Every child deserves to live in a loving, permanent family. That’s the reason why adoption is the preferred option for children whose parents are not able to care for them.
The policy, known as APPLA—Another Planned Permanent Living Arrangement for Children does not work in the children’s best interests. It is just another way of providing temporary care that is not labeled foster care; but it does not give children the legal and emotional benefits of being part of a permanent family.
New draft legislation attempts to restrict the use of APPLA by not allowing any youth under 16 to have APPLA as a goal. It also requires that ongoing efforts to find a permanent family be documented.
We believe it does not go far enough. We agree with Voice for Adoption, the national organization that advocates for improved adoption policy, that APPLA cases be reviewed every six months (it is now 12). We support the requirement of a report one year after APPLA is enacted for a child that would (1) determine the number of children in that state with a goal of APPLA; (2) the ages, gender, race and special needs of those children; (3) why other permanency options such as kinship care or adoption were not considered to be in the child’s best interest; (4) information about the youths’ involvement in the decision to pursue APPLA and other permanency options.
Children, especially teenagers, often need the encouragement and support of their social workers to help make them aware of and understand fully the benefits of a permanent family. No child should be “written off” as unadoptable and relegated to APPLA as another holding area until he or she ages out of the foster care system. As the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption insists, “Unadoptable is not Acceptable.”