Background of the Adoption and Safe Families Act
In 1997, the United States Congress passed the Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA). The ASFA was enacted to modify and clarify certain requirements of the Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act, a federal law enacted in 1980, and the Family Preservation and Support Services Act, a federal law enacted in 1984.
Purpose of the ASFA
The purpose of the ASFA is to protect the health, safety, and well-being of children by requiring states to enact certain laws regarding children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect.
Major Provisions of the ASFA
The major provisions of the ASFA:
- clarify a provision in the Family Preservation and Support Services Act that requires states to make reasonable efforts to preserve or reunify families;
- change the time frame for providing permanent placement for children who are in foster care or a state's child welfare system;
- require states to seek to terminate parental rights in certain cases within a certain time period;
- authorize incentive payments to states in an effort to increase the number of adoptions;
- require states to check the criminal records of prospective adoptive and foster parents;
- require states to provide health insurance to certain children with special needs; and
- require states to implement procedures to address the geographic barriers to adoptions involving more than one state.
Compliance With the ASFA
The ASFA requires the states to enact or modify state laws regarding children who have been removed from their homes. States that do not comply with the ASFA are not eligible for federal funds under Titles IV-B and IV-E of the Social Security Act. Since the enactment of the ASFA in 1997, the states have passed new legislation in an effort to comply with the ASAF.
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