Document Type


Publication Date


First Page


Journal Title Abbreviation

N.Y.U. Rev. L. Soc. Change


States have passed reinstatement statutes to address the increased number of legal orphans in the foster care system. For the most part, however, these laws have been inadequate to address the problem because they are motivated by a view of terminated parents that does not fit current realities. Terminated parents have typically been viewed as obstacles to permanence rather than a realistic placement option. The laws often punish parents who opposed the termination of their parental rights and reward those who voluntarily signed relinquishments.

Reinstatement statutes alone are inadequate to address the growing concern over youth aging out of foster care without permanence. Some states provide parents the opportunity to adopt their biological children (“re-adoption”). A system that provides for both reinstatement and adoption would offer additional opportunities for terminated parents and their children to reunite post-termination.