what we didn’t learn in our fost-adopt classes

{sorry guys, this is a long one…}

after 6 weeks of fost-adopt classes we felt we had most of the tools, and nearly all of the information regarding fost-adopt. turns out we were wrong. there is soooo much information that we didn’t have as first timers. i’ve received lots of emails asking questions, most of which I can’t really answer, but because of my own questions i’ve been forced to seek answers. luckily, the county agency that we are going through has posted a handbook online here. here’s some basic information about tpr, or termination of parental rights, or the .26 hearing that i’ve referred to before.

 

“366.26 Hearing – Termination of Parental Rights

 

The purpose of the 366.26 hearing is to choose a permanent plan.  The 366.26 hearing is scheduled 120 days after reunification services are stopped.  A permanent plan may be one of two options. The court considers whether to:

·        TPR, as a prelude to adoption

·        Order legal guardianship.

 

DCFS produces a report to help the court choose a permanent plan for the child.  The report contains the following elements:

·        A description of the current search efforts to locate absent parents or guardians;

·        a review of the contact between the child and the parents or extended family;

·        an evaluation of the child’s medical, developmental, scholastic, mental and emotional status;

·        a preliminary assessment of the eligibility and commitment of a prospective adoptive parent or guardian;

·        a description of the relationship of the child to his or her prospective adoptive parent or guardian and

·        the likelihood of adoption if parental rights are terminated.

 

The court will order long term foster care if a child cannot be ordered into adoption or legal guardianship.

 

 

 

Possible Delays in Termination of Parental Rights

 

The Likelihood of Adoption

To avoid the creation of legal orphans many courts in L.A County want to ensure adoption will occur prior to terminating parental rights. This means that in most cases, the court will not declare children legally freed until they are living with caregivers with approved adoption home studies

 

Birth Parent Appeals

Another factor that influences when parental rights are terminated is an appeal by the birth parent. A birth parent can file an appeal up to 60 days after the court terminates parental rights. Parental appeals may take up to a year or more to resolve and no adoption can be finalized until the appeal is over and the parent has not prevailed.

 

Other factors

Some of the other factors that may delay the termination of parental rights are:

·        Hearing notice requirements not met for birth parents or met incorrectly.

·        Identification of a previously unknown birth parent late in the court process.

·        Juvenile court hearing officers use their own discretion supervising their dockets. A hearing officer may decide to delay or not terminate parental rights.”

family reunification was already terminated when j came to live with us. in fact, birth mother’s rights were going to be terminated the day before he came to us, but was put on hold because his foster mother tested positive for drugs, putting everything on hold.

right now we are waiting for termination of parental rights while a home study is conducted on j’s birth mother’s cousin, who has petitioned to adopt him. what we’ve been told works in our favor is:

we do already have an approved home study.

J has already bonded with us.

when j first came to us we were very concerned about his attachment. he pretty much would go to anybody, so we took him to a counselor who recommended that I take time off from work to bond with him (this was how I was able to get around unpaid family leave and use my sick time). now he is definitely attached to us. we are, however, seeing a counselor so that we can get an assessment for the courts. although there isn’t a tool to assess attachment, our counselor plans to observe us in meetings to state his opinion of how j’s attachment to us has progressed. we truly feel it would be detrimental to move him again. yes, we want him to stay with us, but his well-being is first and foremost.

 

keep in mind that any info. i find may be specific to our county and state. we are basically learning as we’re going, and i will share as i learn. if you have any additional information to share, do comment or post and put the link in my comments section. there are lots of people interested in fostering or fost-adopt, and good parents are needed!

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1 Comment

Filed under adoption, foster care

One response to “what we didn’t learn in our fost-adopt classes

  1. Juan

    Hey Kristine,
    Your blog is great–lots of good information in the last post.

    Can you send me an e-mail: j_e_calvo@yahoo.com. I want to share something with you about your blog that someone else who is a foster parent shared with me–Juan

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