Monday, November 21, 2022

NCCPR news and commentary round-up – special Harm of ASFA edition

Saturday marked a tragic milestone – the 25th anniversary of a law that has harmed millions of children, the so-called Adoption and Safe Families Act.  So this week, the round-up is devoted entirely to news, commentary and resources concerning the harm of ASFA. 


● A parent may be sentenced to a relatively short time in prison – but, because of ASFA, for their children it can lead to a life sentence of separation from parents they love.  The PBS NewsHour has an in-depth report. 

Recent commentary: 

● From Prof. Dorothy Roberts of the University of Pennsylvania Law School and author of Shattered Bonds and Torn Apart, the definitive books on family policing and race, in Slate: "The Clinton-Era Adoption Law That Still Devastates Black Families Today."

● From Prof. Sarah Katz, director of the Family Law Litigation Clinic at Temple University, in the Philadelphia Inquirer: “A federal law has been destroying families for 25 years.  Let’s get rid of it.” 

● From Prof. Mical Raz in The Washington Post: “Our adoption policies have harmed families and children.  The Clinton-era Adoption and Safe Families Act passed 25 years ago. It’s time to reexamine its origins.” 

● From Josie Pickens and Dean Alan Dettlaff of the upEND movement, in the Houston Chronicle: “Instead of making children safer … ASFA became yet another means for national and state governments to forcibly and permanently remove Black children from their families through a speedy process of terminating parental rights.” 

● From longtime family defender Diane Redleaf in Reason:The Adoption and Safe Families Act Takes Kids Away From Loving Parents.” 

● And from NCCPR in the Albany, N.Y., Times Union “This law was supposed to protect kids from abuse. It hasn't.” 

Previous commentary: 

● From Prof. Shanta Trivedi, director of the  Sayra and Neil Meyerhoff Center for Families, Children and the Courts at the University of Baltimore, in The Imprint: “Adoption and Safe Families Act is The ‘Crime Bill’ of Child Welfare.” 

● From Kathleen Creamer, managing attorney of the Family Defense Unit at Community Legal Services of Philadelphia and Prof. Chris Gottlieb, director of the New York University School of Law Family Defense Clinic: “If Adoption and Safe Families Act Can’t Be Repealed, Here’s How to At Least Make it Better.” 

Additional resources 

NCCPR’s ASFA resource page, with an overview of the harm the law has done and responses to some of the excuses put forth by ASFA proponents.