Read about the outlook for state fiscal conditions, the effect of the drop in gas prices on states, the ethics of gifts, the debate over motorcycle helmets and state efforts to support home caregivers.Read a rundown on the top public policy issues facing state lawmakers in 2015, state-private sector partnerships for infrastructure, e-cigarettes and taxes and dealing with cuts to mental health programs.
NCSL can help state child welfare systems develop ways to safely reduce the number of children in foster care. We can make presentations, informal briefings, and testimony before committees and hearings; offer written research and analyses; or conduct informal conference calls with state child welfare administrators, legislators and legislative staff in other states to discuss their experiences with child welfare reform.
States grant provisional, emergency or temporary foster care licenses that allow relatives who are waiting for a full license to care for children after certain basic safety checks have been completed. Foster care licenses allow relatives to receive the full foster care rate for children in their care as well as an array of other services. States also grant waivers from certain non-safety requirements, such as limits on the age of a relative caregiver. State Legislatures January 2014 magazine article, "It’s All Relative," describes recent state action to support relative caregivers. The article also links to an online, 50-state chart of related legislation.
View the 50-state chart
By the Numbers
700: The number of new neural connections made every second during the first few years of life.
18 months: Age when disparities in vocabulary first appear in children; differences correlate with parents’ educational level and income.
90-100%: Chance of developmental delays in children with at least six toxic stresses, such as poverty, maltreatment, single parent, mental illness of caregiver, etc.
$4-$9: The range of savings for every dollar invested in early childhood programs for low-income families.
(Source: The Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University)
Read NCSL’s January 2014 State Legislatures magazine article, "Brain Matters," on how states are using research on how the brain develops to shape early childhood policies and programs and mitigate the effects of child maltreatment and trauma. Read the article
Check out The Science of Neglect: The Persistent Absence of Responsive Care Disrupts the Developing Brain to learn more about the extensive biological and developmental research over the past 30 years that has generated substantial evidence that young children who experience severe neglect bear the burdens of a range of adverse consequences. This Working Paper from the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child explains why significant deprivation is so harmful in the earliest years of life and why effective interventions are likely to pay significant dividends in better long-term outcomes in learning, health, and parenting of the next generation. Read the paper
During this session, NCSL identified 296 child welfare-related bills enacted in 44 states.
View the 2013 Child Welfare Legislation Database
These included the following topic areas:
A new LegisBriefby NCSL's Megan Comlossy, "Teen Pregnancy Among Youth in Foster Care," reports young women in foster care are 2.5 times more likely to become pregnant by age 19 than their peers not in the system. Read the LegisBrief
A new report, “Individual Development Account (IDA),” finds these programs are one tool for current and former foster youth to learn money management skills and to build assets to successfully move forward in life.
Read the report
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