Foster Care Law: A Primer introduces social work professionals and attorneys to the most significant and typical legal problems that may arise from the moment a neglected or abused child enters the foster care system to the child’s exit from it. The authors look at law through the eyes of the main participants — the foster child, the foster parents, biological parents, public foster care agencies, private foster care agencies, and the courts — and describe the legal relationships that each has to the other. In explaining the problems most likely to occur, they note the legal authorities that must be consulted and ways that courts and legislatures have resolved the issues.
The book presents numerous aids to help social work professionals cope with the legal milieu: a glossary of legal terms; an appendix describing how to find cases, law journals, and legislative material; and a flow chart describing the legal life of a foster care case. Moreover, the text provides reader-friendly descriptions of the legal context.
Lawyers will welcome explanations of the intricate legal relationships between such entities as public foster care agencies, their private contractors who provide foster homes, federal funding agencies, and the courts. A pertinent selected bibliography and an appendix dedicated to liability issues will give any lawyer a running start to resolve a particular foster care case.
This ground-breaking book gives an overview of this complex field because each state has its own practices, laws, and local rules that govern both foster care systems and court process. The authors have untangled this confusing web, and shown the patterns that prevail overall. The book will work for anyone trying to make sense of the foster care system, in any state.
“This book does what few child advocacy books do. It deftly communicates real-life practice, policy and law to front line social workers without sounding like a training manual. It is a book that should truly help us lawyers and social workers do our jobs better.” — Prof. Daniel Pollack, JD, MSW, Wurzweiler School of Social Work, Yeshiva University