By Meghan McCann
The federal Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act has major implications for states and requires several policy changes in the areas of child welfare and support.
The law, passed with bipartisan support, was signed by President Obama on Sept. 29,
Major provisions of the act include:
- Requiring child welfare agencies to identify and report foster youth at risk of sex trafficking.
- Requiring states to develop a reasonable and prudent parenting standard so that foster parents can make decisions for youth to help them participate in extracurricular, enrichment, cultural and social activities and increase the speed with which permanency for foster youth is achieved.
To improve child support recovery, the act’s primary requirement is that states adopt the 2008 amendments to the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) to bring it into compliance with the most recent Hague Convention, of which the U.S. is a member.
Currently, all 50 states and D.C. have adopted the original UIFSA and 12 states have enacted the newly required 2008 amendments. Those states are Florida, Georgia, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah and Wisconsin.
In addition to the UIFSA, the act encourages the practice of developing a parenting time schedule at the same time that child support is set and requires a report be made to Congress on effective state child support programs and recommendations for improvements in child support enforcement.
NCSL’s Children and Families Program has developed summaries and resources to inform states and state legislators of the newly enacted requirements. The Child Welfare Project’s Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act of 2014 offers a summary of the various child welfare and child sex trafficking provisions, including a more detailed, printable PDF version.
The Child Support Project’s Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act: Improving Child Support Recovery page has an explanation of the child support provisions, including a map indicating the most recent version of the UIFSA that each state has adopted and a chart of the 12 states that have adopted the 2008 amendments.
Meghan McCann is a policy associate with NCSL’s Children and Families Program and works primarily on child welfare, child support and family law policy.