This paper explores issues raised by the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 (ASFA) and contends that the Act may have unwittingly harmed some children and mothers by creating a categorical imperative that a child's health and safety must be a paramount consideration in child welfare decisions. After discussing the reforms made by the Act, this paper analyzes hard cases, in particular cases involving substance abusing mothers and battered mothers, and concludes that in some instances children's interests in these cases might be better served by a flexible standard where the child asserts a claim to a continued relationship with a biological parent.
GW Paper Series
GWU Law School, Public Law Research Paper No. 81
Catherine J. Ross, The Tyranny of Time: Vulnerable Children, Bad Mothers, and Statutory Deadlines in Parental Termination Proceedings, 11 Va. J. Soc. Pol'y & L. 176 (2004).