Wednesday, April 18, 2007

What Exactly is "Family Preservation"

Family Preservation. What do those two words actually mean to us? In order to organize an international coalition that supports Family preservation, it is important that we have a clear definition.

The following is a DRAFT of what Evelyn Robinson and I have been working on. Your thoughts/suggestions/feedback welcomed from those us who are concerned about and committed to these issues.

I will also be using this blog to keep those of us
concerned and committed to these issues undated and informed on what we can do regarding the immediate issue of supporting Stephanie Bennett.

PLEASE NOTE: This blog is a serious and positive, goal-oriented, brainstorming venue. The opinions of all committed to Family Preservation are valued.

Comments that are not consistent with that goal have no place here and will not be posted.

Let's get this Family Preservation discussion flowing by evaluating the following draft:


Every child born has an inalienable right to remain with the mother and/or father who conceived and/or bore him/her, as well as to know any other genetic/DNA contributors.

Every expectant mother has the right to protect, care for and maintain her bond with her child. Every possible resource, option to help her to do so needs to be made available.

Every mother and father, regardless of marital status, finances, or physical disadvantage has the right to parent their child above all others.

This connection should not be severed without due cause for the protection and safety of the child, and only after all means of addressing the problems of the family unit have been reasonably tried and failed.

Placing a child in the care of adults to whom the child is not related is a last resort option to be used only when there are no extended family members able or willing to provide care for the child related to them.

Family preservation is about ensuring that mothers and fathers in crisis receive objective family-centered option counseling and all the resources, referrals, and support needed to remain as an intact family and are protected from fraud, coercion and exploitation for the purpose of separating them from their child.

If and when such care is absolutely necessary, the child requiring such care must be immediately appointed a court-appointed guardian ad litem to ensure the best interest of the child is placed at the forefront of identifying appropriate substitute family care.

Children are not commodities, and no profit may be made by any individuals or agencies involved in necessary custodial placements for children in need.

Mothers and fathers of a child requiring substitute care must be provided separate legal counsel to be fully aware of their rights and recourse. Such counsel should be paid for by a tax or fee paid into a general fund and not directly from substitute guardian to the child’s parent.

Children placed with non-family members are not to be deprived of their names or their connection with their family and must be allowed unlimited visitation and contact with all blood relatives, with necessary supervision to prevent harm when deemed by the court as necessary. Depriving a child access to visitation with any blood relatives should be punishable by law.

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