14 Mar SC Bill Pushed Forward to Increase Foster Family Children Cap
In the United States, when a parent has been found unfit to care for his/her child, the court will terminate his or her parental rights to the child. Each state has its own procedures and threshold by which the court may find the parent unfit or even terminate his or her rights. The one thing that all the states have in common is that there is a high threshold to determine that a parent should no longer have rights to his/her child(ren) because parental rights are fundamental. The termination of these rights must go through strict scrutiny and the decision ultimately lies with the court after significant evidence has been presented showing that the parent is unfit to care for his/her child and that the child remaining with the parent would lead to harm or the possibility of harm, among other grounds that may support termination of parental rights.
Children without Biological Ties Only Two Options: Foster Home or Group Home
The child who is removed from the custody of his/her parent has very little rights with regards to where he/she ends up. If there is no family, then his or her option may be to go to a foster home or a group home that is run by the state. A group home or institution is a state-controlled environment where the children are raised with others who are similarly displaced. In South Carolina, there has been significant data proving that children residing in group homes are more likely to be abused or neglected. South Carolina itself has one of the highest rates of group home admission for children in state custody and has received hundreds of reports of abuse, neglect, and rape within the system.
In a foster home, a family receives money to take in and care for displaced children; it is thought a well-functioning foster home provides the most supportive environment for displaced children as it most similarly mirrors the traditional, stable family environment that hopefully will enable the displaced child to grow.
SC Cap on Children in Foster Family Home
In South Carolina, the law requires that there be a cap on the number of children within each foster home. According to current law, the cap reflects the number of children that may be within the foster home, regardless of whether the children are biological or were adopted by the foster parents. If a foster family already has two biological and/or adopted children in the home, the state caps the foster family at three more children that are in state custody, meaning the foster family is capped at five children. If a family already has five biological or adopted children in the home, then the family is precluded from participating in the foster care program entirely.
Purpose behind the Cap
The current law was put in place to ensure that families were not bringing in children for financial gain and then neglecting the children due to the sheer number of kids in the home. The law, however, precludes large families that are able to foster children from participating in the program because of the fact that they are a large family, even if they are capable of fostering other children.
Proposed Bill to Modify the Cap
South Carolina is pushing to amend the cap, adjusting the ceiling to five foster children, regardless of the number of biological or adopted children who are in the household. The new law would permit larger families that may already have the infrastructure built into their home to be able to participate in the program and provide a stable family home for displaced children in state custody. The legislative proposal would have a two-fold effect on South Carolina: it would increase the number of eligible families that would like to foster and would cut down on the number of kids that are sent to group homes.
Experienced Family Law Attorneys in Mount Pleasant, Charleston Area
The foster care system is the best option for the worst situation. Keeping the family together and maintaining parental rights is held as a fundamental right in this country and should be protected at all costs. Contact Klok Law Firm LLC today for a free and confidential consultation if your parental rights are being questioned. We are happy to help you today.