Copyright (c) 1994 Cornell Law Review
Cornell Law Review
NOTES: EMPOWERING CHILDREN: GRANTING FOSTER CHILDREN THE RIGHT TO INITIATE PARENTAL RIGHTS TERMINATION PROCEEDINGS
79 Cornell L. Rev. 1200
Christina Dugger Sommer
The status of a foster child, particularly for the foster child, is a strange one. He's part of no-man's land... The child knows instinctively that there is nothing permanent about the setup, and he is, so to speak, on loan to the family he is residing with. If it doesn't work out, he can be swooped up and put in another home. It's pretty hard to ask a child or foster parent to make a large emotional commitment under these conditions ...
-Art Buchwald 1
In 1636, less than thirty years after the founding of Jamestown Colony, seven-year-old Benjamin Eaton became America's first foster child. 2 Over 350 years later, significant numbers of American children continue to require foster care. At present, over 500,000 children around the United States receive out-of-home care; 3 of these, approximately 429,000 are recipients of foster family care. 4 Studies predict that because of deteriorating economic conditions, 5 an in crease in homelessness, 6 soaring child abuse rates, 7 and increased rates of drug and alcohol addiction, 8 the number of foster children will exceed 550,000 by 1995. 9
Traditionally, foster care has been viewed as a temporary arrangement pending the child's eventual reunion with the natural parents. 10 Increasingly, however, foster children may remain in the foster care system for years, and some never return to their families. 11 Following placement in foster homes, many children are isolated from their natural families and forgotten by the public ...
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