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Two families vie for child custody of foster child

When a couple is unable to have a child of their own, they often exhaust every effort to add to their family. For a couple in one southern state, those efforts included trying to adopt the child of a distant cousin, who had already been placed in a foster home. They believed that the adoption was moving forward and were shocked when social workers took steps to prevent that child custody move. Their story serves as a cautionary tale for Colorado families who are seeking to adopt a child that has already been placed into the foster care system.  

The infant was taken from his mother after birth due to the fact that the mother was serving a prison sentence at the time. Workers from the state's Division of Family and Children's Services did not deem any of the child's close relatives as sufficiently able to care for the baby and placed the child into the care of a foster family. When a distant cousin heard of the matter, she and her husband were eager to learn more. Having spent considerable time and effort pursuing infertility treatments and adoption, they were already looking for an opportunity to bring a child into their lives.

They immediately contacted the child's caseworker, and they began the process of being cleared to adopt the infant. They attended eight days of required classes, and agreed to have their home evaluated to ensure that they could provide a safe place to raise a child. They were fingerprinted and screened for drug use. They even attended a meeting in which DFCS laid out the timeline for transitioning the child from his foster home into their care. That plan ended, however, when DFCS abruptly changed course and backed the foster parents' bid to adopt the infant.

The couple told reporters that the decision has left them stunned. They question why DFCS would fail to support the placement of a child with family members who are fit to parent and eager to give a baby a permanent and loving home. It is unclear whether they are planning to pursue legal action in the case, or whether the foster family has already adopted the child. The story serves as a warning to Colorado families who would like to pursue a similar path to parenthood and illustrates that child custody and foster care can be a very difficult mix.

Source: 11alive.com, "Families fight over foster child's future", Rebecca Lindstrom, March 30, 2016

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