WE CAN HELP YOU FOR FREE
NCSL can help you develop ways to improve your state’s child welfare system and to safely reduce the number of children in foster care through:
- Onsite presentations, informal briefings and testimony before committees and hearings,
- Written research and analysis, or
- Informal telephone conference calls with child welfare administrators, legislators and legislative staff in other states to discuss their experiences with child welfare reform.
Questions? Contact Nina Williams-Mbengue at 303.856.1559. For questions about the newsletter, contact Kelly Crane at 303.856.1372.
STATE LEGISLATIVE EFFORTS TO SAFELY REDUCE THE NUMBER OF CHILDREN IN FOSTER CARE
States are working to safely reduce the number of children who enter into foster care and the number of children who have been there for long periods of time. One example of a strategy states are using to shorten the length of time children spend in foster care and help expedite their exits from foster care is the use of “permanency roundtables.”
Permanency Roundtables are shifting foster care placement from an incident-based, child-centered focus to a family-centered, permanent home focus. Permanency Roundtables are a two-pronged intervention process to expedite the safe placement of children in permanent homes by collaborating with child welfare experts while also developing the direct care staff’s knowledge of practices that support safe permanency. Georgia, Kentucky and Pennsylvania are currenetly using Permanency Roundtables in their child welfare systems.
- Georgia: In 2008, the Georgia Department of Human Services’ Division of Family and Children Services and Casey Family Programs developed the Permanency Roundtable project. To view the full report detailing the efforts taken by Georgia to address finding permanent homes for children who had been in foster care for long periods of time, click here.
- Kentucky: The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services’ Department for Community Based Services has partnered with Casey Family Programs to establish Casey-Kentucky Permanency Roundtables. To view more information on their Roundtables, click here.
- Pennsylvania: Local Roundtables have begun in Pennsylvania as a joint venture with the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare - Office of Children, Youth & Families and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court - Office of Children & Families in the Courts. To view more information on this initiative, click here.
FOSTERING CONNECTIONS TO SUCCESS
President Bush signed the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 (H.R. 6893/P.L. 110-351) on Oct. 7, 2008. This law helps connect foster children with their relatives, improve health care and education coordination for foster children, support permanent families through relative guardianship, and enhance adoption subsidies and supports to older youth in foster care.
2010 Legislative Highlights: Kinship Guardianship Provision
The kinship guardianship provision of the Fostering Connections Act grants states the option to provide assistance payments to grandparents and other relatives who have assumed legal guardianship of children. Examples of 2010 enacted state legislation related to the kinship guardianship provision of the federal act include:
- Alabama HB 617: Establishes a kinship guardianship subsidy program and sets procedures for establishing kinship guardianships and legal authority of kinship guardians.
- Vermont HB 507: Modifies the permanent guardianship law for children to comply with federal provisions and enable guardians to receive federal guardianship funds.
Click here for information on Fostering Connections related bills that have been introduced in 2010.
Click here for information on Fostering Connections related legislation that was enacted in 2009.
Placement Stability for Children in Foster Care
The Fostering Connections to Success Act added new federal funding to promote and support relative caregivers. The preference for relative and other family-like settings is linked to the notion that such placements promote stability and child well-being more generally. Click here to view a publication from the University of Minnesota School of Social Work that highlights the importance of stability for children in foster care.
UPCOMING CHILD WELFARE EVENTS FOR STATES
There are two informative events for states to participate in that are taking place in August. The details of the events are below.
Webcast on State Child Welfare Financing Strategies
A free webcast on state child welfare financing strategies will take place on Wednesday, August 4, 2010 from 3-4pm EST. No registration is required to participate in the webcast. To view webcast on Wednesday, August 4th, click here.
The National Governors Association Center for Best Practices, in partnership with Casey Family Programs, is offering a webcast to support state work in safely reducing the number of children in foster care. This webcast will bring together national and state experts to discuss state strategies for flexible child welfare financing. It will provide an overview of flexible financing strategies across the country and focus in on the efforts of both Iowa and Massachusetts.
Webinar on Fostering Connections
A free webinar on the tribal provisions of the Fostering Connections Act will take place on Thursday, August 12, 2010 from 3-4:30pm EST. You can register for this event by clicking here.
The Fostering Connections Resource Center and the National Indian Child Welfare Association are offering a free webinar that addresses ways that tribal child welfare can be supported through implementation of the tribal provisions of the Fostering Connections Act. The Fostering Connections Act made sweeping changes to federal law by permitting Tribes to receive direct Title IVE support from the federal government for the first time ever. The Act also provided federal grant funding to support Title IVE plan development for selected Tribes. During this webinar, experts will provide an overview of tribes and child welfare and the impact of Fostering Connections on American Indian/Alaskan Native children.
NCSL CHILD WELFARE QUICK LINKS