Reasonable Efforts? Implementation of the Reunification Bypass Provision of ASFAedit
The Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) of 1997 in- cludes provisions to deny reunification services under specified conditions and gives states latitude to develop any number of additional “aggravated circumstances” in which parents need not be offered services. California leg- islators have developed a relatively large number of con- ditions enabling agencies to bypass reunification services. Based upon a case record review involving 1,055 parents, this study attempts to identify the proportion of parents eligible for a reunification bypass, the proportion recom- mended to the courts, and the proportion of parents who were denied reunification services, and examines the characteristics of parents associated with reunification bypass recommendations. Based upon focus groups and interviews with child welfare and judicial personnel in six counties, the study also examines the implementation of reunification bypass provisions. Implications for public policy and practice are provided.