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Rockland & Westchester County Divorce Lawyer > Blog > Child Custody > The Rise of Foster Parent Adoptions & Biological Parents’ Rights

The Rise of Foster Parent Adoptions & Biological Parents’ Rights


We have previously described instances where a county or city intervenes and interferes with a biological parent’s rights when it comes to child custody and how this is, in some circumstances, illegal, warranting the intervention of a skilled Rockland County child custody attorney. Foster-parenting intervention is another somewhat new circumstance involving denying biological parents’ rights, where foster parents will work with family law attorneys in an attempt to win custody of a child that a non-biological parent has been fostering.

The practice has become more popular as it has become harder and harder to adopt a child – especially an infant – here in the U.S. and from abroad. As even private adoption has become an expensive waiting game, fostering to adopt has become Plan C, even though the law requires that nearly-all birth parents be provided with a chance before their rights are terminated.

Foster Parent Intervention & “Expert” Involvement

As a result, foster parents eager to adopt, in some cases, are intervening in an effort to have more power and control in the process and speed things along. This process can involve filing motions, entering evidence, and calling and cross-examining witnesses to argue that a child would be better off permanently – i.e. that it would be in the child’s best interest – to remain with the foster parents permanently, even if the child’s birth parents or relatives have fulfilled all of their legal obligations to provide a safe, stable home for the child.

In some cases, this intervention has even become systematized and includes an active agenda from experts that the county and courts come to rely on, i.e. social workers who will sometimes penalize biological parents who may be unaware of their child’s particular state due to the distance and lack of contact with that child while they have remained with the foster parents.

 Some social workers recruited as experts in these cases have opposed reuniting the biological child with their birth parents if the foster-parent intervenors report that the child has struggles after seeing his or her biological parents, and their opinions are taken seriously, even if they have long-standing independent agendas to help foster parents succeed in intervening and permanently adopting the children they care for. Relying heavily on the expert’s view, the county can then move to permanently terminate the biological parents’ parental rights.

What the Science “Says”

In some of these cases, foster parents and experts that they work with have argued that, due to attachment theory, it can be dangerous to remove an infant from the foster parents they have come to know, and even that the child can and will develop cognitive disabilities and/or autism if separated from their foster parents.  In addition, intervenors with a view towards adopting a child have been found to have an interest in reporting medical and other issues that ultimately make adoption by them more likely.

However, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children who grow up with their birth family or kin are less likely than those who are adopted or raised in foster care to experience long-term separation trauma, behavioral and mental health problems, and issues surrounding identity.

Work With the Right New York Child Custody Attorney

What remains in these circumstances is one last hearing, where the child’s biological parents can make a plea to the judge, however, these parents can sometimes feel outmatched in terms of power and political resources. Statistics show that with an intervenor, the chance that a birth parents’ rights will be terminated escalates significantly.

New York is one of many states that allows foster parents to directly file to terminate a biological parent’s rights. If you have child custody concerns here in New York, you need to speak with a local child custody attorney right away in order to ensure that your family is protected: The Law Office of Robert S. Sunshine, P.C. is here to help – Contact us today to schedule a consultation and find out more.



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