Marianne Berry


The Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 (ASFA) is the latest legislation in two decades of important child welfare policy in the United States. The Adoption and Safe Families Act has served to shorten the period of time that caseworkers and families have to show that families are making progress toward family preservation, with permanency decisions being made after 12 months, rather than 18. The importance of engaging and motivating families in services has therefore increased. The practice directive of ASFA can be summarized as 'Act Smart, Fast, and Accountable. " Using findings from largely correlational research, concrete recommendations are made to ensure that practices to preserve families are smart, fast, and accountable, particularly critical given these new timeframes.