WE CAN HELP YOU FOR FREE
NCSL can help state child welfare systems develop strategies to safely reduce the number of children in foster care through:
- 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 experiences 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 that enter into state care. States are doing this through prevention programs such as home visitation.
Home visitation has become an important part of child welfare efforts to support and preserve families, providing support services in the home and connecting isolated families to resources in the community. Nearly every state has enacted legislation around home visitation programs. The increased interest among policymakers in home visiting programs has ignited a number of research efforts that have proven the programs to be an effective method of reaching children and families early. In fact, the National Health Care Reform Act (H.R. 3590) supports efforts by states to invest in home visitation programs by establishing a $1.5 billion federal grant program for state-based home visiting programs serving families with young children and families expecting children. Click here for NCSL’s webpage on home visitation programs and for more information on the legislative role in this funding opportunity for states.
New York’s Home Visiting Program: Programs focusing on at-risk children have been proven effective at reducing the rates of juvenile violence and incarceration, according to a report released by New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli. The report encourages better coordination among state agencies and investing in at-risk children in their early years with strategies that have been proven effective. Click here to read the executive summary of the report.
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 Oct. 7, 2008. This law helps to connect foster children with their relatives, better coordinate the health care and education of foster children, support permanent families through relative guardianship, and enhance adoption subsidies and supports to older youth in foster care.
Legislative Highlight: Health Coordination and Oversight
The Health Oversight and Coordination provision of Fostering Connections requires oversight and coordination of health care services, including mental and dental health care, for foster care youth. The following must be included in the health coordination plan for each child in foster care:
- A schedule for initial and follow-up health screenings,
- How health needs identified through screenings will be treated,
- How medical information for children will be updated and shared,
- Steps to ensure continuity of health care,
- Oversight of prescription medications, and
- How the state consults with physicians and other professionals in assessing the health and well-being of children in foster care.
Georgia introduced a related bill in the current 2011 session. Georgia HB 23 requires the Department of Human Services to establish regulations governing the use of psychotropic medications for foster children in state custody. Requires compliance with the Health Care Oversight and Coordination Plan mandates of the federal Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008, P.L. 110-351.
- Click here for information on Fostering Connections related bills that have been introduced in 2011.
- Click here for information on Fostering Connections related bills that were enacted in 2010.
- Click here for information on Fostering Connections related legislation that was enacted in 2009.
CHILD WELFARE EVENTS AND REPORTS
- Fosteringconnections.org will hold a free webinar series on “Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act: What Court Systems Need to Know” on March 8, 2011 at 2pm EST. The webinar series will give an overview of the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act, explain how it changes current law and focus on what the courts can do to help implement the law. The series will be offered in three parts: Overview and Kinship Issues; Education Provisions; and, Provisions Pertaining to Youth Ages 18-21. For information about how to access the webinars, click here.
- Tufts University Clinical and Translational Science Institute has completed a study entitled "Multi-State Study on Psychotropic Medication Oversight in Foster Care." This 47-state survey examined state policies and practices regarding the oversight of psychotropic medication use (i.e., use of medication for the treatment of behavioral and mental health problems) for children and adolescents ages 2 to 21 years in foster care. Over the past decade, psychotropic medication use in youth has increased, along with concern about the appropriate use of these drugs for foster youth. Fostering Connections also requires that states include a plan for the oversight of prescription medication as part of the health coordination plan for each child in foster care. Click here to view the full report.
NCSL CHILD WELFARE QUICK LINKS