Friday, February 27, 2009

He's Gotta Be Right. He agrees with me.

Got an email with this quote and I just have to pass it on because someone else has been saying what I've been saying for years.

Jeff Katz from Listening to Parents writes this:

Understanding the Disincentives to Adoption

Nobody consciously discourages good prospective parents from adopting.. There are, however, a number of very strong disincentives that cause public child welfare agencies to act in ways that discourage would-be adoptive parents. One of the most significant disincentives is on the caseworker level. The other disincentive involves adoptions across state or county lines.

Worker Disincentives

First, individual caseworkers have disincentives to make adoptive placements. In order for a child in foster care to be adopted, he or she must be in a relatively stable situation. A caseworker with too large a caseload will, by necessity, respond to the child in crisis before the relatively stable child who would benefit in the long term by having a permanent family. In addition, adoptions are extremely labor-intensive involving meetings with parents, teachers, therapists and others, as well as preparing the child for a major life change. Finally, when a caseworker does move a child from a stable situation to an adoptive family, the caseworker receives a new case, which invariably will require more work than the child he or she replaces.

Disincentives Among Jurisdictions

Second, states have very strong incentives to keep "their" families. Each state pays the cost of recruiting and preparing their own families with no compensation if the family adopts a child from another state. In this system, it makes more sense for a state to keep a family waiting for a year than to match them immediately with a waiting child in another state. As a result, while 17,000 children crossed America's national borders last year from other countries for the purpose of being adopted, fewer than 1,000 American children in foster care crossed state borders to be adopted. In many states, this pattern also holds true across county lines, making it very difficult in North Carolina for a family in Raleigh to adopt a child in Durham.

Until we establish rational incentives that reward everyone involved in successfully making an adoption, children will wait while good, potential parents are turned away and turned off.

1 comment:

Torina said...

Yes, yes, and yes! As I am sure you are well aware, MN makes things even more complicated with out county to county system. My county REFUSES to do homestudies nor will they work with any family who is looking to adopt from another county. It doesn't matter that state law specifies that they are required to do a homestudy for foster parents. They simply won't. I know this because I was a foster parent for them and I wanted to inquire on some waiting children in another county and they wouldn't even send out my homestudy that was done by the private agency that we adopted Tara through because they might lose me as a foster parent. So I went back to the private agency and they lost me anyway.

Also, MN will only pay for homestudies to be done if you are adopting in-state. Adopting in-state is nearly impossible, unless you hook with a miraculous social worker. I love miraculous social workers. But most are so overworked that it gets to be like your dude says, they are responding to crisis rather than being able to work towards permanency.

I am trying to convince my husband to adopt a teenager...he says only if he gets a dirtbike and a divorce, LOL. He also said that with our boys that he absolutely adores so I am not taking him too seriously :) Can you add me to your AAN email list for when you send out info on older kids who are waiting?