Daniel Leddy, a former judge of the New York City Foster Care Review Term, speaks about the abdication of judicial discretion that often takes place in foster care proceedings. Leddy writes that, in his experience, “judges were the real culprits for having allowed the court to be reduced to the status of a rubber stamp for whatever the agencies wanted. Abdicating their judicial responsibility to children, they worried more about offending agencies, including the city’s child protective service, the umbrella agency.”
My first day in Foster Care Review brought me face to face with what accommodating judges had allowed agencies to get away with. In the very first case, the caseworker told me why she wanted the child, an 8-year-old boy, to remain in foster care…. Her oral report, sans the case file, was all that any other judge had ever required, she insisted.
* * *There are specific time frames in which children must be brought to court for foster-care proceedings. Do you know how many cases were actually brought on time? Virtually none. Do you know how many were late by several months? Most. * * *One Staten Island kid was in foster care for an incredible seven years and had never had his case reviewed by a judge, a truly shocking violation of law.
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