urban institute nonprofit social and economic policy research

Forum: Safety, Permanence, and Well-Being: 12 Years of the Adoption and Safe Families Act

Monday, December 14, 2009
9:00-10:45 a.m. ET

This forum/webcast is hosted by the Urban Institute and
the Center for the Study of Social Policy.

Listen to the event

Audio Recording

Panelists:

Olivia Golden
Olivia Golden, institute fellow, Urban Institute and author Reforming Child Welfare

John Mattingly
John Mattingly, commissioner, New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services

Lynn Miller
Lynne Miller, parent advocate, certified visiting coach, and writer for Rise, a magazine by parents affected by the child welfare system

Carmen Nazario
Carmen Nazario, assistant secretary for children and families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Susan Notkin
Susan Notkin, New York director, Center for the Study of Social Policy (moderator)

Nancy Young
Nancy Young, executive director, Children and Family Futures, and director, National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare

The ground-shifting Adoption and Safe Families (ASFA) Act of 1997 was passed in response to growing concerns that child welfare systems across the country were not providing for the safety, permanency, and well-being of abused and neglected children. The ambitious new law aimed to reaffirm the focus on child safety in case decision making and to ensure that children did not languish and grow up in foster care but instead were promptly connected with permanent families. It declared that, in making decisions about foster care and adoption placements, “the child's health and safety shall be the paramount concern.”

A dozen years after passage of this landmark legislation, the Urban Institute and the Center for the Study of Social Policy are publishing a comprehensive retrospective titled "Intentions and Results: A Look Back at the Adoption and Safe Families Act". Its 14 papers, by a broad sweep of scholars and practitioners, probe the realities of ASFA’s implementation compared to the hopes and fears that attended its enactment; its effects on families facing specific issues such as substance abuse, mental health issues, or incarceration of a parent; the personal perspectives of youth and families involved with the child welfare system; the future agenda for adoption, guardianship, and reunification; and more. 

To mark the collection’s release, five panelists -- each with a unique perspective on the child welfare system -- will look back at the lessons of ASFA and assess what they mean for tomorrow’s vulnerable children and families, including opportunities presented by the new Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act.

Resources:
- Intentions and Results: A Look Back at the Adoption and Safe Families Act (link)
- National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare (pdf)
- National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare -- tutorial brochure (pdf)

At the Urban Institute
2100 M Street N.W., 5th Floor, Washington, D.C.
Light breakfast will be provided at 8:45 a.m. The forum begins promptly at 9:00 a.m.

 
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