Collaborating With Courts to Achieve Permanency
Every young person deserves to feel connected and know they belong to a family. When a child enters the foster care system, reunifying the child with his or her family is the preferred permanency option whenever that can be safely achieved. In those cases where reunification is not possible, adoption is viewed as providing the greatest degree of permanence for a child.
The courts play a key role within the child welfare system in helping children achieve permanency. “The child welfare system is much larger than the child welfare agency alone,” as David Kelley, special assistant to the Associate Commissioner of the Children’s Bureau noted in the December 2018/January 2019 Children’s Bureau Express article “Beyond the Table: The Need to Work With Courts and the Legal Community to Improve Child Welfare Outcomes”. Federal laws mandate judicial oversight and involvement to ensure timely, safe, and stable families for children. Child welfare and legal professionals must work together in planning efforts and making decisions for children in foster care. Legal professionals can also play an important role by advocating for children to achieve permanency through adoption or guardianship.
The American Bar Association created the Center on Children and the Law to focus on improving the legal representation and systems that impact children and families. The Center’s Permanency Barriers Project is specifically focused on removing systemic barriers to permanency for children. This can include improving child welfare and court relationships, identifying delays in the legal process and recommending reforms, and proving state-specific training to all involved parties. Ultimately, when child welfare professionals and legal professionals collaborate, children are better able to move through the system into permanent, loving homes.
3 Resources to Support Collaborating With Courts to Achieve Permanency
For more information, visit at https://www.childwelfare.gov.
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