A campaign announced in March to seek repeal of the Adoption and Safe Families Act has brought in a strategist to lead the effort.
Nathalia Gibbs will help orchestrate the campaign as an employee of the nonprofit Movement for Family Power, and will answer to a campaign steering committee composed mostly of mothers of color who have experienced the criminal or child welfare system.
Gibbs is a a Black, queer doula whose practice “both informs and is informed by their deep ties to the harm reduction movement,” according to their description on the Movement for Family Power website. Gibbs will work alongside Lisa Sangoi, co-founder and co-director of Movement for Family Power, in coordinating this campaign.
The Adoption and Safe Families Act, passed overwhelmingly and signed by Democratic President Bill Clinton in late 1997, sought to prevent children from languishing in foster care. It says that if children have been in foster care for 15 of the past 22 months as parents try to meet court-imposed requirements to reunify with their child, agencies generally should file to permanently sever the parents’ custodial rights. The law also established an adoption incentive program that rewards states for increasing the number of finalized adoptions each year.
The average amount of time children now spend in foster care, compared with before the law went into effect, is dramatically less. But backers of the repeal effort say the incentives put a premium on adoptions and guardianships while ignoring reunification, and that this has disproportionately separated Black families.
The Repeal ASFA campaign was announced in March of 2021. The Movement for Family Power is an organizational leader of the effort along with the National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls.