Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock () or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

March 2010Vol. 11, No. 2ASFA 12 Years After: A Look at Consequences and Lessons Learned

The intended and unintended consequences of the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 (ASFA), and the degree to which ASFA has promoted the goals of safety, permanency, and well-being for children in the child welfare system, are the focus of a new publication from the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) and the Urban Institute.

Intentions and Results: A Look Back at the Adoption and Safe Families Act is a compilation of papers that examine the impact and outcomes of ASFA for children and families and for the child welfare system that endeavors to serve them. It begins with a framework paper that summarizes the key provisions of the law, the major controversies surrounding implementation of the law, and available data on its results. Five additional papers illustrate the personal views of the people directly affected by the law, including parents, youth, one of the drafters of the original legislation, a child welfare commissioner, and a family court judge.

The publication also presents a series of seven policy briefs that review such issues as the impact of ASFA on special populations, including parents with mental health or substance abuse problems, families involved with the criminal justice or immigration systems, and older youth. Other briefs examine the issues of adoption and preserving family connections. The publication concludes with a final paper that provides lessons learned and recommendations from CSSP.

This publication is available for download on the Urban Institute website:  (672 KB)