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Finding Permanent Homes for More Children in Foster Care: The Potential of Subsidized Guardianship

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Description:Child welfare services aim to transition children in foster care to a permanent home as soon as possible, but only about 35% of children in foster care nationally reach a permanent home within a year, and Black children in foster care are less likely than White children to reach permanent homes. Reunification with parents is preferred, but is not always a safe choice. This webinar discusses new research on guardianship, a little used permanency option that provides stable, loving homes for many children while helping preserve family ties to birthparents in situations where they cannot be the primary caregiver. Using data collected from surveys and interviews with caregivers and permanency professionals, we reflect on a national debate about using adoption versus guardianship as permanency options. Adoption is more legally binding, but it requires terminating the rights of birthparents, which can be traumatic for children, parents, and relative caregivers. Guardianship establishes a permanent caregiver (usually grandparents, aunts and uncles), does not require termination of parental rights, and usually features visitation and other involvement by birthparents. Guardians are happy to care for the child while not stripping all rights from the birthparent, who is usually their daughter, son, or sibling. Critics, however, think that guardianship‘s greater flexibility can pose risks for children. We share our findings on the views of caregivers and permanency professionals about the best choices, describe a new Illinois initiative to increase the use of guardianship, and invite participants to weigh in on the debate.

Presenters: Theodore P. Cross, PhD;Heather L. Fox, PhD & Cady Landa, PhD

Free Registration for Members and Non-members

1 CE Credit (Social Work & Psychology): $30.00

1 CE Credit (Social Work & Psychology) for APSAC Members: $20.00