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It’s time to modernize our child welfare system. 5 bills take that leap.
21 June 2017

Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth Co-Chairs Endorse Bipartisan Child Welfare Package | Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth

With over 400k children currently in the child welfare system, we must act. #FosterYouthVoices · We owe it to both current & former foster youth to pass bills to create a system that works for them, not against them #FosterYouthVoices · It’s time to modernize our child welfare system. 5 bills take that leap. I’m proud to support them to raise #FosterYouthVoices · Proud to support this #FosterCare bill package to raise #FosterYouthVoices · If you ask a former #FosterYouth “should we expand CHAFEE grant requirements” the answer will always be yes. Proud to support #HR2847 · Proud to support legislation to make it easier for relatives to become foster parents. #FosterYouthVoices #HR2866 · Proud to support legislation to modernize case management systems. #FosterYouthVoices #HR2742 · Proud to support legislation to enhance access to family-based substance abuse treatment #HR2834 · A family benefits when it remains intact while parents participate in family-based substance abuse programs. Proud to support #HR2857

It’s time to modernize our child welfare system. 5 bills take that leap.

June 15th, 2017 – The Co-Chairs of the Bipartisan Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth endorsed five bipartisan bills that were previously provisions of the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA), which passed the U.S. House of Representatives in the 114th Congress. This package includes five separate bills designed to improve critical components of care within the child welfare system, particularly aimed at increasing the age of eligibility for education and vocational services for older foster youth, removing barriers for kinship care placements, modernizing case management systems, and enhancing access to family-based substance abuse treatment. Congress has a responsibility to ensure that every single child within the foster care system receives the quality care and support they need to achieve their full potential.

“The expectation that our current child welfare system sets is that once a child in the foster care system turns 18, they are fully capable of being independent without any aid. They can house themselves, feed themselves, and their own bills. We know that that’s simply not true,” Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) said.

Related story:

On Wednesday, May 24th, 2017, Rep. Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) spoke about Jimenez and the more than 100 other young people participating in the Congressional Foster Youth Shadow Program in a speech on the House floor.

On Wednesday, May 24th, 2017, Rep. Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) spoke about Jimenez and the more than 100 other young people participating in the Congressional Foster Youth Shadow Program in a speech on the House floor.

“That’s why these bills are so important; not just because of the functionality, but because it sends a message to the over 400,000 foster youth in the country that we hear them and that we’re here for them. The system does not have to work against them, that’s why our caucus is supporting this package and the bipartisan coalition of Members that have put these bills forward.”

At the end of May, the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth hosted more than 100 foster youth from over 36 states including Alaska and Hawaii to shadow their Members of Congress. The program is designed to raise awareness about child welfare and to have Members of Congress discuss the child welfare system with people that grew up in it.

The 5 bills were discharged from the Ways and Means Committee on June 15, 2017 and now wait to be scheduled for a final vote on passage.

 

Bill Summaries:

H.R. 2847, Improving Services for Older Youth in Foster Care Act

For a copy of the bill text please click here

Sponsors: Rep. John Faso (R-NY), Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), and Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY)

Summary: The bill would expand the John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program (Chafee) which provides assistance to youth who have aged out of foster care in the following ways:

  • Increases the age of eligibility for Chafee by two years, from age 21 to age 23. Currently, Chafee applies to youth who have aged out of foster care and are 21 years old or younger.
  • Allows youth to use educational and training vouchers until the age of 26, expanding the age for eligibility by three years from the age of 23.
  • Allows the redistribution of Chafee grants that have not been used by states to be redistributed to States who have applied for additional funds rather than returning Chafee funding back to the U.S. Treasury.

 

H.R. 2866, Improving Relative Foster Parent Licensing Requirements

For a copy of the bill text please click here

Sponsors: Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R-PA) and Terri Sewell (D-AL)

Summary: The bill would make it easier for relatives to become foster parents by removing barriers in foster care licensing, particularly related to housing standards.  H.R. 2866 would encourage states to update licensing standards in order to increase the number of eligible relative foster parents.

H.R. 2742, Modernizing the Interstate Placement of Children in Foster Care Act

For a copy of the bill text please click here

Sponsors: Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL) and  Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN)

Summary: The bill would both decrease costs associated with child welfare case management and decrease delays in foster care placement.  The bill would do the following:

  • Authorize federal appropriations funding to help assist states to modernize their child welfare case management systems and encourage states to transition from paper to electronic processing systems that are compatible across states lines.
  • Enable states to utilize the National Electronic Interstate Compact Enterprise (NEICE)) a cloud-based electronic system for exchanging data and documents need to place children across state lines as outlined by the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC).  This platform allows cases to be easily transferred electronically between states.
  • The following states have joined NEICE (AK, CA, DC, FL, GA, IL, IN, VA, NE, NV, SC, WI, RI)
  • The following states plan to join NEICE  (CO, CT, IA, KS, OH, LA, MA, MD, ME, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NM, NY, SD, TN,  UT, WY)

 

H.R. 2834, Regional Partnership Grants to Strengthen Families Affected by Parental Substance Abuse Act

For a copy of the bill text please click here

Sponsors: Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL) and Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD)

Summary: The bill would apply to both intrastate and interstate agreements under the Regional Partnership Grants (RPG) program, which assists children who are in or at risk of being placed in the child welfare system because of their parents’ substance abuse. RPG funding helps to support family treatment drug courts, family-centered treatment, and other evidence-based substance abuse-related programs. This bill does not increase funding for RPGs.

 

H.R. 2857, Supporting Families in Substance Abuse Treatment Act

For a copy of the bill text please click here

Sponsors: Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD) and Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA)

Summary: The bill allows states to use Title IV-E reimbursements for qualified children who are placed with a parent in family-based residential drug treatment programs for up to 12 months.  Both children and parents benefit when families remain intact while parents participate in family-based residential substance abuse treatment programs.

Source: Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth Co-Chairs Endorse Bipartisan Child Welfare Package | Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth

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