Adoption

NY State Legislature Passes New Open Adoption Bill to Protect Children’s Family Bonds

Legislators in New York State are considering passing a bill to ensure that children adopted from foster care can continue to have contact with their parents, even when rights are terminated, if it’s in the child’s best interest. Here, Rise’s Sara Werner, who lost her daughter to adoption but reunified with her son, interviews Amy Mulzer, a staff attorney for law and appeals in the Family Defense Practice at Brooklyn Defender Services:

Q: What is … Read More

Shared Grief: If my daughter could know me it would help her understand her own suffering

The day in court that they terminated my parental rights I asked my daughter if I could kiss her. She looked over to check if her foster mother would let her. Then she put her head down. I went and gave her a big kiss on that soft little cheek of hers. Her face lit up. Then her lawyer took her away. It was the last time I saw my daughter.

This was a date I thought … Read More

Influencing Adoption

I froze. My head was pounding and I felt like that should have been my last day working in child welfare. I just wanted to go home and lock myself in my room.

I was in Bronx Family Court, being yelled at because a parent on my caseload had missed a visit, even though up until that point, she had always made all her visits.

“What happened? Why didn’t this visit happen?” the judge asked, over and … Read More

3 legal options to consider when facing termination of parental rights

If you’ve been off track in bringing your children home, you may feel that you’ve already lost. But it’s important to talk to your lawyer about exceptions to the Adoption and Safe Families Act that may allow you to continue working toward reunification. Each state has different rules. Below are some New York state exceptions you should talk to your lawyer about.

Termination of parental rights is not always mandatory:

Agencies can decide not to change the … Read More

A new bill aims to preserve family bonds after TPR

A coalition of NYC lawyers and advocates has proposed a new bill, Preserving Family Bonds, which would give New York City family court judges the power to order contact between adopted children and their biological families after the termination of parental rights (TPR). Right now, biological parents and children have no legal rights to see each other after a TPR if the adoptive parent doesn’t want it, even if a judge believes it’s in the … Read More