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Recommended Reading

Legal references, books, publications and magazine resources on topics including legal issues on topics such as foster care, adoption, court procedure, meeting the emotional needs of children, bonding and attachment, and more.  All listed materials can be viewed at the Los Angeles County Law Library or the public law library of your county.

Legal References

Adoption and Permanency Guidelines: Improving Court Practice in Child Abuse and Neglect Cases. National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (2000, National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges). 775-784-6012. Caregivers and the Courts: Improving Court Decisions Affecting Children In Foster Care by Regina M. Deihl (2002, Center for Families & Children Administrative Office of the Courts). View the publication here. California Juvenile Dependency Practice (2 vol.) 2014. California Continuing Education of The Bar (“C.E.B.”) Can be obtained from CEB in Oakland, California, 800-232-3444 or purchased online here. California Juvenile Courts: Practice & Procedure. Seiser & Kumli (Matthew Bender Publications) Can be ordered at Lexis Nexis.

Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act.  Fostering Connections is one of the most beneficial federal laws for foster children in decades. States optionally match federal funds to extend eligibility for foster care up to age 21 and provide support for relatives who serve as guardians for children that have been removed from their home.  The bill also made it default federal law that states place siblings together. For more details, click here.

Reference, Handouts, Presentation Materials

The handouts herein were prepared for presentations to audiences and may no longer reflect current law and should not be relied upon as legal advice for any particular situation.  You should check with an experienced juvenile law attorney licensed in your state for advice about your particular situation or problem.

California Laws & Regulations You Need to Know, but DCFS Will Never Tell You… by Deborah Dentler, (May 14, 2014). Download the handout created for the Serenity Infant Care Home presentation here.

Books, Publications and Magazines

“Are Those Kids Yours?” American Families with Kids Adopted from Other Countries by Cheri Register (1991, The Free Press). Drawing from her own experiences and those of others who have adopted children from outside the United States, the author here addresses a range of issues arising from the controversial practice. As the single parent of two Korean-born daughters, Register ( Living with Chronic Illness ) this book deals with how she and other parents help their foreign-born children ease into American society. Larger questions, such as the ethics of uprooting children from their heritage, the global issue of wealthy versus poor countries, the racism often encountered by these children, the wrenching issue of the rights of birth parents, are presented in very personal terms. Internationally adoptive parents will find this an empathetic guide. Adopting the Hurt Child: Hope for Families with Special-Needs Kids. A Guide for Parents and Professionals by Keck & Kupecky (1995 and 2009 Pinon Press) The world is full of hurting kids who suffer from emotional trauma caused by someone they should have been able to trust. It’s a pain that lasts into adulthood if not healed and resolved. It is the new face of adoption. In this revised and updated guide to healing the emotional trauma of the adopted child, authors Gregory C. Keck and Regina M. Kupecky provide a clear picture of what it’s like to hurt and what it means to heal. Through advice, tips, and success stories of those who have been there, you’ll find valuable insight and hope. It’s never too late for healing. Building a Home Within: Meeting the Emotional Needs of Children and Youth in Foster Care by Toni V. Heineman (Paul H. Brooks Pub. Co.) All children need stable, lasting relationships with caring adults to ensure their healthy emotional, cognitive, and social development. But for children and adolescents in foster care, these essential relationships are often absent. This book presents a proven solution based on over 10 years of groundbreaking work by the Children’s Psychotherapy Project (CPP): When young people work with the same therapist for as long as they need to, they’ll make better progress toward developing strong, healthy relationships and hope for the future. Child Trauma Handbook: A Guide for Helping Trauma-Exposed Children & Adolescents  The Child Trauma Handbook is a comprehensive plain-language guide to treating trauma-exposed children and adolescents and those with trauma or loss-related issues. This no-nonsense manual helps the reader understand how and why kids’ behaviors can be related to their history of trauma while teaching practical hands-on clinical skills and interventions.   Telling the Truth to Your Adopted or Foster Child by Keefer and Schooler (2000, Bergin & Garvey).       A Child’s Journey Through Placement by Vera I. Fahlberg, M.D. (1991, Perspectives Press).       Family Bonds: Adoption, Infertility, and the New World of Child Production by Prof. Elizabeth Bartholet (1993, Beacon Press).       Foster Parent Adoption Decisions: Care & Commitment. Meezan and Shireman (1985, State University of New York Press).       Guardianship (a brochure available from The Alliance for Children’s Rights, Los Angeles, CA) Click here to download the Caregiver’s Affidavit in pdf format. This document allows a Caregiver to enroll a child in school and consent to a child’s medical care. Learning the Dance of Attachment: An Adoptive Parent’s Guide to Fostering Healthy Development by Holly van Gulden & Charlotte Vick ($25 from Crossroads Adoption Services.       The Lost Children of Wilder: The Epic Struggle to Change Foster Care by Nina Bernstein (1992, Vintage). In 1973, a young ACLU attorney filed a controversial class-action lawsuit that challenged New York City’s operation of its foster-care system. The plaintiff was an abused runaway named Shirley Wilder who had suffered from the system’s inequities. Wilder, as the case came to be known, was waged for two and a half decades, becoming a battleground for the conflicts of race, religion, and politics that shape America’s child-welfare system. She gives us the galvanizing history of this landmark case and the personal story at its core. Nina Bernstein takes us behind the scenes of far-reaching legal and legislative battles, but she also traces the life of Shirley Wilder and her son, Lamont, born when Shirley was only fourteen and relinquished to the very system being challenged in her name. Bernstein’s account of Shirley and Lamont’s struggles captures the heartbreaking consequences of the child welfare system’s best intentions and deepest flaws. In the tradition of There Are No Children Here, this is a major achievement of investigative journalism and a tour de force of social observation, a gripping book that will haunt every reader who cares about the needs of children. No Matter How Loud I Shout: A Year in the Life of Juvenile Court by Edward Humes (1997, Simon & Schuster) After being granted access by court order to a system that is usually closed to the public, Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Humes (Buried Secrets) spent 1994 surveying the largely futile attempts of Los Angeles to deal with its juvenile crime. He concentrates here on a few who have not let themselves be overwhelmed by the deluge of defendants-80,000 cases are pending at any given time. Humes follows closely the cases of seven young people who were caught up in the system, three of whom have been saved by it? maybe. Nobody’s Children: Abuse, Neglect, Foster Drift, and the Adoption Alternative by Prof. Elizabeth Bartholet (1999, Beacon Press).       Rights of Adoptive Parents (a brochure available from The Alliance for Children’s Rights, Los Angeles CA). Nolo-Press-Guardian-Book The Guardianship Book for California: How to Become a Child’s Legal Guardian By David Brown, Emily Doskow. Click here for a preview of the book.        Wasted: The Plight of America’s Unwanted Children by Patrick T. Murphy (1997, Ivan R. Dee, Inc.)     “Represent” –a magazine for foster youth and youth adopted from foster care found here.