Congregate Care, Residential Treatment and Group Home State Legislative Enactments 2009—2013


Just over 400,000 American children live in foster care, and some 55,000 reside in group homes, residential treatment facilities, psychiatric institutions and emergency shelters. This type of placement—called “congregate care”—may be beneficial for children who require short-term supervision and structure because their behavior may be dangerous.

However, many officials believe that children who don’t need that type of intense supervision are still in these group placements—depending on the state, between 5 percent and 32 percent—making it harder to find them permanent homes and costing state governments three to five times more than family foster care.

A recent federal analysis of Adoption and Foster Care Analysis (AFCARS) data revealed important information about children and youth placed in congregate care settings in the U.S.  The analysis defined congregate care as “A licensed or approved setting that provides 24 hour care for children in a group home (7-12 children) or an institution (12 or more children).  These settings may include a child care institution, a residential treatment facility or a maternity home.”

How many children are in congregate care settings?

As of September 30, 2013, there were 55,916 children and youth in congregate care in the U.S. This represents a 37% decline over the past decade - faster than the 21% decline in the overall numbers of children in foster care.

Why are children placed in congregate care?

Children and youth are placed in congregate care settings for a variety of reasons. As of September 30, 2013, 36% of children in congregate care had a DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – the standard classification of mental health disorders) diagnosis; 45% had a child behavior problem; 10% had a disability; and, 28% had no clinical indicators.

How long do children stay in congregate care?

Children placed in congregate care were in care for an average of 8 months, compared to 11 months for children in other types of care.  However, children who spent time in congregate care spent an average of 28 months in foster care compared with 21 months total time in care for children in other types of care.

  • 36% spent less than 60 days in congregate care
  • 5% spent 61 to 90 days in care
  • 35% spent 91 days to 1 year
  • 24% spent more than 1 year in congregate care

Who are the children in congregate care?

Age – Average age to enter congregate care was 14.

Race – 30% of children in congregate care were African-American, 40% are White; nearly 20% were Hispanic; less than 1% were Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander; less than 1% were Asian; 1.6% were American Indian/Alaska Native.

Sex – 62% were male; 37% were female

What does the research say about congregate care?

Research indicates that children, especially those ages 12 and under, should be placed in the least restrictive, most family-like settings possible. It is critical that infants and young children should be allowed to develop healthy, secure attachments with adults who are consistently available. Youth who live in institutional settings are at greater risk of developing physical, emotional and behavioral problems that can lead to school failure, teen pregnancy, homelessness, unemployment and incarceration and are less likely to find a permanent home than those who live in family foster care.

Several proven effective interventions, such as Multisystemic Therapy (effective in reducing sexual behavior problems, substance use, and delinquency) and Multidimensional Treatment Foster Care (a community-based treatment program proven to reduce juvenile offender recidivism) are programs delivered in family and community-based settings.

How can states further reduce reliance on congregate care?

According to a recent federal analysis of states’ use of congregate care, states have used several broad strategies to reduce the placement of young children into congregate care:

  • Unified statewide strategic plans
  • Leadership and workforce development
  • Prevention and early intervention
  • Strengthening of community-based services
  • Address barriers to services
  • Statewide treatment-focused foster care model
  • Flexibility in service provision

Other approaches have included:

  • Alternative placement programs
  • Early trauma screening assessments and treatment
  • More specialized data collection systems
  • Development of multidisciplinary committees to review assessment and placement recommendations

What have state legislatures done regarding congregate care?

Child welfare agencies are working to reduce the use of congregate care by reinvesting funds into family-based and prevention services and changing policies to favor family placements and discourage congregate care. For example, some states have lowered the number of beds in group facilities and increased the number of family foster homes. Other states are including children and families in the decisions made on where children should be placed and what resources families might need to keep their children home safely.

NCSL reviewed state congregate care legislative enactments from 2009 through 2013. The following topic areas were identified for policy related to children’s placement in congregate or group care: assessments to determine the level of care; the authorization of commissions and task forces to examine the state’s use of congregate care; the role of the courts; educational outcomes for children in group care; funding; the oversight and administration of psychotropic medications for children in congregate care; protection from abuse; reducing reliance on congregate care/promotion of community-based care; rights of children in foster care; state oversight/licensing of residential facilities; statewide plans for behavioral health; training; and Tribes.

Below are state legislative enactments from 2005-2013 related to congregate care and residential treatment or group homes.

The topics identified in the scan include: Assessments to Determine Level of Care; Commissions/Task Forces/Annual Reports; Courts; Educational Outcomes; Funding; Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children/Out-of-State Placement of Children; Oversight and Administration of Psychotropic Medications; Protection from Abuse; Reduce Reliance on Congregate Care/Promotion of Community-Based Care; Rights of Children in Foster Care; State Oversight of Residential Facilities/Licensing; Statewide Plans for Behavioral Health and Health; Training; Tribes; and Other.

Enacted State Legislation 2009-2013
State Citation Summary

Assessments to Determine Level of Care


2010 Minn. Laws, HB 2912, Chap. 303


Stipulates that all children referred for treatment of severe emotional disturbance in a treatment foster care setting or residential treatment facility or informally admitted to a regional treatment center shall, prior to admission, undergo an assessment to determine the appropriate level of care if public funds are used to pay for the services, except in the case of an emergency admission.

Commissions/Task Forces/Studies/Annual Reports

West Virginia


2010 W.V. Acts, SB 636, Chap. 25

Creates a commission to study the residential placement of children who are in need of or at risk of needing social, emotional and behavioral health services. The law finds that the existing categorical structure of government programs and their funding streams discourage collaboration, resulting in duplication of efforts and a waste of limited resources. It establishes a mechanism to achieve systemic reform by which all the state’s child-serving agencies involved in the residential placement of at-risk youth jointly and continually study and improve the current system and make recommendations to their respective agencies and to the Legislature regarding funding and statutory, regulatory and policy changes.


2009 Conn. Acts, HB 5915, P.A. 96


Directs the Commissioner of Children and Families to submit an annual report that includes the following information on children and youth in the custody of the Department of Children and Families: (1) The number and age of such children and youth who are living in a psychiatric hospital or out-of-state residential treatment center, the average length of stay for such children and youth, the number of children and youth who have overstayed their estimated placement time in such placements and an analysis of the reasons for the placements out of state and the overstays; (2) the number and age of such children and youth who are runaways or homeless, the number of days that each child or youth has been a runaway or homeless and an analysis of the trends related to runaways and homelessness; (3) the number and age of children and youth who have a permanency plan of another planned permanent living arrangement and an analysis of the trends related to permanency plans; and (4) the number and age of children and youth who have refused services offered by the Department and an analysis of the trends related to participation in services. The Commissioner shall conduct case and service reviews for each child in the groups described.


2009 Miss. Laws, HB 665, Chap. 555


Creates a joint legislative study committee to address child and family issues by creating a youth development program and small group homes and community-based programs, and by implementing a statewide youth advisory council.



2013 House Bill 86,

Act No. 164

Relates to the Child Protection Act, Children in Need of Supervision Act and Juvenile Justice Act, provides that any court order regarding potential placement at a psychiatric residential treatment facility shall not specify a particular psychiatric residential treatment facility or level of care for the placement of the child.


2011 Wis. Laws, AB 30, Act 87


Creates an alternate procedure by which a parent may, without court involvement, delegate certain parental powers to an agent by a power of attorney, in cases related to the care and custody of a child. The law provides that delegation of parental powers does not deprive a parent of any of his or her powers regarding the care and custody of the child. In addition, a parent may revoke the delegation of parental powers at any time by executing a written revocation and notifying the agent in writing. It further provides that a parent may not place a child in foster care, a group home or an inpatient treatment facility by means of a delegation of parental powers as provided under this act. Under this act, as under current law, such placements may be made only by court order. The law provides that a delegation of parental powers does not prevent an agency, a sheriff or a police department from receiving and investigating a report of suspected or threatened abuse or neglect of the child; the child from being taken into and held in custody; an intake worker from conducting an intake inquiry; and a court from exercising jurisdiction over the child.

Educational Outcomes


2013 Senate Bill 115
Act No. 36

Provides that a child in custody of the Department of Justice, the Department of Human Services or the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities is eligible for enrollment in local educational programs, including special education, provides that no child in a youth development center, regardless of custody status, is eligible for enrollment in local educational programs.

South Dakota

2013 Senate Bill 158, Act No. 77

Provides for the funding by school districts of educational programs for children in residential treatment centers, intensive residential treatment centers, or licensed group care centers.


2010 Colo., Sess. Laws, HB 1274, Chap. 271


Requires that the Department of Human Services and the Department of Education enter into a memorandum of understanding concerning enrollment of students in the public school system from a state-licensed day treatment facility, facility school or hospital-licensed school. The law describes the purpose of the memorandum as collaborating in placement of students, better facilitating creation of plans for transitioning students to public school systems and ensuring safety of people in the school community.


2009 Mo. Laws, HB 481


Sec. 173.270.1: Requires the coordinating board for higher education to make provisions for institutions under the board’s jurisdiction to award a tuition and fee waiver for undergraduate courses at state institutions of higher education for any student, beginning with incoming freshmen in the 2010 fall semester or term, who (a) is a resident of the state;  (b) has graduated within the previous 3 years from high school or passed the GED examination; and (c) has been in foster care or other residential care under the Department of Social Services on or after (a) the day preceding the student’s 18th birthday; (b) the day of the student’s 14th birthday, if the student was also eligible for adoption on or after that day; or (c) the day the student graduated from high school or received a GED. To be eligible for a waiver award, a student shall apply to and be accepted at the institution not later than (a) the third anniversary of the date the student was discharged from foster or other residential care, the date the student graduated from high school, or the date the student received a GED, whichever is earliest; or (b) the student’s 21st birthday. Lawmakers also extended state tuition and fee waivers to foster children.


2009 Wash. Laws, HB 1961, Chap. 235


Allows for the continued foster care or group care and necessary support and transition services to youth ages 18–21 who are enrolled and participating in a post-high school academic or vocational program.


 New Hampshire

2013 HOUSE Bill 486,

Act No. 2013-12 

Makes a supplemental appropriation to the Department of Health and Human Services for the purpose of paying residential care providers at the Chase Home for Children.


2012 Assembly Bill 1712,

Act No. 846

Relates to expanded foster care payments. Includes THP-Plus Foster Care within the definition of a community care facility.

North Carolina

2011 N.C. Sess. Laws, HB 200, Chap. 145


Sec. 108A-49.1 (d): Requires that the state and a county participating in foster care and adoption assistance shall each contribute 50 percent of the nonfederal share of the cost of care for a child placed by a county department of social services or child-placing agency in a family foster home or residential child care facility. A county shall be held harmless from contributing 50 percent of the nonfederal share of the cost for a child placed in a family foster home or residential child care facility under an agreement with that provider as of Oct. 31, 2008, until the child leaves foster care or experiences a placement change.


2011 Tex. Gen. Laws, SB 218, Chap. 598


Sec. 11: Authorizes the Health and Human Services Commission to use alternative payment rates for foster care under the newly redesigned system for 24-hour residential child care. The law also allows the alternative rates to include incentive payments and funding for additional services. It prohibits the alternative rates from exceeding the amounts appropriated for foster care and other purchased services for any fiscal year, except to the extent that an increase in total foster care expenditures is the direct result of caseload growth.


2009 Cal. Stats., AB 295, Chap. 427


Extends the availability of funds appropriated for adoption activities to specified counties to provide pre- and post-adoption services to ensure the successful adoption of children and youth who have been in foster care 18 months or more, are at least nine years of age, and are placed in an unrelated foster home or in a group home.


2009 Ind. Acts, SB 365, P.L. 131

Establishes that the Department of Child Services is responsible for the cost of treatment or maintenance of a child under the department’s custody or supervision who is placed by or with the consent of the Department of Child Services in a state institution, only if the costs are reimbursable under the state Medicaid program.


2009 Tex. Gen. Laws, SB 2080, Chap. 1238


Authorizes a relative or other designated caregiver who becomes licensed by the DFPS to operate a foster home, group home, agency foster home or agency foster group to receive foster care payments in lieu of certain benefits.

Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children/Out-of-State Placement of Children


2013 HOUSE Bill 1849,
Act No. 751

Amends provisions of the interstate compact on the placement of children, provides that foster care shall not include placement in a residential facility by a parent if a child welfare agency or court is not involved with the parent or child through an open case or investigation, redefines priority placement to include when a child is moved between states to be placed with a relative and there is an unexpected dependency due to a parent's incarceration, incapacitation or death.


2012 Senate Bill 366,
Act No. 82

Revises the interstate compact on the placement of children, provides that regulations shall not prohibit the placement of a nonresident child in a children's residential facility in the Commonwealth by a custodial parent who assumes full financial responsibility for the child prior to final approval of the placement pursuant to the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children when the placement is made without the involvement of a public officer or agency.


2011 Mich. Pub. Acts, HB 4526, Act 63


Sec. 513: Requires that the Department of Human Services not expend money to pay for direct placement by the department of a child in an out-of-state facility, without the approval of the deputy director for Human Services, unless there is no available placement in the state, an out-of-state placement exists that is closer to the child’s home than an in-state placement, the out-of-state facility meets all licensing standards of the state where it is located, and the department has conducted an onsite visit to the out-of-state facility. The department must submit a report by Feb. 1 of each year on the number of children who were placed in out-of-state facilities during the previous fiscal year, the number of Michigan children residing in such facilities at the time of the report, the total cost and average per diem cost of these out-of-state placements to the state, and a list of each such placement arranged by the Michigan county of residence for each child.


Sec. 532: Requires the Department of Human Services, in collaboration with representatives of private child and family agencies, to revise and improve the annual licensing review process and the annual contract compliance review process for child-placing agencies and child-caring institutions. The improvement goals shall be to provide safety and care for children while alleviating administrative burdens so that agency resources may be focused on children. The department shall report to the Senate and House appropriations subcommittees on the department’s budget, and to the Senate and House fiscal agencies and policy offices and the state budget director on or before Jan. 15 of the current fiscal year on the findings of the annual licensing review. The department shall conduct licensing reviews no more than once every two years for child-placing agencies and child-care institutions that are nationally accredited and have no outstanding violations.


Sec. 539: Instructs the Department of Human Services to work in collaboration with representatives from child-placing agencies to ensure the appropriate placement for children who have been adjudicated abused, neglected or delinquent and for whom residential treatment is required. The department and the representatives from the child-placing agencies shall focus on statewide placement criteria to address the best interests of the child in need of services. The placement criteria shall include a continuum of care settings and options as appropriate for each child, including home placements, relative placements, shelter placements and other options.

Oversight and Administration of Psychotropic Medications


2011 Ill. Laws, HB 286, P.A. 245


Creates the Administration of Psychotropic Medications to Children Act. The law requires the Department of Children and Family Services to promulgate rules establishing and maintaining standards and procedures to govern the administration of psychotropic medications to children and youth in state care. Such rules shall include administration to youth in correctional facilities, residential facilities, group homes and psychiatric hospitals.


2011 Nev. Stats., SB 246, Chap. 259


Requires a medical facility that accepts custody of children pursuant to a court order to adopt a policy concerning administration and management of medication to such children and to ensure that each employee of the medical facility who will administer medication to a child in the facility receives a copy of and understands the policy. The law imposes the same requirement on 1) a public or private institution or agency to which a juvenile court commits a child, 2) a state facility for detention or commitment of children, 3) a specialized foster home or a group foster home, 4) a child care facility that occasionally or regularly has physical custody of children pursuant to the order of a court, and 5) a treatment facility and any other facility of the Division of Child and Family Services into which a child may be committed by a court order.

Protection From Abuse

New York

2012 Senate Bill 7749,
Chapter 501

Enacts the Protection of People with Special Needs Act, enacts various provisions for the protection of persons in state operated and licensed facilities from abuse, neglect and mistreatment.


Establishes the justice center for the protection of people with special needs, addresses the protection of students in residential care, background checks of providers and their employees, and an abuse prevention notification system.


2011 Ark. Acts, SB 626, Act 792

Sec. 1: Amends the definition of abuse to allow for reasonable restraint if the person exercising the restraint is acting in an official capacity while on duty at a residential child care facility or the residential child care facility is exempt from licensure under the Child Welfare Agency Licensing Act.


2011 Colo. Session Laws, SB 120, Chap. 102

Establishes certain protections for the rights of youth in foster care, except for those in the custody of the Division of Youth Corrections or a state mental hospital. These include freedom from administration of prescription medication unless authorized by a physician; promotion of school stability that presumes a youth will remain in his or her current school at the time of placement, unless remaining in that school is not in the child’s best interests; and freedom to maintain an emancipation bank account. To help protect youth against identity theft, the court shall ensure that each youth in foster care who is age 16 to 18 receives a free credit report. In addition, foster parents and group home parents must make reasonable efforts to allow a youth in their care to participate in extracurricular, cultural, educational, work-related and personal enrichment activities.


2011 Nev. Stats., AB 536, Chap. 514


Requires all facilities that provide residential services to children to require criminal history investigations of all facility license holders, employees and certain residents of the facility. The law offers further protection to children by requiring such facilities to terminate the employment of certain people based on the results of the criminal history investigation and to require these background investigations every five years.

Puerto Rico

2011 PR Sess. Laws, L 0163


Prohibits those subject to the Registry of Persons Convicted of Sexually Violent Crimes and Abuse Against Children from establishing residence within 500 feet of any elementary, middle or high school or any institution or child care establishment.


2011 Tex. Gen. Laws, SB 653, Chap. 85

Sec. 203.014: Requires the Department of Family and Protective Services to establish a permanent, 24-hour, toll-free number for information about the abuse, neglect or exploitation of children in the custody of the Texas Juvenile Justice Department. The law further requires that the number be prominently displayed in each department facility and that children in custody have confidential access to telephones to call the toll-free number. The Texas Juvenile Justice Department must share complaints received on the toll-free number with the Office of the Inspector General and the Office of the Independent Ombudsman.


2010 Ariz. Sess. Laws, SB 1091, Chap. 161

Requires child protective service workers to accept, screen and assess reports of abuse or neglect in residential treatment centers or in behavioral health residential agencies that are licensed by the Department of Health Services.


2010 Okla. Sess. Laws, SB 1830, Chap. 220


Stipulates Department of Human Services (DHS) responsibilities when a DHS assessment or investigation results in a report of alleged abuse or neglect of a child placed in an Office of Juvenile Affairs secure facility. The law requires the DHS to immediately make a referral, either verbally or in writing, to the appropriate law enforcement agency for the purpose of conducting a possible criminal investigation. After making the referral to the law enforcement agency, the DHS shall not be responsible for further investigation.


2010 Va. Acts, HB 411, Chap. 551

Requires the Department of Social Services to make available information about shaken baby syndrome, its effects and resources. The law stipulates that the information be available in print and audiovisual formats on a Web site maintained by the department and that the department inform every child welfare program licensed by the department about the information. The legislation also requires that information about shaken baby syndrome be made available to foster and adoptive parents and to staff of child day programs and children’s residential facilities.


2009 Nev. Stats., AB 103, Chap. 2


Provides for the audit, inspection, review and survey of governmental facilities for children to determine whether such facilities adequately protect the health, safety and welfare of the children. Defines governmental facility for children as any facility, detention center, treatment center, hospital, institution, group shelter or other establishment that is owned or operated by a governmental entity and that has physical custody of children.

Reduce Reliance on Congregate Care/Promote Community-Based Care


2013 Senate Bill 255,

Act No. 171

Requires the Division of Child and Family Services to make a report to the 2013 Health and Human Services Interim Committee on: shifting resources and staff to in-home services, proposals aimed at keeping sibling groups together, as much as possible, and providing necessary services to structured foster families to avoid sending foster children to proctor homes, the disparity between foster care payments and adoption subsidies, and whether an adjustment to those rates could result in savings to the state.


2012 House Bill 294,
Act No. 158

Creates the Impact Plus Program of community-based behavioral health services. The program is built on the principles of the Kentucky IMPACT program and is available for Medicaid-eligible children only. The program is designed to provide community-based services for eligible children with complex behavioral health needs.  Children being served by IMPACT Plus must also be identified as having severe emotional disability and complex treatment needs. These children are at risk of institutional, hospital or other out-of-home placements.


2012 Senate Bill 2410,

Act No. 240-2012

Establishes a network of child and family service programs and family resource centers to provide community-based services to families with children requiring assistance, includes habitually truant, residential programs and special education, develops standards for a comprehensive and integrated network of services, requires a standard intake screening and assessment tool, includes medical and mental health needs, creates a data collection system, provides exemptions to public records.


2011 Nev. Stats., SB 111, Chap. 236

Requires each agency that provides child welfare services to develop and implement a written plan to ensure that the provisions and exceptions for placing a child in protective custody are understood and carried out. These provisions include that a child who is under age 6 and is in protective custody cannot be placed into a child care institution unless appropriate foster care is not available at the time of the placement or certain other conditions are met, including that the medical needs of the child cannot be met at any other placement or that the placement is necessary to avoid separating siblings.


2011 Va. Acts, HB 1984, Chap. 9


Establishes that, in cases where a child cannot be returned to his or her family or cannot be placed for adoption or where kinship care is not in the best interests of the child, the Department of Social Services shall consider other placements and services that afford the best alternative for protecting the child’s welfare. These include family foster care; treatment foster care and residential services; and services such as wraparound, respite, mentoring, adoption support and crisis stabilization that may be in the best interests of the child.


2010 Cal. Stats., AB 1758, Chap. 561


Authorizes all counties to provide children with service alternatives to group home care through development of expanded family-based services programs, including individualized or “wraparound” services. Wraparound services are community-based intervention services that emphasize the strengths of the child and family and include coordinated, highly individualized, unconditional services to address needs and achieve positive outcomes in their lives. These services are available to a child living with his or her birth parent, relative, non-relative extended family member, adoptive parent, licensed or certified foster parent, or guardian. The law authorizes a county to develop and implement a plan for providing wraparound services designed to enable children who would otherwise be placed in a group home setting to remain in the least restrictive, most family-like setting possible. It also imposes specified evaluation and reporting requirements for participating counties and training requirements for staff in these counties.

North Dakota

2009 N.D. Sess. Laws, SB 2355, Chap. 476


Requires the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to establish a pilot program in the South Central Judicial District to provide short-term shelter, and assessment and intervention services for at-risk children and youth. Provides that the program must include placement of at-risk children and youth, a professional assessment and family reunification services as an alternative to foster care or group care. Provides that the shelter facility must be non-secure and approved by the juvenile court.

Rights of Children in Foster Care


2011 Nev. Stats., AB 154, Chap. 133


Secs. 3−5: Establishes certain rights of children who are placed in foster homes. The law standardizes rights for children in foster care among foster care and treatment providers. It ensures consistency of care for children among the various types of care provided. It brings issues related to the Bill of Rights for Children in Foster Care into one place in the statute to allow more effective communication among families. The law also sets a standard so that all foster children are afforded the same basic rights.


Sec. 6: Requires a provider of family foster care that places a child in a foster home to inform the child of his or her rights and to provide the child with a written copy of those rights. The law requires each group foster home that provides care to more than six children to post a written copy of these rights in the group foster home.


Sec. 7: Authorizes a provider of family foster care to place reasonable restrictions on the rights of a child based upon the time, place and manner of a child’s exercise of those rights if such restrictions are necessary to preserve the order or safety of the foster home.


Sec. 8: Authorizes a child placed in foster care who believes that his or her rights as set forth in this law have been violated to raise and redress a grievance with any of a number of people or institutions responsible for the child.

State Oversight of Residential Facilities/Licensing


2013 House Bill 7129,

Act No. 2013-219

Provides accreditation requirements for boarding schools; authorizes DCF to impose administrative sanctions or civil remedies when residential group care is being provided without license; requires background screening for certain boarding school personnel; requires boarding schools to follow standard school schedules; provides for fines.


2013 Senate Bill 511,

Act No. 179

Relates to human services licensing and certification, relates to residents in children's homes, emergency children's shelters and children's residential child care facilities, provides for intermediate care facilities for persons with developmental disabilities, requires state surveys of such facilities, provides for parent training.


2011 Mich. Pub. Acts, SB 437, Act 227


Sec. 3: (1) Provides that a child under age 17, whose support and education have been provided under the regulations of the Department of Human Services, may be admitted to the Michigan Children’s Institute by commitment to the department. The law requires all children committed to the Michigan Children’s Institute to be subject to review by the juvenile division of the probate court. It requires that the superintendent of the institute represent the state as guardian of each child committed, beginning with the day the child is admitted and continuing until the child is age 19, unless the superintendent or the department discharges the child sooner or if the child is at least age 18 but younger than age 21 and is participating in the extended foster care services of the Young Adult Voluntary Foster Care Act. Wherever commitment to the Michigan Children’s Institute is mentioned in any law of this state, it shall be construed to mean commitment to the department. A child may be committed to the department by the juvenile division of the probate court, if the child is within the court’s jurisdiction; by the probate court, if the child is a ward of the court and the court has denied an order of adoption for the child; or by observation order. If a child has been decreed to be a ward of the probate court or the juvenile division of the probate court has acquired formal jurisdiction of a child because of the circumstances of the case or because the child’s condition might be benefited, the court may make a temporary commitment to the department and direct that the child be taken to a facility of the Michigan Children’s Institute for observation for a period not to exceed 90 days. (2) The superintendent of the institute has the power to make decisions on behalf of a child committed to the institute. The attorney general or his or her representative shall represent the institute’s superintendent in any court proceeding in which the superintendent considers such representation necessary to carry out his or her duties.



2011 Mich. Pub. Acts, SB 440, Act 230

Requires that foster care financed by a county department be provided through use of licensed child care institutions or placement agencies, in accordance with the needs of the child. If licensed child care institutions or placement agencies are not available or there is a religious conflict, foster care shall be provided under the direct supervision of the county department. The law requires that such care meet standards related to training and experience; maintenance of adequate records and information on children; selection of family foster homes with consideration of the child’s religious, racial and cultural background; and monthly visitation requirements.



2011 Tex. Gen. Laws, HB 807, Chap. 724


Requires the Department of Family and Protective Services to provide written notice within 48 hours to a residential child care facility and any child-placing agency involved with a child before the department may change the child’s residential child care facility.



La. Acts 2010, SB 196, Act 64

Expands the definition of child-placing agency to include institutions or agencies engaged in placing youth in transitional placing programs. The law defines a youth as a person not younger than age 16 or older than age 21. It requires that any institution, society, agency, corporation, facility, person or any other group engaged in placing youth in transitional placing programs be licensed as a child-placing facility.


2009 Kan. Sess. Laws, HB 2211, Chap. 2009-2


Determines that when any law enforcement officer takes into custody a child 15 years of age or younger, or 16 or 17 years of age if the child shows signs of physical, mental, emotional or sexual abuse, the child shall be placed with a facility or person designated by the secretary.


2009 Md. Laws, SB 690, Chap. 591

Adds to the definition of “out-of-home placement” the placement of the child by a residential program operated by or under contract with the Department of Juvenile Services or a foster care home approved by a local Department of Social Services.

Statewide Plan for Behavioral/Mental Health, Medical, Dental Services/System



2013 Senate Bill 1375,
Act No. 220

Requires Arizona Department of Economic Security on or before, Oct. 1, 2015, in collaboration with ADHS and AHCCCS to determine: The most efficient and effective way to provide comprehensive medical, dental and behavioral health services for children who are in a foster home, in the custody of ADES or in the custody of a probation department.


2013 Senate Bill 972,

Act No. 13-178

Requires the development of a plan for meeting children’s mental, emotional and behavioral health needs, requires the inclusion of certain strategies, including school and community-based mental health services integration and early intervention enhancement, provides for collaboration with emergency mobile psychiatric service providers, training of school resource officers, mental health providers, pediatricians and child care providers, home visitation, and a study on nutrition and psychotropic drugs.


2013 Senate Bill 58,
Act No. 1143

Relates to integrating behavioral health and physical health services provided under the Medicaid program using managed care organizations, relates to delivery of mental health, behavioral health, substance abuse, and certain other services.


2012 House Bill 2631,

Act No. 2012-109

Relates to dental care availability and access, allows a dental practice to remain open after the death of the dentist for a specified period, provides that the practice of dental hygiene may be performed with consent of the parent or legal guardian, on children participating in residential and nonresidential centers for therapeutic services or receiving family preservation services, on all children in foster care homes, runaway youth programs and homeless shelters as well as on children in schools.


2010 Ky. Acts, HB 231, Chap. 7


Requires the Cabinet for Health and Family Services to investigate the need for specialty residential treatment facilities for children with mental health disorders, and requires formal written inter-sector agreements between residential facilities and agencies that treat, educate or serve the children. The law requires that treatment facilities submit a “certificate of need” showing compliance with specific criteria.



2009 Neb. Laws, LB 603

Adopts the Behavioral Health Workforce Act and the Children and Family Behavioral Health Support Act. Provides coverage under the medical assistance program for community-based secure residential and subacute behavioral health services. Makes pregnant women with a family income equal to or less than 185 percent of the Office of Management and Budget income poverty guideline eligible for medical assistance. Creates the Family Navigator Program to respond to children’s behavioral health needs.



2012 Assembly Bill 1856,

Act No. 639

Requires training for an administrator of a group home facility, licensed foster parent, and relative or non-relative extended family member caregiver to include instruction on cultural competency and sensitivity relating to, and best practices for, providing adequate care to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth in out-of-home care. Provides that foster children have the right to have caregivers and child welfare personnel who have received instruction on such cultural competency and sensitivity.


North Dakota

2011 N.D. Sess. Laws, HB 1095, Chap. 357

Sec. 50-11-00.1: Defines “approval” for the purposes of receiving Title IV-E funds for Native American group foster care facilities or for a home of a Native American family located on a recognized Indian reservation in North Dakota. The Department of Human Services approves Title IV-E funding when the homes of Native American families are located on a recognized Indian reservation in North Dakota or facilities are owned by the tribes or tribal members and are located on a recognized Indian reservation and are thus not subject to the jurisdiction of the state for licensing purposes.


2011 Wash. Laws, SB 5656, Chap. 309


Sec. 14: Authorizes a court to order emergency removal of an Indian child, including one who is a resident of or is domiciled on an Indian reservation but is temporarily located off the reservation, or the emergency placement of such child in a foster home or institution to prevent imminent physical damage or harm to the child. When the nature of the emergency allows, the Department of Social and Health Services must notify the child’s tribe before the removal has occurred. If prior notification is not possible, the Department of Social and Health Services must notify the child’s tribe by the quickest means possible.


2010 Minn. Laws, HB 2912, Chap. 303


Requires tribal notification regarding Native American children who are referred for treatment for severe emotional disturbance in a residential or treatment foster care setting. The law permits the tribe’s representative to participate on the screening team.



2009 Fla. Laws, SB 126, Chap. 34


Requires that the case record of a child under supervision or in custody of the Department of Children and Family Services shall be maintained in a complete and accurate manner. Determines that all records in a child’s case record must be made available to the child who is the subject of the case record and to the child’s caregiver, guardian ad litem or attorney; defines caregiver as parents, legal custodians, permanent guardians, foster parents, employees of a residential home, institution, facility, or agency at which the child resides and other individuals legally responsible for a child’s welfare in a residential setting. Revises how long the department shall keep records of cases pertaining to a child and family, until the child who is the subject of the record is age 30.


2009 Fla. Laws, HB 381, Chap. 43


Creates the “Zahid Jones, Jr., Give Grandparents and Other Relatives a Voice Act.” Requires that the case record of a child under supervision or in custody of the Department of Children and Family Services shall be maintained in a complete and accurate manner. Determines that all records in a child’s case record must be made available to the child who is the subject of the case record and to the child’s caregiver, guardian ad litem or attorney; defines caregiver as parents; legal custodians; permanent guardians; foster parents; employees of a residential home, institution, facility or agency at which the child resides; and other individuals legally responsible for a child’s welfare in a residential setting. Establishes that in court proceedings involving the child in state custody, the department shall notify a relative requesting notification of all proceedings. Provides for the establishment of procedures and protocols that serve to advance the continued safety of children by acknowledging the valued resource uniquely available through grandparents and relatives of children, and establishes a yearly “Grandparents’ and Family Caregivers’ Day.”

About This NCSL Project

The Denver-based child welfare project staff focuses on state policy, tracking legislation and providing research and policy analysis, consultation, and technical assistance specifically geared to the legislative audience. Denver staff can be reached at (303) 364-7700 or

NCSL staff in Washington, D.C. track and analyze federal legislation and policy and represent state legislatures on child welfare issues before Congress and the Administration. Staff in D.C. can be reached at (202) 624-5400 or