WE CAN HELP YOU FOR FREE!
NCSL can help your work to develop strategies to improve your State’s child welfare system and to safely reduce the number of children in foster care through:
- On-site presentations, informal briefings and testimony before committees and hearings,
- Written research and analysis, or
- Informal telephone conference calls with state child welfare administrators, legislators and legislative staff in other states to discuss their experience in 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 in foster care through reducing the number of children who have been in foster care for long periods of time and reducing the number of children that enter into state care. One example of an effort aimed at reducing the number of children that enter foster care is through Differential Response, which is currently taking place in a number of states, including Ohio.
Differential Response in Child Protective Services
Differential Response, also known as Alternative Response, is a family-engagement approach in child protective services designed to keep children and families together whenever possible. It builds collaborative connections among the child protection agency, community agencies and families to identify issues and meet families’ needs using available supports and services.
Ohio has expanded their Alternative Response Pilot Project to ten counties throughout the state. The enabling legislation, 2006 Ohio Laws, SB 238 Sec. 3, authorized the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services to develop, on a pilot basis, an alternative response approach to reports of child abuse, neglect and dependency. A recent study on this approach identified a number of positive findings. These include a greater involvement from the family in decision making, a higher number of contacts of the caseworker with the family, a reduction in the number of children removed from their parents and placed into foster care, and overall alternative response resulted in positive outcomes for families without compromising child safety. For more information on the results from Ohio’s Alternative Response Pilot Project, click here. To view a full summary of state legislation enacted on Differential Response, click here.
FOSTERING CONNECTIONS TO SUCCESS
President Bush signed into law the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 (H.R. 6893/P.L. 110-351) on October 7, 2008. This new law helps to connect foster children with their relatives, improve the 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. See below for some recent highlights in state legislation in Colorado and Vermont on provisions of Fostering Connections.
- Colorado HB 1274: This bill is currently awaiting the Governor’s signature. It determines that for children in out-of-home placements, the Department of Human Services shall provide notification to the child welfare educational liaison of the pending enrollment in a public school. Establishes that the Department of Human Services and the Department of Education shall enter a memorandum of understanding that includes a consistent and uniform approach to sharing medical, mental health, sociological, and scholastic achievement data about students between a school district, charter school, or institute charter school and the county department of social services to better facilitate the creation of transition plans for those students and ensure the safety of the people in the school community.
- Vermont HB 507: This bill has been enacted in the 2010 legislative session. It modifies the permanent guardianship law for children to comply with new federal provisions and enable guardians to access federal funds for guardianships.
2009 and 2010 State Legislation
- Click here for information on Fostering Connections related legislation that was enacted in 2009.
- Click here for information on Fostering Connections related bills that have been introduced in 2010.
FOSTERING CONNECTIONS EVENTS & RESOURCES FOR STATES
Following is information on resources available to states as well as an upcoming free webinar taking place this month on Fostering Connections.
Fostering Connections Resource Center Webinar
A free webinar on the kinship provisions of the Fostering Connections Act will take place on Thursday, June 17, 2010 from 2-3 PM EDT. You can register for this event by clicking here.
The Fostering Connections Resource Center together with the Children's Defense Fund and Child Focus invite you to join a free webinar on the kinship provisions of the Fostering Connections Act. This webinar will provide an overview of each of the kinship provisions, and will focus in more detail on two of the provisions: (1) the Kinship Guardianship Assistance Program (Kin-GAP) and (2) the new requirement for states to identify and provide notice to relatives when a child is removed from the custody of his or her parents. State officials will also share how their states are implementing Kin-GAP and how this option supports their efforts to promote permanency.
Overlap between McKinney-Vento and Fostering Connections Act: Educational Stability Tools
The Legal Center for Foster Care and Education and the National Center for Homeless Education (NCHE) announces a series of tools about the overlap between the McKinney-Vento and Fostering Connections Acts, and the critical importance of collaboration between the education and child welfare systems to appropriately serve the needs of children in out-of-home care. Each of their publications is accessible by clicking here.
To view NCSL’s publication on education and foster care, “Educating Children in Foster Care: State Legislation 2004-2007”, click here.
IN THE NEXT NEWSLETTER
- Strategies to safely reduce the number of children in foster care
- Highlighted State Child Welfare Programs aimed at reducing the number of children in foster care
- Highlights of the Fostering Connections Act
- And More…
NCSL CHILD WELFARE QUICK LINKS