Child Welfare Newsletter: August 2012
We Can Help You—For Free
NCSL can help state child welfare systems develop ways to safely reduce the number of children in foster care through:
Presentations, informal briefings and testimony before committees and hearings.
Written research and analyses.
Informal telephone conference calls with state child welfare administrators, legislators and legislative staff in other states to discuss their experiences with child welfare reform.
Child Welfare Federal Demonstration Wiver Applications Online
What’s new with Title IV-E child welfare waivers?
Click here to see the new NCSL Title IV-E Child Welfare Waivers Legislators Fact Sheet.
There is still time for states to apply for Title IV-E waivers in FY2013 & FY2014 and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is accepting applications on a “rolling” basis. HHS is making efforts to provide technical assistance to states who notify them that they intend to apply for a waiver.
The following states have proposals on the HHS website. Click on each state to see the proposals: Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin. Click here for more info from HHS, including a proposal checklist.
HHS has the authority to grant up to 30 waiver proposals over a three-year period (10 per FY2012, FY2013 and FY2014) in Child Welfare funding under Title IV-E. These waivers would allow states to use the money received from the federal government for IV-E eligible children in a flexible manner. Waivers generally need to focus on well-being and are not subject to random assignment, which is a change from prior waiver authorities granted. HHS has released eight states' Child Welfare Title IV-E waiver proposals for public review that would be considered as part of the first 10 waivers.
How can state legislators get involved?
First, state legislators can determine if their state child welfare agency is preparing to submit a proposal for a 2012-2014 Child Welfare Demonstration Project, and if the project will require legislative changes to improve child and family outcomes. Legislative leadership is key to examining and promoting any promising approaches proposed for legislative consideration or state implementation. In consultation with key agency leaders, legislators have a critical role in helping to make decisions about how best to target a waiver and in creating an environment that encourages innovation. In addition, legislative support can help child welfare agencies leverage multiple funding streams and develop effective partnerships with other state agencies and service systems to improve outcomes for children and families.
Children Ombudsman Office of the Child Advocate
Children’s Ombudsman Offices, also known in some jurisdictions as Office of the Child Advocate, have been established at the state level in order to assist in providing oversight of children’s services. Currently, approximately twenty-two states have established a Children’s Ombudsman/ Office of the Child Advocate with duties and purposes specifically related to children’s services. Another five states have a statewide Ombudsman program which address the concerns of all governmental agencies, including children’s services. Nine states have related Ombudsman services, program specific services, or county run programs.
Click here to view NCSL’s August 2012 Children’s Ombudsman/Office of the Child Advocate Chart that provides state-by-state details, including links to enabling legislation and website, year established, jurisdiction and location within state government, appointment/qualifications and duties and powers of the Ombudsman or Advocate.
Child Welfare Reports
According to a new guide from the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, teen girls in foster care are 2.5 times more likely than their peers not in foster care to get pregnant by age 19. Half of 21-year-old men aging out of foster care report they had gotten someone pregnant. Children born to teen mothers are at increased risk of child welfare involvement; child welfare costs account for one quarter of total public spending related to teen childbearing. “Preventing Teen Pregnancy Through Outreach and Engagement: Tips for Working with Foster Care and Juvenile Justice” contains tips on kinds of data to gather in your state to address this issue, information on the connection between teen pregnancy, child welfare and juvenile justice, potential state partners to engage and information on the crossover between the foster care and juvenile justice systems.
From the National Resource Center for Youth Development, “Making Healthy Choices: A Guide on Psychotropic Medications for Youth in Foster Care” was written specifically for foster care youth and is meant to help youth understanding how psychotropic medication can help and what other options are available.
And, please see this Information Bulletin from the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services, which seeks to inform states about resources to address the use of psychotropic medications by children in foster care. The Bulletin also provides information and links to several states’ collaborative programs aimed at improving the oversight of psychotropic medications in foster care:
NCSL Child Welfare Quick Links
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