Lara W. Montana

No Third Chances

Children are thrown into foster care for unspecific amounts or time when their parents are seen as unfit. Those unfit parents often lose their children to foster care repeatedly. Instead of constantly moving the child, terminate the parents' rights after two chances and place the child in a waiting adoptive family.

November 2, 2016

President of the United States

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC 20500

Dear President of the United States,

(Names have been changed for the protection of minors)

My name is Lara, and I am a senior in high school in Billings, Montana. A few years ago, my parents decided to adopt. My mom always wanted several children, but she got breast cancer when I was four years old and was unable to have anymore children afterwards. She considered adoption, and when I was nine my parents applied. It took a couple of months before we were matched with two siblings: a six year old boy named David, and a four year old girl named Sally. They had been in the system for a while, but my parents were thrilled to have them and were determined to turn their lives around. Sally went into preschool and David went into first grade. Sally liked preschool, but David had some behavioral and got into trouble a lot. He was placed into a special classroom and things got better.

We were told that we could officially adopt them after six months. After about five months, we received a call to inform us that we could not adopt them because the parents had refused to give up their parental rights. When David and Sally came to live with us, it was with the understanding that we would adopt them; my parents did not want to foster. They were taken away a week before the six month point. Afterwards, my parents were contacted by five other people that had tried to adopt David and Sally and been told at the last minute that they could not. Besides the issue of misleading people by telling them they could adopt and then yanking the children away from them, the parents were both in jail for repeated drug abuse, and not for the first time. I believe that when it gets to the point where the parents are continuously in jail and show no signs of wanting to change, the parents should lose their parental rights, voluntarily or not.

Children are thrown into child care all the time when their parents are deemed unfit to care for them. According to the Children’s Rights website, over 650,000 children spent time in foster care in 2014 and more than 60,000 were awaiting adoption. Most parents are given another chance, but more often than not, the parents revert back to their unhealthy habits and the children are once again taken away. This tumultuous upbringing is not right for children, and neither is bouncing them from foster home to foster home when there are people that want to adopt them but can not because their parents refuse to give up their rights. Those children have an unsteady upbringing and often end up with social problems and an incomplete education. Being adopted would give children stability in their lives and give them a better chance at a better future. In 2014, there were 22,000 young people who aged out of foster care. Studies have shown that these young people have a higher chance of becoming homeless or incarcerated.

The cause of this issue regarding parental rights can be traced to the laws governing the child care system and their leniency on unfit parents. People are given too many chances. We as a society are so concerned with keeping children with their birth parents that we do not stop to think at what point the child is better off without their biological parents. It seems that society and the laws connected with the child care system are more concerned with doing right by the parents than they are with doing right by the children, but it is the child care system. The entire purpose is to care for and protect the children. According to the National Convention of State Legislatures, the Foster Children’s Bill of Rights has only been enacted in fifteen states. That means that thirty-five states do not have a Foster Children’s Bill of Rights. Every state should have this Bill of Rights, and the best way to ensure that happens is to make a national Foster Children’s Bill of Rights.

I propose less leniency on the parents. I believe in second chances, but not third, fourth, and fifth chances. Give the parents a second chance, and then take the child or children away for good. Many of the parents do not want to give up the children because of the money they get from the government for “caring” for the children. A single parent with two kids can receive $35,000 in welfare benefits, according to The Washington Post. Oftentimes, that money goes straight into the parents’ drug, alcohol, or gambling habit. This way the parents are abusing both the system and their children.

For people who have tried to adopt children through the child care system, it is obvious that there needs to be changes. It is heartbreaking to those who try to adopt only to have the children swept away at the last moment because the parents refuse to give up their rights. The biological parents are given too many chances. The needs of the child needs to come before the needs of the parent, and the current laws do the opposite. Change those laws to put the child first, only give the parents a second chance before they lose their rights, and the child will have a much more stable childhood and a complete education. It will give the child a better chance to succeed in life.


Lara W


Billings Public Library

TA - Billings, MT

TA - Billings, MT

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