A Kansas judge ruled last week that the newly confirmed secretary for children and families in that state improperly reversed an adoption decision for three children in foster care.
The sibling group was to have been adopted by their foster family but DCF said the should go to their biological grandfather instead. The decision was made after an article came out in a local paper, The Wichita Eagle.
Judge Kevin Smith said DCF’s decision has placed all three children in potentially serious harm. He is expecting the secretary of DCF to attend the next hearing. The judge upheld his earlier decision that the children should be adopted by their foster family, while continuing to have visits with their grandfather.
The secretary replied by saying that the agency wanted a 30 day continuance to consider the grandfather’s concerns about his grandchildren’s future. He has sought for two years to adopt his grandchildren. Judge Smith says the Eagle article “did not contain all the facts.”
The grandfather believes the foster family was selected because they are a married white couple living in a home in the suburbs, while he is a single black man living in a fourplex. He has been allowed to have the children on weekends and for other weeks when they were with a different foster family.
The attorney for the foster family said that DCF never determined the grandfather was the appropriate placement for the children. It was not until the article came out that DCF began consideration of placement with the grandfather. The attorney went on to say that every professional involved in the case concluded that the foster family was the best placement for the children.
The involvement of the children’s biological parents is the most compelling reason not to place with the grandfather. The rights of the biological parents have been terminated due to neglect and abandonment.
The court has appointed a special advocate for the children to build a relationship with them and advocate for their needs until the decision has been made.