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.
The Conference of State Court Administrators supported passage of the Uninterrupted Scholars Act. (COSCA Resolution 12-M-3)
The following are highlights of Public Law 110-351:
- Allows Title IV-E funds to be used for relative guardianship assistance payments;
- Creates Family Connection for (1) kinship navigator programs, (2) intensive family-finding efforts, (3) family group decision-making meetings, and (4) residential family treatment programs;
- Requires 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 issue of domestic violence;
- Allows states the option of extending foster care maintenance, adoption assistance, and relative guardianship assistance payments to children aged 18, 19, 20, or 21;
- Requires states to assist a child aging-out of foster care to develop a transition plan;
- Allows states to be reimbursed for short-term training provided to relative guardians, private child welfare agencies, court staff, agency attorneys, attorneys representing children or parents, guardians ad litem, court appointed special advocates;
- Requires states to address education stability in each child’s case plan;
- Requires states to develop a plan for on-going oversight and coordination of health care services for any child in foster care; and
Requires 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.
The Fostering Connections to Success Act (HR 6307) was introduced by Representative Jim McDermott (D-WA) on 6/19/08 and approved by the House on 6/24/08. The House and Senate negotiated a compromise bill (HR 6893), which the President signed on 10/7/08, making it Public Law 110-351. On 7/9/10, the Children’s Bureau issued a Program Instruction (ACYF-CB-PI-10-11) to provide states with guidance on implementation of Public Law 110-351.
The authorization for the Fostering Connections Act expired effective 8/30/13. On 6/26/14, the leadership of the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee announced bi-partisan agreement on a new bill, Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act (H.R. 4980). The legislation included a 1-year extension for the Family Connections grants. Congress approved the legislation prior to their fall recess. On 9/29/14, the President signed H.R. 4980 making it P.L. 113-183.
The President’s FY 2016 request included $15M for the Family Connection grant program. Neither the House nor Senate Appropriation Committee FY 2016 recommendations include funds for this grant program.
The Family First Prevention Services Act of 2016 (H.R. 5456/S. 3065) includes a provision that would allow states to receive federal reimbursement for up to 50 percent of the state’s expenditures on kinship navigator programs that meet the evidence-base requirements of promising, supported, or well-supported practices.