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RECENT CHANGES IN FEDERAL CHILD WELFARE LEGISLATION Presentation for the State Liaison Officers May 17, 2007 Policy Division, Childrens Bureau Administration.

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Presentation on theme: "RECENT CHANGES IN FEDERAL CHILD WELFARE LEGISLATION Presentation for the State Liaison Officers May 17, 2007 Policy Division, Childrens Bureau Administration."— Presentation transcript:

1 RECENT CHANGES IN FEDERAL CHILD WELFARE LEGISLATION Presentation for the State Liaison Officers May 17, 2007 Policy Division, Childrens Bureau Administration for Children and Families US Department of Health and Human Services

2 2 PRESENTATION OUTLINE Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (Public Law 109-171) Safe and Timely Interstate Placement of Foster Children Act of 2006 (Public Law 109-239) Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 (Public Law 109-248) Child and Family Services Improvement Act of 2006 (Public Law 109-288) Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006 and Health Care Act of 2006 (Public Law 109-432) References and selected resources

3 THE DEFICIT REDUCTION ACT OF 2005 Enacted February 2006

4 4 DEFICIT REDUCTION ACT – FEB 2006 Open Courts. Adds a provision to title IV-E that aligns CAPTA and title IV-E/IV-B law regarding open courts Provision permits States to conduct open courts as long as they protect the well-being of the child and family

5 5 DEFICIT REDUCTION ACT – FEB 2006 Title IV-E administrative costs permitted in three specific circumstances: 1. Prior to relative licensure for the lesser of 12 mo or the avg. length of time it takes the State to license/approve the home when an child is placed in a relatives home who has an application pending for licensure; and 2. Child transitioning into a licensed/approved facility for 1 calendar month for a child transitioning from an unlicensed/unapproved home/facility to a licensed/approved one. 3. Candidate for foster care who are at imminent risk of removal if reasonable efforts are being made to prevent the removal or pursue childs removal from home, and the State agency has made, at least every six months, a (re)determination that the child remains at imminent risk of removal from the home.

6 6 DEFICIT REDUCTION ACT – FEB 2006 Amendments to Title IVE Foster Care and Adoption Assistance: Home of removal. The law clarifies that for title IV-E eligibility a child must be eligible for Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) in the specified relative's home from which s/he is removed. This was in response to the Rosales case. Adoption assistance eligibility. The law simplifies an aspect of adoption assistance eligibility by requiring that a child meet the AFDC criteria at the time of the child's removal from a specified relative only and not also at the adoption petition.

7 SAFE AND TIMELY INTERSTATE PLACEMENT OF FOSTER CHILDREN ACT OF 2006 Enacted July 2006

8 8 THE SAFE AND TIMELY INTERSTATE PLACEMENT ACT – JULY 2006 Home Study Requirements: Title IV-E State plan requires States to have procedures for orderly and timely interstate placement of children. States are required to conduct and complete a study of a home environment for the purposes of assessing the safety and suitability of placing a child in the home. Timeframe to complete & return study is 60 days, or in limited circumstances until 9/30/08, in 75 days. The State that requested the home study must accept the completed home study unless, within 14 days of receiving the report, the State determines that reliance on the report would be contrary to the child's welfare.

9 9 THE SAFE AND TIMELY INTERSTATE PLACEMENT ACT – JULY 2006 Home Study Requirements – Common Qs: What starts the clock? Clock starts when the State receives the home study request. State may establish its own rules for what constitutes a completed request. What must be done within 60 days? Assessment of safety and suitability of the home. Not required within the 60 days is foster/adoptive parent education & training, criminal and registry background checks or licensing. Can the State make exceptions to extend 60/75 day timeframe? No, other than the limited circumstance in which 75 days is permitted by law.

10 10 THE SAFE AND TIMELY INTERSTATE PLACEMENT ACT – JULY 2006 Timely Home Study Incentives Congress has authorized $10m for FY 2007 through 2010, but there are no funds available for this purpose in FY 2007. The President has requested the full amount for FY 2008. If appropriations are available, States that provide HHS with data reports on the interstate home studies will be eligible for $1,500 for each timely interstate home study completed within the 30-day timeframe. States that receive these awards will be able to spend the funds on any activity permitted under the title IV-B/IV-E programs during a 2- year expenditure period.

11 ADAM WALSH CHILD PROTECTION AND SAFETY ACT Enacted July 2006

12 12 ADAM WALSH CHILD PROTECTION AND SAFETY ACT – JULY 2006 Criminal background check requirements: Fingerprint-based checks of the National Crime Information Databases (NCID) are required for prospective foster or adoptive parents that the State (inclusive of State licensing authority or entity contracted to license) will license/approve for a child under the title IV-B and IV-E programs. States can claim title IV-E foster care or adoption assistance for children only if placed with prospective parents who have had a NCID check and do not have certain felony backgrounds Implementation date of the criminal background check provision for the 9 opt-out States is October 1, 2008. All other States must comply on Oct 1, 2006 or according to ACF-approved delayed effective date.

13 13 ADAM WALSH CHILD PROTECTION AND SAFETY ACT – JULY 2006 Child abuse registry check requirements: States must check a State-maintained child abuse and neglect registry in each State in which the adults living in the household of the prospective foster or adoptive parent have resided in the past five years prior to licensing or approving home. Provision applies to prospective parent who will be licensed or approved by the State agency (inclusive of an agency under IVE agreement or entity contracted to license) for a child under States title IV-B/IV-E programs. States must comply with incoming requests for information on a household member of prospective foster/adoptive parent household if the State maintains a child abuse and neglect registry. Comply by October 1, 2006, or according to ACF-approved delayed effective date.

14 14 ADAM WALSH CHILD PROTECTION AND SAFETY ACT – JULY 2006 Background check requirements – Common Qs. Can criminal background check be satisfied if not NCID? No. Alternative criminal background check procedures (i.e., State only criminal databases, name-based FBI checks) do not meet the requirement. Can a State place a child prior to completing criminal/child abuse check? Yes. Requirement to check background does not affect placement decision. Where does the State have discretion regarding CAN registry checks? To determine whether it has a registry, and what constitutes the registry. To determine appropriate procedures for accessing information and the information to be released to the requesting State. The appropriate safeguards to protect registry information.

15 15 ADAM WALSH CHILD PROTECTION AND SAFETY ACT – JULY 2006 CAN registry compliance concerns: A State that does not maintain a CAN registry itself is not required to provide information. A State that has a delayed effective date to respond to incoming requests does not have to provide information prior to effective date. A State that believes that another State maintains a registry but is not responding appropriately to an information request should contact their ACF Regional Office. ACF has partial review authority under 45 CFR 1355.32

16 16 ADAM WALSH CHILD PROTECTION AND SAFETY ACT – JULY 2006 National Registry HHS is required to create an electronic national registry of perpetrators of substantiated cases of child abuse and neglect and the nature of those cases in consultation with the Justice Dept. The law authorized, but did not appropriate, funds for FYs 2006 and 2007, for HHS to conduct a feasibility study to address the issues related to creating a national registry. HHS has no plans to undertake a study or the actual development of the national registry unless or until there is an appropriation to do so.

17 17 ADAM WALSH CHILD PROTECTION AND SAFETY ACT – JULY 2006 Crime info access for social service agencies (DOJ RESPONSIBLE)*** Provides government social services agency with child protection responsibilities to conduct name checks of the FBI Interstate Identification Index (III) database for the purpose of investigating or responding to reports of child abuse, neglect or exploitation (section 151). Requires the FBI to conduct Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AIFIS) checks on behalf of title IV-B/IV-E agencies or its agents to meet the background check requirements (sec 153). States should work with their designated State Criminal Justice Information System Agency (typically a law enforcement agency for further information on gaining appropriate training and access to the information in these databases. ***This info is based on ACF discussions with FBI regarding their implementation of these provisions and should be treated as our understanding rather than authoritative guidance***

18 CHILD AND FAMILY SERVICES IMPROVEMENT ACT OF 2006 Enacted September 2006

19 19 CHILD AND FAMILY SERVICES IMPROVEMENT – SEPT 2006 Title IV-B Subpart 1 – changes to funding, purposes, fiscal provisions: Changes the program from a permanent authorization to a 5-year authorization (FFY 2007 – 2011) at a level of $325 million. In lieu of the definition of "child welfare services" funds spent by States and Tribes must be spent according to a newly established program purpose which allows a broader array of services and activities and promotes more State flexibility to design their programs accordingly. Places limits on spending that is not service-related, by limiting administrative cost spending to 10% and the amount of funds that States can spend on foster care maintenance payments, adoption assistance and child care.

20 20 CHILD AND FAMILY SERVICES IMPROVEMENT – SEPT 2006 Title IV-B Subpart 1 – adds new State plan requirements, including: a description of how physicians or other appropriate medical professionals are consulted and involved in assessing the health and well-being of foster children and for determining appropriate medical treatment a disaster plan to be in place for programs funded by Title IV-B and IV-E (effective September 28, 2007) a description of standards for the content and frequency of caseworker visits for children in foster care, which at a minimum must be monthly and focus on case planning and service delivery (effective October 1, 2007).

21 21 CHILD AND FAMILY SERVICES IMPROVEMENT – SEPT 2006 Title IV-B Provisions – Monthly caseworker funding. $40 million in FY 2006 has already been awarded to States to support monthly caseworker visits with children who are in foster care under the responsibility of the State, with an emphasis on activities that will improve caseworker retention, recruitment, training and the ability to access the benefits of technology (set-aside under title IV-B, subpart 2) The FY 2006 funds for caseworker visits may be spent through FY 2009, but only for the limited purpose. No caseworker funding set-aside for FY 2007, but additional funds available in varying amounts in FY 2008 through FY 2011.

22 22 CHILD AND FAMILY SERVICES IMPROVEMENT – SEPT 2006 Title IV-B Provisions – Monthly caseworker visits data and targets To receive FY 2008 title IV-B, subpart 1 allotments, States must submit to ACF FY 2007 data on the percentage of children in foster care visited on a monthly basis by the caseworker and the percentage of visits that occurred in the childs residence. Based on this data, the State and ACF will establish an outline of steps to ensure that by October 1, 2011, 90% of children in foster care are visited by their caseworkers monthly by October 1, 2011, and the majority of visits occur in the childs residence. The outline must include target percentages to be reached each fiscal year. HHS must reduce the Federal share of match for the State's Title IV-B, subpart 1 funds by a certain statutory percentage if the State does not meet its annual progress toward the 90 percent caseworker visit standard.

23 23 CHILD AND FAMILY SERVICES IMPROVEMENT – SEPT 2006 Monthly caseworker visits – common Qs. Who is the childs caseworker? State can determine who is a caseworker for this provision within general parameter that have case or visitation responsibility (i.e., not a general service provider or volunteer) Which children must be visited monthly? Children in foster care consistent with our regulatory definition at 45 CFR 1355.20 (i.e., children under the placement and care responsibility of the State agency who are placed away from their parents or guardians). This provision does not apply to in-home cases. When is the FY 2007 data due to ACF? By October 30, 2007. See our program instruction ACYF-CB-PI-07-05 for details.

24 TAX RELIEF AND HEALTH CARE ACT OF 2006 Enacted December 2006

25 25 TAX RELIEF AND HEALTH CARE ACT – DEC 2006 Child welfare related provisions: Adds title IV-E State plan requirement for the State agency to have procedures to verify the citizenship or immigration status of any child in foster care under the responsibility of the State title IV-B/IVE agency, effective June 20, 2007. Requires ACF to issue regulations amending the CFS review process to ensure compliance with the verification requirement. Title IV-E provision does not require verification of status for child protective services or title IVB services or otherwise restrict the use of those services to persons based on their citizenship or immigration status. Law also exempts children in foster care, and title IV-E recipients from Medicaid citizenship and identity documentation requirements.

26 26 REFERENCES Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (Public Law 109-171) IM-06-02, Issued June 9, 2006 PI-06-06: Issued August 23, 2006 PI-06-05: Issued June 15, 2006 Safe and Timely Interstate Placement of Foster Children Act of 2006 IM-06-03, August 11, 2006 PI-07-03: Issued February 22, 2007 Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 IM-06-04, September 1, 2006

27 27 REFERENCES Child and Family Services Improvement Act of 2006 IM-06-05, Issued December 7, 2006 Tax Relief and Health Care Act of 2006 and Health Care Act of 2006 PI-07-04: Issued February 21, 2007 Multiple laws PI-07-02: Issued January 23, 2007 PI-07-05: Issued February 28, 2007 Child Welfare Policy Manual Check additions, deletions and modifications at: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/laws_policies/index.htm

28 28 SELECTED RESOURCES National Resource Center for Family-Centered Practice and Permanency Planning - Compilation of State Child Abuse/Neglect Registry Contacts and Access Procedures (frequently updated): http://www.hunter.cuny.edu/socwork/nrcfcpp/downloads/policy- issues/State_Child_Abuse_Registries.pdf Archived Audio Conference and handouts from CB and State teleconference on the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, hosted jointly by the NRCFCPPP and the Child Welfare League of America for state foster care and adoption managers: http://www.hunter.cuny.edu/socwork/nrcfcpp/teleconferences/index.html#A damWalsh


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