CHN: Foster Care Bill Passes the House

On June 24 the House passed unanimously by voice vote the Fostering Connections to Success Act, H.R. 6307.  Many children in the current foster care system lack essential services and experience instability by moving from one foster home to another, often resulting in changing schools as well.  Hailed by advocates, this major new child welfare legislation would create a new kinship care program, provide services for children aging out of foster care, make available new money for training private child welfare providers, and provide for the educational stability and health care needs of children in the child welfare system.
Under current law foster parents receive federal assistance to care for foster children, but family members who would be willing to care for their nieces and nephews, for example, are denied foster care payments.  This legislation provides federal reimbursement to states that provide such assistance to relatives who become legal guardians.  H.R. 6307 requires states to attempt to notify relatives of foster care placements and provides matching grants to states to educate relatives about available programs and services.

Currently when children reach age 18 they ‘age out of foster care’ and are no longer eligible for foster care services and Medicaid.  This legislation allows states to continue to provide services for children until age 21 if certain conditions are met.  The bill increases federal matching payments to states for training personnel working for state agencies that provide services to adopted and foster children.  State plans governing the health care of foster children and education and transportation plans for individual foster children are outlined in the bill.  H.R. 6307 requires states to make reasonable efforts to place siblings together in foster homes when appropriate.  The bill also increases adoption incentive payments.

The outlook for moving this legislation through the Senate this year is uncertain.

A more complete summary and analysis of H.R. 6307 from the Alliance for Children and Families and United Neighborhood Centers of America can be found at:

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