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The Adoption and Safe Families Act

The Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 established time lines and conditions for filing termination of parental rights. The Act provides a new legislative framework that sets the direction and parameters for the operation of state and local child welfare agencies and courts. States must file a petition to terminate parental rights and concurrently, identify, recruit, process and approve a qualified adoptive family on behalf of any child, regardless of age, if the child has been in foster care for 15 out of the most recent 22 months. Exceptions can be made to these requirements if a relative is caring for a child. The Act requires notice of court reviews and an opportunity to be heard is sent to relatives, foster parents, and pre-adoptive parents. A relative, foster parent or pre-adoptive parent caring for a child must be given notice of an opportunity to be heard in any review or hearing involving the child. This provision does not require that any relative, foster, or pre-adoptive parent be made a party to such a review or hearing. The Act also mandates that the Federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) complete a study on kinship care.

Inside The Adoption and Safe Families Act