Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date




On November 9, 1997, President Bill Clinton signed the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 (ASFA) to improve the safety of children, to promote adoption and other permanent homes for children, and to support families. The changes in ASFA are important to ensure the safety of children and increase their likelihood of placement in permanent homes. The change that requires close examination is the timeline for initiating the termination of parental rights (TPR) proceedings. Many people have questioned whether these changes, if applied in their strictest terms, have had a detrimental effect on children of prisoners, because a large percentage of incarcerated parents are sentenced to longer than two years in prison. This chapter examines the potential effect of ASFA's TPR requirements on children of prisoners. In particular, it discusses the impact of ASFA and shows how easily parents can lose custody of children who are in foster care because of federal and state laws that shorten the time frame within which the state can permanently sever parental ties without taking incarceration into account.


Family Law | Law | Law and Gender | Sexuality and the Law