Friday, April 07, 2006


Ire over boy's removal from foster By Benjamin Y. Lowe and Kathleen Brady Shea Inquirer Staff Writers Two days ahead of schedule, Chester County officials removed a tearful, 3-year-old child yesterday from his Downingtown-area foster home so he could be placed with a family who is adopting him in central Pennsylvania. The county's original plan was for the child to meet his new family yesterday and then leave his current Uwchlan Township home for good tomorrow, said his foster parents, Randall and Susan Borelly. They cared for the child for nearly two years but were prevented from adopting him. Instead, according to the family, two caseworkers from the Department of Children, Youth and Families arrived at 10 a.m. yesterday - an hour ahead of schedule - and said that "plans have changed" and that they were removing the child then. Randall Borelly was at work and Susan Borelly and her sister, who was visiting, asked for more time. After being told the sister wanted to take the child, named Kevin, on a quick errand, the two caseworkers returned to their car and called police. Two officers arrived 30 minutes later. Susan Borelly let one of the officers into the house as she and her husband, who had since returned, packed Kevin's things. Susan Borelly said later that she told Kevin that the county "wanted him to meet his new mom and dad. He said, 'I'll be scared. Mommy and Daddy are here'." They said they bid their final good-byes to Kevin as Susan Borelly fastened him into a carseat in a county vehicle. He was gone by 11 a.m. Randall Borelly said that Kevin's foster siblings did not get a chance to say good-bye. "They expected to see him when they came home [from school]," he said. James L. Forsythe, director of the county's Department of Children, Youth and Families, said confidentiality requirements prevented him from explaining why the child was removed ahead of schedule. He did say, however, that children to be adopted almost always meet with their new families prior to moving in with them. In addition, Forsythe would not say why the two caseworkers called police. Uwchlan Township Police Chief J. Patrick Davis said his department was contacted because the two social workers said they were "meeting resistance." The Borellys denied that. The sister, Beth Sweeney of Wisconsin, said she told the case workers that they were early and to come back at 11 o'clock. In addition, she said she wanted to take Kevin to the store before returning at that time. Davis said two officers were dispatched to ensure that the handoff went smoothly, which it did. Last year, the Borellys sought to adopt a niece, Danielle. But the county told the department that they could adopt only one because the county restricts families from adopting more than one child per year, unless the children are related. The Borellys adopted the girl, with the hope of reapplying to adopt Kevin in a year. But last week, the Borellys were told that Kevin was being adopted by a family in Central Pennsylvania and that the new family would visit yesterday before returning to collect him tomorrow. Adoption experts deplored the decision to remove Kevin from his home two days before promised. Transitions from foster to permanent care are already traumatic, they said, let alone trying to accomplish it in one day. "The child needs to be prepared because, psychologically, he has bonded with the family," said Gloria Hochman, a spokeswoman for the National Adoption Center in Philadelphia. "To him, those are his parents. A child that age doesn't know the difference between foster and adopt." A spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare said it reviewed the Borelly family's case but is powerless to intervene. Adoption policies are set at the county level. "We understand from the county this was a difficult decision to make," said Stacey Ward, the spokeswoman. "After reviewing their policies and procedures, we were able to determine that they followed everything correctly. There is no action we at this level can take to overturn their decision." A psychologist who examined Kevin and the Borelly family in December at the family's request said it was unnecessary to move Kevin, who is black, from the white family because he had become acclimated. Not only had Kevin bonded to the parents, Bruce E. Mapes, of Exton, said in a written report, but he bonded to Danielle, 11, and the father's stepchildren, David, 15 and Emily, 12. But the Borellys said that they believe the county preferred to put Kevin, who is black, with a black family. It is illegal to guide adoptions according to race. Michael Churchill, chief counsel for the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia, said the county's "outrageous" actions at removing the child yesterday suggested that race was a factor. "It is certainly hard to understand what else would lead them to do what is so harmful to the child," said Churchill, who represented a Downingtown couple in a similar case. In 1995, B. William and Debra Fell sued unsuccessfully to retain custody of a 4-year-old girl who had lived with them since she was 3-months-old. In a civil rights filing, the Fells, who are white, charged that the county used "racial matching" when it sent the child, who was black, to live with a Maryland social worker, who was also black. Churchill said he doubted that any child-welfare expert would recommend uprooting a young child from a longtime, loving environment. "Once again, it appears that adult concerns are preventing them from seeing what this child really needs: staying with a loving, caring family." --------------------------------------------------------------------------------


  1. ...for the good of the county...
    ...for the good of the state...
    ...for the good of the mand and woman this child has never met...

    I'm sorry, but did anyone consider the good of the child who already thought he had a mommy and daddy?

  2. Anonymous3:31 PM

    That is so sad.

  3. Anonymous4:23 PM

    un-freakin' real. this breaks my heart.

  4. Anonymous8:53 PM

    So is the issue here that (1) Kevin was moved from his foster home to his adoptive home early? (2) Was it that the Borelly's weren't allowed to adopt him because they'd already adopted one child that year? Or (3) is it that Kevin was removed from a white family and placed with a black one?

    If it's (1) then I think the foster family should have handled it better. Yes, they're early but they knew it was going to happen and while they have every right to be upset and ask for the opportunity for the family to say goodbye, I don't see what right they have to be so vocal about this. They're foster parents and he was going to live with his adoptive parents, they should have supported the child and worried about their own feelings later.

    If it was (2) and they'd done all they could do to try to adopt the child then once again I think the foster parents need to look at why they're fostering. The whole point of being a foster parent is to provide a safe loving home for a child until a permament home (preferably with biological family) can be found. They have no right to adopt him, they should be upset to say goodbye, but they should be happy that they've found an adoptive home for him.

    And if it was (3) I honestly don't see what's so bad about that. Whatever the rules are, if you have a black family and a white family who are both suitable to be adoptive families and you have a black child to place, I don't think it would be hard to choose. It's like if you had a Chinese girl to place and you had a Chinese family and a white family. Racial heritage is an important part of who we are, and if a child is able to be placed with a suitable family who shares that heritage I think that's always preferable except in a case where the child was already living with the family, then I think that family should come first.

    But hey, I'm always the one with the unpopular opinions. :)

  5. No you are the voice of reason :) That's why I love you dear. I was reading up and this county has a reputation of having a very bad foster program to the point where some parents have pulled out because of the way things are run.

    I think there is more to this story than the media is reporting... only time will tell.

  6. Anonymous12:33 AM

    Yeah, I'd be very interested in hearing about anything else that comes out about this case.

  7. Anonymous10:09 PM

    I don't think this is the first time Chester County has removed a black foster child just because the white foster family wants to adopt. This happened in our Downingtown church, not so many years ago - a wonderful foster family, taken black and bi-racial kids, and tried to adopt a little black girl they'd cared for for many years - she was 4 or 5, I believe - and had lived with them since infancy. And as soon as they asked, she was suddenly pulled and placed elsewhere. The child was ripped from the only home she knew, from a two-parent, stay-at-home-mom family, to be adopted by an out-of-state, working-single-mom.

    This is not to say that working single moms don't deserve to adopt, but why this girl, who could never find an adoptive home until the day her foster family tried to adopt her?

    Because her foster family was white, and she was black.

    They won their case, I recall, because in the years since, they have adopted other black and bi-racial kids from the foster system. But they lost her, because they loved her enough to try and adopt her.

  8. Anonymous7:13 PM

    The protests of this FOSTER FAMILY are ludicrous!

    If you follow the articles it would make one wonder, but the reality is that they BLOCKED several perfectly suitable families from adopting this child. How long should any child need to wait while they adopted their relative…who incidentally was white? Why should a child who is wanted need to wait for them to determine if they want him or not… much less wait until the time is suitable. As I read it, the FOSTER family decided to adopt the wife’s niece first and unfortunately, there after looked into adopting the foster child.

    There are two many children waiting and too many parents waiting for the child that fits their criteria. If this child met the criteria for a couple and was available, which the news says he was…why shouldn’t he be allowed to go?

    I think the press is running with this story, because it is an opportunity to provide example of "reverse discrimination." The very fact that the FOSTER parents have no regard for the privacy of this child, as his NAME is everywhere and then to drag in the grandmother… where was she when the child was up for parental termination? By the way!? What credibility does she have?! Can you say ... EXPLOITING the disadvantaged?

    The other similar case sited in this post…again, ludicrous. The child sat in one family’s foster care home for 4 years! When did they decide they wanted to adopt the child! The day someone… REALLY wanted the child. Why do Black children need to linger in an already overcrowded system?

    1. Anyone going into FOSTER CARE goes into it, fully understanding they are to be segregates in the process toward a home.

    2. My opinion sides with the perspective there is more to this story.

  9. Anonymous11:34 PM

    That is SO sad. Can you imagine how devastated all involved were/are? Unimaginably cruel.


  10. Anonymous8:59 PM

    That poor little boy.

  11. Anonymous12:49 AM

    the Borelly's were forced by CYF to adopt the niece first(whose mother had died,and there was no Dad), then they pulled Kevin out. Pls see for the details.
    We are all still fighting for him, and i know the kid and the family, this is totally about RACE.
    That kid was terrified and God knows what he is going through now.
    I pray for him and the Borelly's every day.