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Fostering Connections Act -- Kinship Provisions National Implementation Overview. CWLA/CFP Community Event Dallas, Texas November 4, 2009. FCA kinship provisions. Kinship Guardianship Assistance Payments for Children Family Connection Grants Notification of Relatives

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Fostering connections act kinship provisions national implementation overview l.jpg
Fostering Connections Act -- Kinship ProvisionsNational Implementation Overview

CWLA/CFP Community Event

Dallas, Texas

November 4, 2009

Generations United


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FCA kinship provisions

  • Kinship Guardianship Assistance Payments for Children

  • Family Connection Grants

  • Notification of Relatives

  • Licensing Standards for Relatives

  • Sibling Placement

Generations United



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FCA provisions

  • Section 101 allows states to obtain a waiver to use Title IV-E money for guardianship assistance for Title IV-E eligible children exiting foster care

  • This assistance is for children for whom reunification with the parents and adoption have been ruled out.

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Kinship guardianship assistance

  • Before the FCA, 38 states and DC were offering some form of subsidized guardianship to children in foster care without regard to Title IV-E eligibility

  • 5 states were even offering it to children who had no contact with the child welfare system

  • States funded these programs through TANF, Title XX social services block grant monies, state and county funds

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Limitations with pre-FCA programs

  • no ongoing reliable federal funding source.

  • Why move a child from reliable funding source to something not reliable?

  • As a result, many of these programs were underutilized

  • So allowing states to use IV-E monies for these permanency options was big victory for kinship care community

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States taking up the option

  • Although no state legislation required to implement the option, some states are doing this as a first step

  • www.grandfamilies.org tracks this legislation

  • We know that Arkansas, Colorado, Michigan, New York, Texas, and Washington have passed laws this year adopting this option

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States taking up the option cont.

  • Connecticut, District of Columbia, Maine, Missouri, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Tennessee have submitted plans to the Children’s Bureau to operate programs.

  • Pennsylvania and Rhode Island have been approved.

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Points of clarification to FCA to consider

  • A definition of “relative”: “a person related by blood, marriage or adoption or a godparent or family friend with whom the child has a close relationship.” 

  • Allow adjustments to the payment rate to accommodate a child’s special needs.

  • A description of the additional services for which a guardian may apply.

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Points of clarification to FCA to consider

  • Good practice to have the courtmaking the permanency decision review the case plan requirements, the agency’s determinations and/or the guardianship assistance agreement.

  • To do this, the agency must be required to include a description of their determinations and/or the agreement as part of the petition for guardianship.

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Points of clarification to FCA to consider

  • Also, if possible, the same court making permanency decisions should have jurisdiction to grant the legal guardianship and review petitions to modify the legal guardianship.

  • If not possible, a procedure should be established for sharing information among the two courts.

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Concern with FCA

  • States previously serving non Title IV-E eligible children may stop

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Michigan’s new law

  • Michigan has some inclusive language in its recent Public Law:

  • “A child who is not eligible for title IV-E funding who is placed with a licensed foster parent, related or unrelated, and who meets the requirements …may be eligible for state-funded guardianship assistance. MI Public Act 15 of 2009

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Family Connection Grants

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Grant program

  • The new law authorizes $15 million annually

    (up to 30 new grants annually)

  • Reserves $5 million of the funds for kinship navigator programs exclusively

  • Competitive federal grants may be used for:

    • Kinship navigator programs

    • Intensive family finding

    • Family group decision-making

    • Residential, family-based substance abuse treatment

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Grant recipients

  • Up to $1,000,000 per year for up to 3 years.

  • 24 recipients announced late September 2009, including the Oklahoma Department of Human Services

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Notification of Relatives

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FCA provisions

  • Section 103 requires that states exercise due diligence in locating and notifying relatives within 30 days after children are removed from their parents’ home.

  • Provides exception for family or domestic violence.

  • Requires that the notice contain certain elements, including an explanation of the relative’s options.

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New state notification laws

  • Ten states – Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Oklahoma – have enacted new notification laws or amended prior notification laws that reflect the FCA.

  • The District of Columbia, Idaho, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Virginia, and Wyoming have incorporated the new requirements in their relevant Policy Manuals or State Policy Bulletins.

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Notification laws from before FCA

  • Eight additional states -- Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, New York, Oregon, Texas, and Washington -- have notification laws from prior to the FCA that have yet to be amended to reflect the new federal requirements.

  • Nebraska and Texas have notice requirements in their relevant Policy Manuals that also predate and are inconsistent.

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Pending notification legislation

  • Three state legislatures have introduced legislation that would implement the provisions from the FCA: Kansas, Ohio, and Wisconsin.

  • Two additional states –Michigan and Oregon -- have pending legislation that requires some type of identification and/or notification, but the language differs from that required by the FCA.

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Action needed

  • Legislative or agency policy action is also still necessary in half of the states that have no relative notification statutes, pending legislation, or provisions in their relevant Policy Manuals.

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Examples from states that further refine FCA provisions: due diligence

  • FCA doesn’t define “due diligence” and most states don’t either

  • Nebraska’s policy manual does:

  • “Diligent efforts include, at a minimum, asking the parent or guardian and the child, when appropriate, for information; following up on leads providing by collateral contacts or family members; and, if parent’s whereabouts are unknown, making a referral to the Federal Parent Locator Services. Efforts made and the results of these efforts must be documented.”

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Examples from states that further refine FCA provisions: notice exception

  • Arkansas’s new law, enacted on March 9, 2009, describes when notice not required:

  • the adult grandparents or other adult relatives have: (A) A pending charge or past conviction or plea of guilty or nolo contendere for family or domestic violence; or (B) A true finding of child maltreatment in the Child Maltreatment Central Registry. 2009 Ark. Act 1311.

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Considerations for notice exceptions notice exception

  • Who will be making the determination of “family or domestic violence” and consequently whether notification should not be given?

  • Should documentation of “just cause” be required for not giving notice to a grandparent or other adult relative?

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Examples from states that further refine FCA provisions: continuing efforts

  • Oklahoma, in its new notification statute, enacted in May 2009, allows the state to notify relatives not only for suitable placement, but also “to maintain the child’s connection to kin or culture.” Okla. Stat. tit. 10, sec. 7003-2.4(E)(2001); SB 339, 2009 Reg. Sess. (Okla. 2009).

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Examples from states that further refine FCA provisions: options

  • California has new law enacted 10/11/09 that specifies that information must be given to relatives about specific programs for relative caregivers and the law lists those programs

  • It also requires that relative be told of other options for contact with the child, including visitation AB 938 (Cal. 2009). Chapter 261, Statutes of 2009.

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Examples from states that further refine FCA provisions: options

  • Minnesota’s law does not list the various care and placement options. It did, however, retain its provision from prior to the FCA that “[a] decision by a relative not to be a placement resource at the beginning of the case shall not affect whether the relative is considered for placement of the child with that relative later…” Minn. Stat. sec. 260C.212(5).

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Examples from states that further refine FCA provisions: penalty provision

  • Consider whether a penalty for not providing notice is necessary.

  • A penalty provision is rare.

  • Connecticut had a failed bill, which included that “the failure to document such reasonable efforts shall give the parent or child the right to sue the state.” SB 627, Gen. Assem., Reg. Sess. (Ct. 2009).

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Licensing Standards penalty provision

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FCA provisions penalty provision

  • Section 104 provides that states may waive non-safety licensing standards on a case-by-case basis in order to eliminate barriers to placing children safely with relatives in licensed homes.

  • It also requires the U.S. DHHS to submit a report to Congress within two years on state licensing standards for relatives and recommendations to increase the number of licensed relative foster homes

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Sibling Placement penalty provision

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FCA provisions penalty provision

  • Section 206 requires states to make reasonable efforts to place siblings together

  • If siblings are not placed together, the state must make reasonable efforts to provide frequent visitation or other ongoing interaction between the siblings

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State implementation legislation penalty provision

  • Minnesota, North Dakota, Oklahoma and Washington have passed recent provisions.

  • California and New York have pending legislation.

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For more information penalty provision

  • www.grandfamilies.org is the website for the Grandfamilies State Law & Policy Resource Center, funded by CFP.

    • Center staff at GU and the ABA are available to provide specific TA to state legislators or agencies.

    • The website contains laws, legislation, analyses, personal stories, and links to other kinship care resources. It is a one stop shop for kinship care issues.

  • Also consult www.fosteringconnections.org for information supporting implementation of the FCA

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Contact penalty provision

Ana Beltran

Special Advisor

Generations United

[email protected]

www.grandfamilies.org

www.gu.org

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