07 Dec Why was the Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) unconstitutional??
The Adoption and Safe Families Act was designed to quickly take away a parents’ legal custody of their child so the child could be adopted out by a foster family. However, it failed to grant parents more protections, like jury trial rights. A reduction of a constitutional right is supposed to be “narrowly tailored” or proportional (big constitutional right? then small restrictions). ASFA was one sided. It took away fundamental, liberty interest, constitutional family rights to the “care, control, and companionship” of and with a minor child….in a fatal blow. In return, it didn’t give protections, like jury trial rights, for parents to keep legal rights to their own child. You are probably aware that Congress (laws) and POTUS (executive orders) pass things all the time without running them by SCOTUS first to see if they are constitutional. Your state is most likely just as guilty of this as the Feds are.
One of California Judge Hector Ramon biggest concerns, before he retired, was that juveniles were brought into (essentially) criminal court and given adult sentences without adult protections (jury trial rights). ASFA did essentially the same thing. It brought parents into court and gave them terrible sentences, the loss of a child (aka as #TPR, termination of parental rights) without a corresponding due process protection of jury trial rights.
In addition, California is the only state that still uses a low standard of evidence to #TPR a parent, the “Best interest of the Child” disguised as “fair” preponderance of the evidence. Thus, California was the worst state offender when it implemented AFSA without giving parents a proportional protection of jury trial rights.
ASFA also failed because the #DoGooders didn’t have the goods to back it up in their fantasy land. The #DoGooders didn’t have enough loving, caring, respectful, responsible adoptive families. “[ASFA’s] financial incentives have disrupted families permanently by the speedy termination of parental rights, without the accompanying move from foster care to adoptive homes,” said Texas Tech University law professor DeLeith Gossett, in a report published in 2018 by the Memphis Law Review. “The programs that the Adoption and Safe Families Act govern, thwart its very purpose, as children continue to languish in foster care waiting for permanent adoptive homes, often until they age out of the system into negative life outcomes.” She also stated that “ASFA was blamed for leaving a lot of children as orphans and that certainly wasn’t the intention of ASFA.”
Well, this is coming from someone in Texas. DeLeith lived in Texas. Texas is the only state that already had jury trial right protections in place (family AND juvenile dependency courts) when ASFA was implemented. Only Texas had jury trial rights in its family and juvenile dependency courts to counteract ASFA’s affects on their families and to prevent #UGI (unwarranted governmental interference) in families. Image the damage to the rest of families in all other states if this was the damage being done to Texas families when ASFA was implemented.
Too many children in California wrongly had their parents’ custodial rights terminated because of ASFA and their lives destroyed after being separated from adults who loved them.
Also, far too many of California’s children that landed up with supposedly “fit” adoptive “parents” (instead of foster parents) were actually placed back up for “second chance adoptions” or privately sold them to someone else. This is even after the adoptive “parents” were being paid a continuous monthly amount to care for these children (after adoption).
ASFA amended Title IV-E of the federal Social Security Act which reimburses the State of California for complying with it. The newly signed Family First Prevention Services Act also reimburses the State of California but this time for placing children with relatives. Three years later, California still hasn’t fully adopted it. As long as California still gets ASFA reimbursements to separate children from their families, it will continue doing so. However the Family First Prevention Services Act is still working. Over 13 million grandchildren are being raise by their grandparents and the presumption (by law) is that these grandparents act in these children’s “best interest”. It is estimated that these grandparents are saving taxpayers over $6 billion a year just by keeping them out of the expensive foster care system. That doesn’t even begin to compare with the hope we have that these grandparents might be able to reverse the generational damage already done to our nation’s children by the “family” and juvenile dependency courts.
Who helped to pass ASFA? The First Lady, or FLOTUS, Hillary Clinton, who was previously a lawyer in a private law firm. She met with the Association of Family and Conciliation Court, the AFCC net of colluding judges, attorneys, minor counsel, social workers, psychologist, etc.. Everyone who would ultimately get most of the ASFA funding. She was pivotal for getting ASFA passed through Congress and served as the honorary chairperson of the AFCC Second World Congress less than four years later. Thankfully, it appears as if Chelsea Clinton has stopped supporting the AFCC. #NoAFCC.