San Diego Law Review

Library of Congress Authority File


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This Comment addresses the failure of our legal system when adopted children are forced to wait years before it is determined who will have legal custody of them. The author begins by exposing the problem and the devastating effects of these delays by providing evidence of delay in both private adoption and foster care placement cases. Then, the author explores the current legal framework within which courts make these life-altering child placement decisions. Next, the author confronts the question of why delay occurs, including several contributing factors, such as a lack of specific guidelines based on a child’s sense of time, the lack of judicial leadership, and the lack of accountability mechanisms. Finally, the author makes recommendations for reducing delay and ensuring that a greater number of children can be placed in safe, stable homes. One such recommendation is that courtrooms should be opened to the public so that the public may have the access it needs to keep the system accountable.

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