Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Agencies Must Carefully Examine Child's Best Interests

NACAC's most recent position statement—Best Interests of the Child or Youth—identifies key elements that must be considered when workers and judges make child welfare decisions. Although such determinations are admittedly difficult, they are vital to a child's safety and well-being. In the U.S., state laws and practices vary widely and often provide little guidance. NACAC encourages each state to consider adopting policies and practices that taken into account the following factors:

• The physical safety and welfare of the child or youth, including food, shelter, health, and clothing
• The development of the child’s or youth’s identity
• The child’s or youth’s background and ties, including familial, cultural, racial, ethnic, language, and religious;
• The child’s or youth’s sense of permanent attachments, including:
-Where the child or youth actually feels love, attachment, and sense of being valued
-The child’s or youth’s sense of security
-The child’s or youth’s sense of familiarity
-The least disruptive placement alternative for the child or youth
• The child’s or youth’s wishes and long-term goals
• The child’s or youth’s community ties, including church, school, and friends
• The physical, emotional, mental health, and educational needs of the child or youth, now and in the future
• The child’s or youth’s need for legal permanence (reunification, guardianship, and adoption)
• The child’s or youth’s need for stability and continuity of relationships with kin, parent figures, and siblings
• The risks attendant to entering and being in foster care
• The probability of success of any (permanent or temporary) placement arrangement
Financial and programmatic support and services should be available to support any placement made in the child’s or youth’s best interests.

No comments: