The Tie That Binds: NY Keeps Incarcerated Parents and Their Children Together

The Federal Adoption and Safe Families Act Expanded Discretion Bill aims to keep children from languishing in foster care.


In prisons throughout the country, children are separated from parents who commit crimes. The way that timetables work, depending on the length of the sentence, many children are declared abandoned and pushed into the foster care system in hopes of finding a permanent living situation. What typically happens is that children often remain in the system for extended periods of time, which also impacts their ability to reunite with parents once their sentence has been served. New York State is doing something about it. This week, Albany passed reform legislation that gives incarcerated parents a greater chance to prove that they can hold their families together, even from behind bars. The federal Adoption and Safe Families Act Expanded Discretion bill gives agencies more flexibility to help an incarcerated parent maintain a connection with his or her children, with the hope of reunification after release. That sounds like common sense to us. Why further complicate the life of a child who has lost a parent to the system by then putting him or her into a system that does not guarantee stability? Afterall, children shouldn't be made to suffer because of a parent's bad decision.

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