Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Foster children are not for sale

Human trafficking is a real threat to society, and many of our foster children are at risk of being caught in the web. Every state agency should develop policies and procedures for identifying and determining appropriate services for foster youth who are believed to be at risk of becoming a victim of sex trafficking. The National Foster Parent Association has developed the following document to highlight components of Public Law 113-183, the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act, to help you understand the importance of this law.

PL 113-183 Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act Highlights

The bill has three titles:
  • Title I focuses on the provisions to help states identify, track and develop services for children who are believed to be in danger of being trafficked.
  • Title II includes a series of child welfare provisions related to improving the Adoption Incentives program and extending Family Connections Grants.
  • Title III improves the process for getting international child support by allowing tribal governments and authorized foreign agencies to access the Federal Parent Locator Services.

Key Provisions:
  • Family Connections grants are extended through FY 2014. There is no longer a requirement that 1/3 of the allocation be used to support kinship navigator programs.

  • Reinvestment for Savings of Post Permanency supports: States must calculate the savings gained from de-linking Title IV-E adoption assistance and how they were applied to other child welfare services.  States must use 30% of the savings for post adoption/guardianship services. The savings must be used in addition to, and not instead of, other Title IV-E/B funds.

  • Guardianship assistance is portable (i.e., follows the child) to a successor guardian if the guardian dies and a successor has been named.

  • States must develop policies and procedures regarding services for children who are suspected of being involved in sex trafficking.

  • States must make a report of a child missing from foster care to the police, NCIC and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children within 24 hours of a child missing from care.

  • States must establish a “reasonable and prudent parent standard” for foster parents to approve the child to participate in age and developmentally appropriate activities without social worker pre-approval.

  • APPLA (Another Planned Permanent Living Arrangement) will only be allowed as a goal for children who are 16 and older.

  • Children 14 and older must participate in the development of their caseplan. The child may also choose 2 people who are not their foster parents or caseworker to be a part of their planning team.

  • Caseplans for youth 14 and older must contain a document which outlines their rights and there must be a signed acknowledgement by the youth that they have received the documentation.

  • Youth who are leaving care must be provided a birth certificate, social security card, medical records, health insurance information and a driver’s license or state ID when they leave care.

  • Agencies must notify the parents of a child’s siblings when the child is removed from a parent’s care. Agencies must now also notify adoptive parents of a sibling as they are considered kinship/relative parents for a sibling who needs placement.

  • The Adoption Incentive Program is renamed the Adoption and Legal Guardianship Incentive Payments Program and is authorized through 2016. States may now receive payments based on the number of guardianships as well as special needs adoptions. The categories and amounts have also been changed to include $5,000 for foster care adoptions, $7,500 for pre-adolescent adoption and guardianship, $10,000 for older child adoption and guardianship, and $4,000 for foster child guardianship. The incentives are now based on the rates of adoption and guardianship rather than the previous fixed baseline. These provisions take place as if the law was passed in October 2013.

  • States must analyze and collect data on children who re-enter foster care from adoptive or guardianship placements and report via the HHS regulations.

** This document was produced by the National Foster Parent Association with the assistance of Generations United and the National Foster Care Coalition documents.

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