reunification are weighted equally.”                                                                   amount of work hasn’t been done to keep the

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                                                                       CHILD WELFARE WATCH
    Survey:
                     LITTLE TIME FOR PARENTS: Seven agency administrators say helping parents get services
                              they need is their second-lowest priority. Paperwork is job number one.



  Everyone agrees that the quality—and quantity—of casework on behalf               care. “You’re sanctioned if you don’t get services to the child, but if you don’t
  of parents is crucial if birth families are to be given a fair chance to get      go with a parent to a drug treatment program you won’t get into trouble.”
  their kids back.                                                                      Arranging visitations—another key to reuniting families—was also a
      ACS Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta marked this idea in boldface              fairly low priority, averaging about 15 percent of caseworker hours.
  when he sent his ASFA implementation guidelines to private foster care                Several administrators were also quick to point out that dealing with
  agencies last March. “Agencies have an obligation to make and docu-               parents was probably the most difficult and complicated job their staff
  ment their diligent efforts to...strengthen the parental relationship,” he        were charged with. “The parents are not up-front with us,” one of them
  wrote. “An agency’s failure to make diligent efforts is a breach of its obli-     commented. “They’re ashamed they’ve gotten involved with this system.”
  gations under the Social Services Law and of its contract with ACS.”                  Five out of the seven administrators said that paperwork was the
      But that mandate doesn’t necessarily jibe with current practice. In           most time-consuming activity—with the average respondent estimating
  conjunction with the Bedford-Stuyvesant Child Welfare Task Force, Child           that pen-and-paper chores ate up a third of caseworker hours. One fos-
  Welfare Watch conducted an informal survey of seven administrators at             ter care director said she figured about 40 percent of her staff’s time
  foster care agencies last December to find out how much time case-                was spent on filling reports, but that the figure she admitted "would be
  workers actually spend helping birth parents get the services they need.          closer to 50 percent if everything was up to date."
      (The agencies canvassed were chosen to represent the system as a                  One point each administrator stressed was that competition for case-
  whole. They are located in Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan, and range              worker hours was fierce and unpredictable. Court appearances while
  in size from a few dozen kids to nearly a thousand. One of the agencies           only sporadic, often swallow two to three days of a caseworker’s time.
  deals exclusively with adolescents in congregate care. All respondents                Caseworkers are also prey to emergencies that crop up in their
  were promised anonymity to encourage candor.)                                     clients’ lives—a child’s illness, a parent’s loss of benefits, interruptions of
      Next to staff trainings, caseworkers spent the fewest hours working           checks to foster parents or conflicts that flare up between any of the
  with birth parents. Parent assistance consumed from five to 20 percent            people involved in a case.
  of a caseworker’s average work week.                                                  "When a crisis comes up the caseworker has to stop everything to
      “Bio-parents are virtually an afterthought,” said one director of foster      deal with it," said one agency director.




Parents Can’t Always              get   What They Need (continued)

family together,” admits the adoption director            And the process was invariably haunted by             they needed most. Not surprisingly, drug and
of a large foster care agency in Brooklyn.            other issues that made the casework even                  alcohol abuse was the number one issue, affect-
“Everybody knows it’s a problem.”                     more difficult to cope with: Parents were                 ing 34 percent of the families in the survey.
    The problem isn’t new, but never before has       poor, their entitlements kept them living                 Other services parents wanted included parent-
the law been so unforgiving to parents. ASFA          below the poverty level and their housing sit-            ing courses, domestic violence counseling and
does contain a provision allowing agencies to         uation was often tenuous.                                 housing assistance.
pull kids off the termination track if parents            Parents interviewed by Child Welfare Watch                “ACS, of course, cannot focus on all of these
haven’t been getting adequate services. But           tell a similar story, of service referrals that are       complex needs at once,” the study’s authors
there’s a big catch: In order for this to happen,     often rushed and seldom pursued. In 1994,                 concluded. “We start by focusing on what is
an agency lawyer must voluntarily submit a            Tonya B. voluntarily placed her four children in          most important and what is most achievable.
statement in court admitting their failure. “It       foster care so she could deal with her heavy              We start with housing.” Since then, ACS has
won’t happen,” one attorney told CWW.                 drinking.Tonya’s agency caseworker did give               pledged to give more funds to agencies to
   But those service-delivery failures are not        her a substance abuse referral—but it was to a            strengthen their housing advocacy and support
that uncommon, according to the annual                program that didn’t accept alcoholics.Two years           services, start up a new housing advocacy office
“Child Welfare Score Card” put out each year          later,Tonya found her own alcohol treatment               run jointly by ACS and the city Human
by Public Advocate Mark Green’s Child                 program, according to her lawyer, Catherine               Resources Administration.
Planning and Advocacy Now (C-Plan) office.            Ivers of Brooklyn Legal Services. She’s been                  One area the city apparently hasn’t targeted
In its 1998 analysis, the office substantiated 257    alcohol-free since starting the program and               for improvement is the need for increased
parent complaints against contract agencies and       her children are now in the process of being              mental health services for families, a service
the city. In two-thirds of these cases, parents       released back to her.                                     that many believe is crucial—especially in cases
told Green’s office that contract agencies had            ACS’s new neighborhood-based services                 where older kids come into conflict with par-
failed to provide adequate assistance to parents.     plan, which has been launched in the Bronx                ents.“You’d be amazed at the cases where it did-
About half the time, the analysis found, the          and will be phased in citywide throughout the             n’t occur to anyone to recommend family ther-
problems stemmed from caseworkers’ “lack of           city later this year, is designed to make it easier       apy,” says Lauren Shapiro, another attorney at
knowledge of procedures and policy, inadequate        for agencies to hook parents up with service              Brooklyn Legal Services.
attention to follow-up, lack of availability, lost    providers. In the course of designing the new                 Brooklyn Family Court Judge Philip Segal,
records or files, negative attitudes and commu-       system, ACS surveyed 333 parents in the Bronx             who also believes in the value of counseling,
nication problems.”                                   and Staten Island to determine what services              told CWW that he has seen cases drag on for
                                                                                                                                                continued on page 13
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Insider’s View:                                                         CHILD WELFARE WATCH



     Agency
       Administrators
For Hurting Parents,
    Not Much “Hand-Holding”




l
LAST DECEMBER, CHILD WELFARE                           that ASFA doesn’t mean at 15 months you                  site—that can be done by someone else, too.
Watch researcher Peggy Farber spoke with two           must take a parent’s rights away. If they’re not         CWW: Is caseworker turnover still a problem?
case managers at Harlem Dowling-Westside               making significant progress and you don’t see it
Center for Children and Family Services, a             in the next six months you may need to con-              DW:Yes.We try very hard to maintain our staff,
large Manhattan-based foster care agency, to           sider [filing a petition for termination of              but we can’t change the child welfare system,
discuss the impact of ASFA on their already-           parental rights].We have parents at 15 months            the rules, the regulations, the paperwork, the
strained case management staff. Harlem-                who are engaged in a drug treatment program,             pay. It burns people out.
Dowling is one of the most pro-adoption                and we think the kids will go home—in those
agencies in New York. More than 43 percent of          cases, we’re not looking to terminate.                   CWW: Parents who have their kids taken away
its 600-plus foster children have been placed on                                                                are, by definition, in bad shape. Many have drug
the adoption track, state records show.This is         CWW: Are there instances where terminations              problems, many lose their government benefits,
10 percent above the city-wide average.What            occur because the birth mother hasn’t been               many are confused or depressed. Shouldn’t the
follows is an excerpt from Farber’s talk with          given a real chance to get the help she needs?           caseworker be spending a lot more time help-
agency adoption director Barry Chaffkin and                                                                     ing birth parents through these hard times?
Dorothy Worrell, the deputy executive direc-           DW: At any agency, you could find a particular
tor in charge of foster care.                          case that was mishandled. Maybe that worker              DW: In the past, workers have made phone or
                                                       didn’t do what they should have done. In the             letter referrals [without escorting the mother].
CWW:What impact will ASFA have on your                 defense of caseworkers, you really have to take          It depends on your caseload. It’s preferable if I
agency?                                                a look at what we are asking our workers to              go with the mother, sit with her for two hours
                                                       do.                                                      and make sure she doesn’t go out and use
BC:With the new ASFA laws, we’re constantly                                                                     drugs.
assessing a way to find permanency for that            CWW: How can you better use the casework-
child beyond just working with the mother on           ers you have?                                            BC: Although it’s nice to be able to go with
her issues.We’re asking: Is there a grandmother,                                                                someone and hold their hand, it’s not required
an aunt, or the birth father who could be used         DW: First, I’m not going to tell you I have as           or necessary.We would put the responsibility
as a resource? Realistically, some of our parents      many caseworkers as I need....There are tasks            on [the mother] to do it. At some point the
have been abusing substances for many, many            that should be handled by others—so cases                parents need to take responsibility—these are
years.They’re not going to get their kids home         don’t fall through the cracks. Clearly, giving a         adults who have to parent children. If you’re
in a year or a year-and-a-half.                        parent a referral for services can be done by            unable to go around the corner and sign an
                                                       someone [other than a caseworker]. Making                application, how are you going to be able to
DW:The thing I want to clearly emphasize is            sure a parent actually gets to the treatment             help your child get through school, how are


                                                                    UNJUST VISITING
If a parent wants to get a child out of foster care, the most important tool is     of social workers because they have to arrange for everybody to be in the
also the most obvious: access to the child.                                         same place at once. A lot of caseworkers don’t have the time.”
    ASFA, with its focus on speeding terminations of parental rights, makes              Many agencies are also understandably reluctant to allow visits in cases
timely visitations crucial. If parents aren’t given the chance to repair bonds      involving allegations of abuse or severe neglect. Their caution, however, is
with their kids early on, they may never get the chance again. The meetings         sometimes excessive. In July 1998, Cynthia F. had kicked her drug habit and
also let caseworkers gauge whether parents are ready to be reunified with           was about to start unsupervised visits with her two toddlers—a final step
their children.                                                                     toward the family’s eventual reunification. Suddenly, her caseworker with-
    Yet, in interviews with agency staff and legal advocates for parents, Child     drew the offer of visitation. When Cynthia demanded to know why, the case-
Welfar Watch found that it’s common for caseworkers to give parents no              worker explained that the youngest boy cried every time he left his foster
more than the state-mandated minimum—one visit every two weeks. “Many               mother. Vogelstein, Cynthia’s lawyer, protested the decision and the agency
parents just get the minimum required by law,” says Lynn Vogelstein, who            backed down. Recently, the children were returned to Cynthia’s care.
represents parents at Brooklyn Legal Services. This makes reunification                  Still, Cynthia estimates the visitation delay added two months to the boy’s
almost impossible. But it’s really not necessary, in the vast majority of cases,    time in foster care. The whole experience “was like being under a micro-
to limit the visitation.”                                                           scope,” she says. “And the visits went by so fast. The baby screamed the
    Often families don’t even get the biweekly visits: A 1997 analysis con-         entire hour. As soon as I got settled in, it was time to leave.”
ducted in connection with the Marisol v. Giuliani lawsuit found that 57 per-        The problem, says Vogelstein, was that the caseworker saw the toddler’s
cent of children studied saw their parents less than the legal minimum.             reaction as a warning sign—not as an indication that the family needed more
    “For the most part, visitation is underutilized or poorly utilized,” says       time together to heal.
Boston College social work professor Anthony Maluccio, who has studied                   “A child’s reaction to the visit is often used as a reason not to provide vis-
the role of visitation in child welfare.” The fiscal constraints agencies face      its,” says Vogelstein. “There’s very little understanding that the child is in a
                                                                                    very difficult situation and maybe needs more contact with the parents.”
clearly get in the way. Visitation requires a lot of time and effort on the part
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                                                                      CHILD WELFARE WATCH




     Fingerprinting:




n
                    Bad
              RapSheets

  NEW YORK’S NEW PARENT FINGER-                         on trial for one of these offenses, the foster       the unidentified woman—known by the
  printing program is one of the toughest in the        care or adoption application is postponed            pseudonym “Gwendolyn Grant” in court
  nation. Maybe it’s a little too tough.                until the case is resolved.                          papers—pleaded guilty to killing her abusive
      New York State’s hard-line version of the             The provision that makes the New York            boyfriend in self-defense.
  federal law calls for children to be immedi-          law so tough is this: Any person over the age           She completed three years of probation,
  ately removed from foster parents that have           of 18 in these households must also submit to and has since led a law-abiding life, working
  serious criminal records. Critics charge that         the screening. But, to the surprise of some          as a dental assistant. For the past eight years,
  it’s too inflexible, and too hard on law-abid-        Assembly Democrats, the GOP-controlled               she has been caring for her nieces. Citing her
  ing parents. It also requires every adult mem-        State Senate insisted that the over-18 provi-        “excellent” care of the children, Judge Segal
  ber of a household seeking to adopt a child           sion of the law only applies to families that                      ruled that the law should not
  to be fingerprinted, while only the potential         want to adopt children out of foster                                        prevent Grant from
  parents get fingerprinted in non-foster care          care. Families that are adopting                    FINDING:                    adopting the girls.
  situations. That stigmatizes many black and           children outside of the foster                                                        Agency execu-
  Hispanic parents while giving many white              care system aren’t subject to         Fingerprinting foster parents and             tives say the
  parents a free pass, critics say.                     the indignity of finger-            adoptive parents seems like common Grant case isn’t
      But the most surprising aspect of this law        printing.                                                                            an isolated inci-
  may be how few criminals it’s actually                    It may sound like a triv-          sense. But New York’s strict new              dent. Willie
  caught. As of November 1999, the dragnet              ial difference, but it has big                                                      Wren, executive
  had snared a total of 100 people, less than           consequences. The majority of          criminal background checks raise director of Miracle
  one percent of the 11,000 foster care parents         families that adopt children from              some basic questions.            Makers, a Brooklyn-
  screened, according to data obtained from             the foster care system are black or                                        based agency with about
  ACS.                                                  Hispanic; white families do most of the non-                      1,000 children in foster care, has
      And some of those felons, ACS reports,            foster care adoptions. The law, critics say, rais-   seen numerous cases where ex-criminals have
  have turned out to be perfectly fine parents          es a basic issue of racial fairness. In fact, 90     made good foster or adoptive parents—only
  who may deserve to keep their kids.                   percent of the adoptive mothers in New York          to have their kids plucked away. Wren feels
      When it was passed in 1997, ASFA gave             City are black or Hispanic, according to state       that “a case-by-case examination is in the best
  each state the option of creating a finger-           data.                                                interest of children and families.”
  printing system to perform criminal back-                 “This is typical of the two-tiered system           The city agrees. City child welfare com-
  ground checks on all current foster parents           that is a reality of adoption services in New        missioner Nicholas Scoppetta is drafting a bill
  and prospective adoptive parents. In February         York,” says Sania Metzger, chief-of-staff for        that would adopt exactly that approach. “[We]
  1999, New York State opted for the toughest           Assemblyman Roger Green, chairman of the             would give the court discretion in deciding
  fingerprinting rule possible, setting up a            Children and Families Committee.                     what is in the child’s best interest in these
  “one-strike-and-you’re-out” system.                       More significantly, some former criminals        types of exceptional cases,” says Jennifer Falk,
      The crimes warranting automatic exclu-            also happen to be exceptional parents. As a          Scoppetta’s spokesperson.
  sion include child abuse or neglect, spousal          result, the automatic ban is being challenged           In the meantime, across-the-board finger-
  abuse and violent crimes such as rape, sexual         on several fronts.                                   printing goes on unchecked, with results that
  assault or homicide. Offenders identified                 Last fall, Kings County Family Court             sometimes border on the absurd. “Just the
  through the fingerprinting system have their          Judge Philip Segal ruled that a 53-year old          other day, we had to fingerprint an elderly,
  rap sheets sent to the foster care agency,            Brooklyn woman had the right to apply to             bed-ridden woman,” says Debra Fishkin,
  which is required to immediately remove any           adopt her four young nieces, despite a 20-           adoption director for St. Joseph Services for
  foster care children in their care. If a parent is    year old manslaughter conviction. In 1979,           Children and Families, a Brooklyn-based child


Parents Can’t Always              get   What They Need (continued)
months because agencies have failed to make            ent at about half of the Service Plan Review        complex human problems are usually young
the necessary referrals, even after he requested       conferences held between parents and case-          and inexperienced, enduring air-traffic-con-
it. “Family therapy is a basic tool,” he says. “But    workers, a significant increase over years past.    troller pressure for a salary that typically starts
sometimes it’s very hard to get, and that will         And the institution of a more intensive case        at about $21,000 a year. Caseworker turnover
delay cases for months. It’s a real problem.”          conferencing system, 72 hours after a child is      at private agencies is 39 percent a year,
Still, the city has increased its commitment to        removed is supposed to increase the likeli-         according to a 1997 survey conducted by the
monitoring the quality of service planning on          hood that a parent gets the help he or she          Council of Family and Child Caring
behalf of parents. According to the panel              needs.                                              Agencies.
overseeing the settlement in the Marisol vs.              Unfortunately, the caseworkers charged              That, in part, is also why Lucille
Giuliani lawsuit, ACS managers are now pres-           with the job of diagnosing and fixing these         Delapenha lost her kids. “Our case went
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                                                                 CHILD WELFARE WATCH



Book Review:
     Nobody’s
               Children:
      Abuse and Neglect, Foster Care Drift and the Adoption Alternative
           by Elizabeth Bartholet, 1999, Beacon Press



By Martin Guggenheim                               currently a surplus of black or Hispanic chil-     that children who are abused and neglected,
                                                   dren who need adoptive homes and a surplus         children who are growing up in foster and
                                                   of infertile white couples desperate to adopt.     group homes, are . . . victims.”
ONE OF THE CORE VALUES IN CHILD                    Get these two groups together, she says, and          Unfortunately, Nobody’s Children is flawed
welfare has always been that children should,      you have solved the nation’s entire foster care    on many levels. First, the book distorts the
whenever possible, remain with their biologi-      crisis in one elegant swoop.                       true picture of foster care by overstating the
cal families.                                          These are not voluntary adoptions she is       rate of child abuse and understating the
    In Nobody’s Children, Elizabeth Bartholet, a   calling for: most of the kids would be taken       degree to which poverty plays a role in child
well-known professor at Harvard Law                over parents’ objections, through terminations     welfare. Second, the book greatly exaggerates
School, attacks that notion with a vengeance.      of parental rights. By any measure, calling for    the degree to which agencies strive to assist




                  ”
    Bartholet, one of the country’s most           the immediate adoption of several hundred          families in need.
prominent advocates for interracial adoption,                                                            Finally, the book’s call for wealthy
contends that caseworkers and judges subject                                                          Americans to demonstrate a concern for the
children to extreme hardship by too fre-                Bartholet says there’s a                      children who end up in foster care, though
quently choosing to leave them with their                                                             perfectly appropriate, doesn’t come close to a
families rather than placing them in foster            “blood bias” in favor of                       significant solution for the system’s real prob-
care.                                                 birth parents. She’s wrong.                     lems.
    At the core of her argument lies this                                                                The only assistance she recommends they
assumption: the operating principle of cur-                                                           provide is to adopt other people’s children.
rent child welfare practice “holds that so long    thousand children over their parents’ objec-          The title gives the flaw in her argument




                                                                                                 ”
as the parent is guilty of nothing more than       tions is a very radical proposal, and Bartholet    away.When Bartholet attempts to call foster
poverty, or homelessness, or other victimiza-      has the good sense to acknowledge it.              kids Nobody’s Children, she’s got it wrong. It is
tion by societal injustice, they will not be       “Taking adoption seriously would involve a         important that we never forget that these
found in violation of abuse and neglect laws.”     revolution in thinking and practice,” she          children have families which, with the proper
As a consequence, she asserts, virtually the       writes. “It’s a revolution that is needed if we    commitment, can raise them well.
only children who end up in foster care need       care about children’s well-being, rather than
to be there in order to be protected from          simply about their survival.”                      Martin Guggenheim is director of Clinical and
serious maltreatment. Kids languish in foster         To anyone familiar with the demographics        Advocacy Programs at the New York University
care for long periods of time, Bartholet says,     of the child welfare system, the racial and
because officials are reluctant to terminate       class implications of Bartholet’s proposals will
parental rights. All of these mistakes, she con-   be immediately apparent.The children adopt-               CORRECTION:
cludes, can be attributed to the system’s          ed in her new system would be dispropor-                  The Summer 1999 issue of Child
“blood bias” towards birth parents.                tionately poor and non-white—while most                   Welfare Watch incorrectly stated that
    Bartholet proposes a simple solution to        of the individuals who seek to adopt children             New York Foundling Hospital had
the huge number of children currently in           would be upper-class and white.                           not yet set up community-based foster
foster care in the United States. Recognizing         Perhaps most significantly, Bartholet also             care programs.This was incorrect; New
that these children are overwhelmingly non-        advocates eliminating systemic preferences for            York Foundling has programs in place.
white, she advocates abolishing all barriers to    placing children with parents of their own                Child Welfare Watch regrets the error.
the adoption of foster children of color by        race. In her words, “we need to recognize
white couples. She points out that there is



                                                        ROBERT LANGDON LITTLE
                                                             (1938-1999)

Former state child welfare commissioner Robert Langdon Little—               1993 appearance before the New York City Council.
Malcolm X’s brother—died of lymphoma on Nov. 23, 1999. He was 61.               Little, like his famous brother, spent much of his youth in foster
    Little, a native of Lansing, Michigan, was the city’s top welfare        care, and left the system committed to making the experience bet-
official from December 1990 to January 1994. Over a distin-                  ter for the children who followed in his footsteps. “The challenge is
guished 30-year career, Little was a passionate advocate for fami-           to take a system that many people believe is beyond repair and
ly preservation, kinship foster care and keeping siblings together           repair it and alter it in ways that result in better child care,” he told
during their stay in the system. “We believe that children grow              the New York Times in 1990. ”I’ve been called a dreamer...but I am
best in the context of their own family,” he said in a December              a believer.”

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                                                                                           CHILD WELFARE WATCH



       Watching                                                                                                                 A six-year statistical survey
                    the                                                                                                         monitoring New York City’s
     Numbers                                                                                                                    child welfare system.




1 Protective Services                                                                                       FY ’94   FY ’95   FY ’96      FY ’97        FY ’98   FY ’99
    A.Reports of abuse and neglect                                                                          49,129   47,591   52,994      53,567        57,732   54,673
       # of abuse and neglect reports are down after reaching a six-year high
    B. Reports substantiated (%)                                                                            29.2     25.1     33          35.6          35.6     36.9
       More than one-third of all reports were substantiated by child protection workers
    C. Pending rate                                                                                         7.6      6.3      6.5         7.3           7.3      7.8
       # of new cases assigned each month to each child protective caseworker climbed
    D. Average child protective caseload                                                                    21.7     19.6     24.1        16.8          13.7     12.8
       average # of protective caseloads continued to drop
    E. Number of child protective workers                                                                   718      711      882         909           862      979
       average # of caseworkers rose significantly in FY ’99
    F. Child fatalities in cases known to ACS                                                               25       27       24          30            36       DNA


2 Preventive Services
    A. Families receiving services (cumulative)                                                             28,383   27,726   27,660      25,525        26,216   27,124
       # of families receiving preventive services increased over the last 3 years
    B. New families receiving services (active)                                                             13,675   13,156   13,172      13,026        13,012   13,165
       new families receiving services remained the same
    C. Referrals from ACS (%)                                                                               36       34       32          40            42       43
       % of new families receiving preventive service referals climbed slightly


3 Foster Care Services
    A. Number of children admitted                                                                          9,022    7,949    8,912       11,453        12,000   11,000
       # of children admitted to foster care dropped by 8% in FY ’99
    B. Number discharged                                                                                    11,592   12,057   11,928      13,300        13,157   11,200
       # of children leaving foster care dropped
    C. Total foster care population                                                                         46,855   43,484   42,008      41,771        40,909   38,440
       six-year foster care population decline continued
    D. Average years spent in foster care                                                                   3.86     4.14     4.42        4.28          4.00     4.01
       average length of time spent in foster care declined
    E. Children with reunification goal (%) (calendar year)                                                 51.1     46.8     44.7        47.1          50.9     53.9
       more than one-half of children in foster care are scheduled to return home
    F. Percentage of siblings separated (calendar year)                                                     51       50       48          49            51       54
       total # of separated brothers and sisters continued to rise
    G. Recidivism rate (%) (calendar year)                                                                  12       13       13          11            12       11
       rate of re-entry into the foster care system remained roughly the same
    H. Percentage of foster children in kinship care (%)                                                    42.7     41.5     46.1        36.1          33       29.9
       decline in the # of children placed with extended family continued
    I. Children placed with contract agencies (%)                                                           DNA      68.7     69.4        70.8          74.9     81.0
       % of children placed with contract agencies is up substantially


4 Adoption Services
    A. Children with adoption as a goal (%) (calendar year)                                                 40       43.4     44.6        42.1          36.0     33.8
       % of children with adoption as a goal declined to a five-year low
    B. Finalized adoptions                                                                                  2,312    3,665    3,666       4,009         3,848    3,806
       finalized adoptions decreased slightly
    C. Children with slow adoption progress (%) (calendar year)                                             DNA      58.2     60.4        62.7          60.7     53.2
      ACS continues to improve the #s of children reaching adoption milestone goals


All numbers above reported in NYC fiscal years unless otherwise indicated. DNA means data not available.
Sources: FY 1999 Mayor’s Management Report,
New York State Office of Children and Family Services Monitoring and Analysis Profiles.


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                                                                    CHILD WELFARE WATCH


 Center for an
 Urban
Future
                                                  120 Wall St., 20th fl
                                                      NY, NY 10005
                                                       (212) 479-3353
                                                                                   David Tobis, Child Welfare Fund, Chair
                                                                                   Barbara Blum, National Center for Children
                                                                                       in Poverty
                                                                                   Dottie Conway, Child Welfare Action Center             Advisory Board
                                                                                   Mario Drummonds, Northern Manhattan Perinatal Partnership
                                                                                                                                               ww
                                                                                                                                             CHILD WELFARE WATCH




The Center for an Urban Future, the sister organization of City
                                                                                   James Dumpson, New York Community Trust
Limits magazine, is committed to incubating and promoting proac-
                                                                                   Julius C. C. Edelstein, The New York Forum
tive public policies that are affordable, practical and humane. It gives
community leaders and on-the-ground practitioners a vehicle for
                                                                                   Edythe First
sharing ideas and experiences with a wider audience.                               Marty Guggenheim, New York University School of Law
                                                                                   Keith Hefner, New Youth Connections
                                                                                   Albert Herbert, Lower East Side Family Union
The                                           c/o Julius C.C. Edelstein            Berny Horowitz, Consultant
New York                                                Hunter College,            Sandra Jimenez, Bronx Family Central
Forum                                                 695 Park Avenue
                                                         NY, NY 10021
                                                                                   William Kornblum, Professor of Sociology, CUNY
                                                                                   Betsy Krebs, Youth Advocacy Center
                                                       (212) 772-4224              Madeline Kurtz, New York University School of Law
                                                                                   Trude Lash
The New York Forum is an assembly of New Yorkers dedicated to
the proposition that urban problems need to be re-thought and                      Gary Mallon, Green Chimneys Children’s Services
re-examined. All channels of public education need to be                           Luis Medina, St. Christopher’s, Inc.
employed in pursuit of new solutions and improvements, along                       Lawrence Murray, Center on Addiction & Substance Abuse
with a series of think-tank task forces and public forums.                         Kim Nauer, City Limits and the Center for an Urban Future
                                                                                   Edward Richardson, Bronx Family Central
                                                                                   Sharonne Salaam, People United for Children
Child                   c/o The Center for the Study of Family Policy
                                                                                   Esmeralda Simmons, Center for Law and Social Justice
Welfare                              Hunter College, Room 1036 East                Andrew White, J.M. Kaplan Center for New York City Affairs
Fund                                                 695 Park Avenue
                                                        NY, NY 10021
                                                                                   Fred Wulczyn, Columbia University School of Social Work
                                                      (212) 772-5548               This issue of the Child Welfare Watch was funded by the Hite Foundation
                                                                                   with ongoing support from the Child Welfare Fund. Produced by City Limits
The Child Welfare Fund is interested in supporting projects to                     Community Information Service, Inc., publisher of City Limits, New York’s urban
implement the recommendations in the Child Welfare Watch.                          affairs news magazine, and the City Limits Weekly fax and e-mail bulletin. For more
Please contact the Child Welfare Fund for application guidelines.                  information, please call (212) 479-3344.
                                                                                   Design Director: Dayna Elefant




 Center for an Urban Future
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