“Sacha Coupet, a professor of law at Loyola University Chicago, who used to work as a guardian ad litem and as a psychologist, worries that the Adoption and Safe Families Act, by promoting ‘adoption as the normative ideal,’ has made it easier to avoid ‘dealing with the enormously complex root causes of child neglect and abuse,’ which may have little to do with parenting skills. ‘There’s this very American notion that mothers should be self-reliant, capable of taking care of their kids without any support, when that’s just not the world we live in,’ she said. She finds that child-welfare agencies often ‘rush to get to the end of the story,’ creating a middle-class fairy tale: ‘a poor kid is rescued by the state, given a new mom and dad, and the slate is wiped clean.’

“Martin Guggenheim, a professor at New York University of Law, who represented children in court for more than a decade, believes that before long we will look back at the policy of ‘banishing children from their birth families’ as a tragic social experiment.”

Rachel Aviv, in The New Yorker (subscription required), on the case of Niveen Ismail, who was deemed to be an unfit mother for her son Adam. Read more on child welfare.


Photo: gustfischer, Flickr

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