ASFA, passed by Congress in 1997, was an effort by Congress to stop “foster care drift” and move foster children to safe, permanent homes as quickly as possible. Foster care drift is a term applied to the phenomenon of children remaining in foster care, sometimes for years, moving from one short-term placement to another with little hope of reunification or any other permanent placement.
Among other things, ASFA mandated States to hold permanency hearings at set intervals as discussed above under Permanency Hearings. ASFA also established conditions and time frames requiring States to file for termination of parental rights unless this action was determined not to be in the child’s best interests. ASFA also required that foster parents be notified of hearings (see Foster Parents Rights in Section 10 of this book) and required background checks of foster and adoptive parents.