Nassau County Family Law Blog

Monday, March 21, 2016

Sen. Gillibrand Seeks to Modernize Foster Care System

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) is sponsoring legislation that is designed to enable states to use a standardized interstate system to streamline the placement of children in adoptive or foster homes. The bill, Modernizing the Interstate Placement of Children in Foster Care Act, has bipartisan support.

"Thousands of children in New York and across the country urgently need a loving home, but often child welfare agencies don't explore the option of placing them with a foster family out of state because of long paperwork processing delays," Gillibrand said. 

There is such a system already in use in five states and the District of Columbia, the National Electronic Interstate Compact Enterprise (NEICE) which proponents say has reduced the time it takes to place a child in an adoptive of foster home by 45 days. The legislation, if approved, would provide temporary funding for states to implement the NEICE system and by 2022, all states would be required to join the system.

Lawmakers contend that foster children typically face long delays getting placed in a loving home because they often need to move to another state in order to live with a relative, adoptive parent or foster family. The current system requires exhaustive paperwork and often gets entangled in governmental bureaucracy. The bill is intended to cut red tape and speed up the process.

Several organizations, including the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys, and the American Public Human Services Association, support the proposed legislation. The groups believe that when NEICE is implemented, it will also help to ameliorate other risk factors for children, including illegal re-homing and sex trafficking.

Toward Legal Adoptions

Adoption is the legal process whereby parental rights are transferred to the adopting parents, creating a new parent-child relationship. A legal adoption gives the adoptive parents the same rights and responsibilities as parents of a biological child. At the same time, the adopted child is granted the same legal rights as a biological child, including inheritance rights and child support.

One of the most common adoptions is a stepparent adoption in which the stepparent becomes the child’s new legal parent. Some states also recognize domestic partner adoptions which follow the same general format and procedure as stepparent adoptions. If you have questions about adoptions in New York, you should consult with an attorney with expertise in family law.

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