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Child-Maltreatment-Research-L (CMRL) List Serve

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Welcome to the database of past Child-Maltreatment-Research-L (CMRL) list serve messages (10,000+). The table below contains all past CMRL messages (text only, no attachments) from Nov. 20, 1996 - June 11, 2018 and is updated quarterly.

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Message ID: 9844
Date: 2015-07-11

Author:Frank Vandervort

Subject:Re: Why do we move foster children so often? Should we move them less often? How?

The problem of placement instability has been studied since the 1970s. The early work was done by David Fanshel and his colleagues. Their book Foster Care: A Longitudinal Investigation was the leading early work. The early legal work on the topic was done by Robert Mnookin (and Michael Weld). Then referred to as "foster care drift," referring to the dual harms of extended stays in "temporary" foster care and frequent moves within the system, were the impetus for the Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980, which was subsequently revised in 1997 in the Adoption and Safe Families Act. Many folks today do not know, but in the 1970s many state foster care agencies as a matter of policy removed a foster child immediately if there was any indication that the child was developing an emotional attachment to the foster parent. There as a very interesting presentation given by Dr. Paul Steinhauer, probably in the late '70s, about these policies titled "How To Succeed in the Business of Creating Psychopataths Without Even Trying." To the best of my knowledge, it was never published (just Google it, comes right up). It was one of the first efforts to integrate knowledge of attachment into our child welfare policies. To a very large extent, the Children's Bureau has undermined the intent and the effectiveness of both the 1980 and 1997 laws by focusing almost exclusively on the "reasonable efforts to reunify" requirement, which it, and, in turn, the field has interpreted as every imaginable effort must be made to reunify--and then some. And every service must be offered over and over and over. Richard Gelles's book, The Book of David and Elizabeth Bartholet's Book Nobody's Children do a very good job of documenting much of this history between 1980 and 1997. The result of this distortion of the law: kids remain in care longer than they should, they are moved about, they become very difficult or impossible to place for adoption but can't go home either, they stay in care longer. We know this pattern all too well. Frank Vandervort On Fri, Jul 10, 2015 at 10:11 PM, Lucy Hudson > wrote: Yes, it is something we should be focusing on! ZERO TO THREE’s Safe Babies Court Teams Project focuses on ten core components, one of which is making the first placement the last placement. For all children, but especially for the very youngest, their well-being hinges on having loving reciprocal relationships with a few trusted caregivers. Every move reduces their ability to trust adults and damages their self-esteem. The statistics about changes in placement are skewed downward because a child moving from one home to another within a foster care agency isn’t seen as changing placements. Lucy Hudson Director, Safe Babies Court Teams Project ZERO TO THREE 1255 23rd Street, NW, Suite 350 Washington, DC 20037 202-857-2629 (office) 202-246-1276 (cell) 202-638-0851 (fax) From: bounce-119126208-8130703@list.cornell.edu [mailto:bounce-119126208-8130703@list.cornell.edu ] On Behalf Of Carolee Gadsby Sent: Sunday, May 03, 2015 3:15 PM To: Child Maltreatment Researchers Subject: Re: Why do we move foster children so often? Should we move them less often? How? Please excuse my response as it is blunt and I'm only a Mom. But I was a foster mom for yrs, meet a lot of foster parents, was prez of the ass. ... The list goes on. But one thing I can tell you is some foster parents expect the child/children to be perfect .... And when they are not... The ask them to be moved I am very aware of this problem as I would take the "hard to place" children in my home and also babysat during the day for other foster parents who needed a break from the children in their home.... Some would bring me their kids daily from 7-7 I do know there are problems on all levels of the system but this is an issue that truly hurts my heart. Btw.... I adopted out at 10 kids between bio and adopted. Many of mine are "special" ..... VERY special to me! Carolee :) Sent from my iPad On Apr 30, 2015, at 2:13 PM, Edward Opton > wrote: Frequent changes of placement seem to be a fact of life for America's foster children--five, ten, even twenty or more moves. Why? What can be done to reduce the frequency of moves? Are frequent moves beyond our control, like the fact that the sun is visible in the daytime but cannot be seen at night, and so hardly worth discussing? Or is the practice of moving children frequently worthy of investigation and action? If so, who has written about it most cogently? Edward Opton, Ph.D., J.D. PsychDrugs Action National Center for Youth Law 405 14th Street, 15th Floor, Oakland, CA 94612 Phone: (510) 899-6583 Fax: (510) 835-8099 youthlaw.org -- Frank E. Vandervort Clinical Professor of Law University of Michigan Law School 701 South State Street Ann Arbor, MI 48109 (734) 647-3168

The problem of placement instability has been studied since the 1970s. The early work was done by David Fanshel and his colleagues. Their book Foster Care: A Longitudinal Investigation was the leading early work. The early legal work on the topic was done by Robert Mnookin (and Michael Weld). Then referred to as "foster care drift," referring to the dual harms of extended stays in "temporary" foster care and frequent moves within the system, were the impetus for the Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980, which was subsequently revised in 1997 in the Adoption and Safe Families Act. Many folks today do not know, but in the 1970s many state foster care agencies as a matter of policy removed a foster child immediately if there was any indication that the child was developing an emotional attachment to the foster parent. There as a very interesting presentation given by Dr. Paul Steinhauer, probably in the late '70s, about these policies titled "How To Succeed in the Business of Creating Psychopataths Without Even Trying." To the best of my knowledge, it was never published (just Google it, comes right up). It was one of the first efforts to integrate knowledge of attachment into our child welfare policies. To a very large extent, the Children's Bureau has undermined the intent and the effectiveness of both the 1980 and 1997 laws by focusing almost exclusively on the "reasonable efforts to reunify" requirement, which it, and, in turn, the field has interpreted as every imaginable effort must be made to reunify--and then some. And every service must be offered over and over and over. Richard Gelles's book, The Book of David and Elizabeth Bartholet's Book Nobody's Children do a very good job of documenting much of this history between 1980 and 1997. The result of this distortion of the law: kids remain in care longer than they should, they are moved about, they become very difficult or impossible to place for adoption but can't go home either, they stay in care longer. We know this pattern all too well. Frank Vandervort On Fri, Jul 10, 2015 at 10:11 PM, Lucy Hudson > wrote: Yes, it is something we should be focusing on! ZERO TO THREE’s Safe Babies Court Teams Project focuses on ten core components, one of which is making the first placement the last placement. For all children, but especially for the very youngest, their well-being hinges on having loving reciprocal relationships with a few trusted caregivers. Every move reduces their ability to trust adults and damages their self-esteem. The statistics about changes in placement are skewed downward because a child moving from one home to another within a foster care agency isn’t seen as changing placements. Lucy Hudson Director, Safe Babies Court Teams Project ZERO TO THREE 1255 23rd Street, NW, Suite 350 Washington, DC 20037 202-857-2629 (office) 202-246-1276 (cell) 202-638-0851 (fax) From: bounce-119126208-8130703list.cornell.edu [mailto:bounce-119126208-8130703list.cornell.edu ] On Behalf Of Carolee Gadsby Sent: Sunday, May 03, 2015 3:15 PM To: Child Maltreatment Researchers Subject: Re: Why do we move foster children so often? Should we move them less often? How? Please excuse my response as it is blunt and I'm only a Mom. But I was a foster mom for yrs, meet a lot of foster parents, was prez of the ass. ... The list goes on. But one thing I can tell you is some foster parents expect the child/children to be perfect .... And when they are not... The ask them to be moved I am very aware of this problem as I would take the "hard to place" children in my home and also babysat during the day for other foster parents who needed a break from the children in their home.... Some would bring me their kids daily from 7-7 I do know there are problems on all levels of the system but this is an issue that truly hurts my heart. Btw.... I adopted out at 10 kids between bio and adopted. Many of mine are "special" ..... VERY special to me! Carolee :) Sent from my iPad On Apr 30, 2015, at 2:13 PM, Edward Opton > wrote: Frequent changes of placement seem to be a fact of life for America's foster children--five, ten, even twenty or more moves. Why? What can be done to reduce the frequency of moves? Are frequent moves beyond our control, like the fact that the sun is visible in the daytime but cannot be seen at night, and so hardly worth discussing? Or is the practice of moving children frequently worthy of investigation and action? If so, who has written about it most cogently? Edward Opton, Ph.D., J.D. PsychDrugs Action National Center for Youth Law 405 14th Street, 15th Floor, Oakland, CA 94612 Phone: (510) 899-6583 Fax: (510) 835-8099 youthlaw.org -- Frank E. Vandervort Clinical Professor of Law University of Michigan Law School 701 South State Street Ann Arbor, MI 48109 (734) 647-3168