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, or
- Informal telephone conference calls with state child welfare administrators, legislators and legislative staff in other states to discuss their experiences with child welfare reform.
FOSTERING CONNECTIONS TO SUCCESS ACT of 2008
The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act (H.R. 6893/P.L. 110-351) of 2008 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.
FOSTERING CONNECTIONS LEGISLATIVE HIGHLIGHT: Adoption
Under the Fostering Connections Act, child welfare agencies are required to inform prospective adoptive parents of their eligibility for the adoption tax credit. For adoptions finalized in 2011, eligible adoptive parents can claim up to $13,360 per child.
An example of enacted legislation related to the adoption tax credit includes:
- California 2009 SB 597, Chap. 339: Makes amendments necessary to be consistent with the requirements set forth in the federal Fostering Connections Act. These include requiring the State Department of Social Services to exercise diligence to identify and provide notice to all adult grandparents and close relatives of the child; requiring the Department, in consultation with pediatricians, health care experts, and experts in and recipients of child welfare services to develop a plan for the ongoing oversight and coordination of health care services for a child in a foster care placement; and requiring the department or licensed adoption agency to provide information regarding the federal adoption tax credit for any individual who is adopting or considering adopting a child in foster care.
CHILD WELFARE AND THE COURTS: Courts Consulting with Children
A number of states have enacted legislation requiring courts to consult with children in an age-appropriate manner. The federal Child and Family Services Improvement Act modified the definition of “case review system” to require states to enact procedures to ensure that courts conducting foster care permanency planning hearings consult with the child, in an age-appropriate manner, regarding the child’s permanency plan. This communication gives children an opportunity to express their opinions in their own words and allows for participation of children in juvenile court permanency hearings.
Following are examples of enacted legislation:
- 2010 Maine Laws, HP 1151, LD 1623, Chap. 557: Expands the options in child protection proceedings to consider the wishes of the child in a manner appropriate to the age of the child, including whether the child wishes to participate or be heard in court. In addition, when a child’s expressed views are inconsistent with those of the guardian ad litem, the court shall consider whether to consult with the child directly if the child’s age is appropriate.
- 2010 MD HB161, Chap. 655: Requires the juvenile court, in guardianship review hearings, to consult on the record with the child in an age-appropriate manner at least every 12 months.
- In 2007, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Louisiana, Minnesota, Montana, New York, and Texas required courts to consult with a minor, in an age-appropriate manner regarding his or her permanency plan. Click here to view the State Child Welfare Legislation: 2007-2008 Report.
CHILD WELFARE HIGHLIGHTS
Title IV-E Waivers featuring Commissioner Bryan Samuels, ACYF Webinar
The NGA Center, in partnership with the American Public Human Services Association and the Public Consulting Group, Inc., hosted a webinar highlighting the Title IV-E waivers on November 29, 2011. The Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act authorizes the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to approve new Title IV-E waivers though FY 2014 (click here for a summary of the Act). This waiver authority will allow states to waive certain child welfare spending requirements and to test innovative approaches to service delivery and financing, including investment in services to allow children to remain safely at home. HHS is authorized to grant 10 new waivers each year of the next three years. Waivers may be for up to five years with extensions possible through September 30, 2019. To listen to an audio recording of the webinar,click here. To view the Power Point slides, click here.
Evidence Based Practices in Child Welfare Webinar
The National Resource Center for Child Protective Services held a webinar on November 8, 2011 that provided information concerning the California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare (CEBC) and how the CEBC can be a useful and practical resource for those looking to find information on Evidence-Based Practices in the field of Child Welfare. Click here to listen to this webinar.
NCSL CHILD WELFARE QUICK LINKS
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