Social Worker Denied Custody of Her Nephews While White Foster Parent Has Them

by Gee NY
Ashley Boone, pictured near her apartment in Tulsa, Oklahoma, wants to adopt her two nephews who are in foster care in Minnesota

An experienced social worker and certified foster parent residing in Oklahoma says she’s encountering legal challenges in her effort to gain custody of her two nephews.

Ashley Boone, a 36-year-old child welfare specialist based in suburban Tulsa, has been embroiled in a three-year legal battle with Minnesota’s legal system to be reunited with her nephews.

As reported by the Sahan Journal, The current foster parent, a White woman, contends that relocating the children to their aunt’s residence in Tulsa, located out of state, would disrupt their lives.

However, Boone’s response to that is:

“I work in this field. Children would rather sleep on the floor at their grandma’s house than be in a mansion.”

The two brothers have faced a tumultuous past, having been exposed to domestic violence and drug use. Both have tested positive for methamphetamine, and one has also tested positive for marijuana, as per court records cited by the outlet.

Over the years, they have been shuffled to four different homes, none of which were with family members. Currently, they reside with a white foster mother who serves as a sales manager. Therapists report that they have made emotional progress under her care.

In July, a judge from the Kandiyohi County District Court in Minnesota declined to remove the brothers from their current foster mother, expressing concern that it might trigger feelings of “loss and abandonment.”

The judge also rejected Boone’s argument that the children couldn’t be raised by individuals who didn’t share their racial background.

The judge noted that the boys resembled the foster mother’s biological son more than they resembled Boone. This referred to the caregiver’s son, whose father is Puerto Rican.

Foster Adopt Minnesota, the state’s fostering network, underscores the significance of maintaining consistent family connections and fostering a sense of belonging with birth families.

Minnesota law mandates a relative search and the consideration of family members as placement options when a child enters foster care. The geographical distance from the child’s home can complicate this process.

The situation has sparked concerns about racial disparities, underscoring the challenges Black foster parents often face and their tendency to be overlooked in comparison to their counterparts.

Cynthia Wilson of the Minnesota chapter of the NAACP argues that the situation should be straightforward when a family member, like Ashley, is willing and well-equipped to care for the children.

The foster mother’s plans to finalize the adoption have been placed on hold, as the county is required to adhere to state law, which necessitates considering relatives associated with the case.

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