Title

Reunification and Foster Care: Is it Always Best to Put Humpty Dumpty Back Together Again?

Lead Author Major

Business

Format

Oral Presentation

Faculty Mentor Name

John Myers

Faculty Mentor Department

Law

Abstract/Artist Statement

America’s Foster Care system is in crisis. It is not uncommon for a child to be removed from a neglectful family only to be reunited before the parents have changed their lifestyles. The result is an emotionally destructive revolving door for children. They either face lack of stability in foster care or an unhealthy home environment. Parental drug addiction is often involved in these cases, and is also often a cause of the inability to function as a nurturing parent. Often, the rights of children and parents are weighed against each other in matters of reunification and custody. It is a battle between the child’s right to be permanently removed from an unhealthy environment, and a parent’s right to maintain custody of his or her children. This study combed through numerous foster care and social science research journals, as well as books on parental rights and foster care history in order to find an alternative that correctly balances the rights of parents and children. Several of the sources were conflicting in opinion as to the degree of which reunification should be stressed and attempted. An analysis of these materials yielded the possibility of the following compromise: When a child enters the system, a parent should be given a limited number of reunification attempts, possibly no more than one or two. Parents should also be provided with the ability to receive the best rehabilitation services possible in order to better facilitate rehabilitation. However, in the occurrence of relapse, parental rights should be revoked. This alternative may give parents the best support and cause to change; it also eliminates parents who are unwilling to change their lifestyle to better provide for their children. This project adds to the discussion of reunification and parental rights, and serves to suggest a possible solution to the dilemma of reunification.

Location

DeRosa University Center, Room 213

Start Date

21-4-2012 9:00 AM

End Date

21-4-2012 12:00 PM

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Apr 21st, 9:00 AM Apr 21st, 12:00 PM

Reunification and Foster Care: Is it Always Best to Put Humpty Dumpty Back Together Again?

DeRosa University Center, Room 213

America’s Foster Care system is in crisis. It is not uncommon for a child to be removed from a neglectful family only to be reunited before the parents have changed their lifestyles. The result is an emotionally destructive revolving door for children. They either face lack of stability in foster care or an unhealthy home environment. Parental drug addiction is often involved in these cases, and is also often a cause of the inability to function as a nurturing parent. Often, the rights of children and parents are weighed against each other in matters of reunification and custody. It is a battle between the child’s right to be permanently removed from an unhealthy environment, and a parent’s right to maintain custody of his or her children. This study combed through numerous foster care and social science research journals, as well as books on parental rights and foster care history in order to find an alternative that correctly balances the rights of parents and children. Several of the sources were conflicting in opinion as to the degree of which reunification should be stressed and attempted. An analysis of these materials yielded the possibility of the following compromise: When a child enters the system, a parent should be given a limited number of reunification attempts, possibly no more than one or two. Parents should also be provided with the ability to receive the best rehabilitation services possible in order to better facilitate rehabilitation. However, in the occurrence of relapse, parental rights should be revoked. This alternative may give parents the best support and cause to change; it also eliminates parents who are unwilling to change their lifestyle to better provide for their children. This project adds to the discussion of reunification and parental rights, and serves to suggest a possible solution to the dilemma of reunification.