Issue: Fostering Connections to Success Act
The legislation provides states with options to extend foster care coverage for certain children and impacts the processing of child abuse and neglect cases.
No formal position
The following are highlights of Public Law 110-351:
• Give states the option of using Title IV-E funds for relative guardianship assistance payments;• Create Family Connection for (1) kinship navigator programs, (2) intensive family-finding efforts, (3) family group decision-making meetings, and (4) residential family treatment programs; • Require states to exercise due diligence to identify and provide notice to all grandparents and other adult relatives within 30 days after the removal of a child from a parent unless there is an issues domestic violence; • Allow states the option of extending foster care maintenance, adoption assistance, and relative guardianship assistance payments to children aged 18, 19, 20, or 21;• Require states to assist a child aging out of foster care to develop a transition plan;• Allow states to be reimbursed at a graduated and increasing rate for short-term training provided to relative guardians, private child welfare agencies approved by the state, court staff, agency attorneys, attorneys representing children or parents, guardians ad litem, court appointed special advocates, in addition to those already eligible for reimbursement;• Require states to address education stability in each child’s case plan;• Require states to develop a plan for on-going oversight and coordination of health care services for any child in foster care; • Require states to make reasonable efforts to (1) place siblings in the same foster care placement and, (2) in cases where the siblings are placed together, to provide for frequent visitation or on-going interaction between the siblings; and• Reauthorize the Adoption Incentives Program.
The Fostering Connections to Success Act (HR 6307) was introduced by Representative Jim McDermott (D-WA), who chairs the Ways and Means Income Security and Family Support Subcommittee, on 6/19/08. HR 6307 was a stripped down version of the Invest in KIDS Act (HR 5466), a more ambitious child welfare proposal. HR 6307 by-passed the committee and was approved by the House on 6/24/08. The Senate Finance Committee developed similar legislation. The House and Senate negotiated a compromise bill (HR 6893) that was introduced by Representative McDermott on 9/15/08. The bill passed the House on 9/17/08 and the Senate on 9/22/08. The President signed the bill on 10/7/08, making it Public Law 100-351.