Monday, June 23, 2008

Vote on Key Legsilation Expected This Week

On Jun 19, Representative Jim McDermott (D-WA) and Representative Jerry Weller (R-IL) introduced the bi-partisan Fostering Connections to Success Act (H.R. 6307), which would promote permanency for foster children in several ways:

• Reauthorize and expand the adoption incentive program (due to expire in September), which rewards states for increasing adoptions from foster care

• Enable states to receive federal Title IV-E funds for subsidized guardianship payments made on behalf of children who leave foster care permanently to live with relatives

• Extend, at state option, adoption assistance and foster care maintenance up to age 21

• Promote the adoption tax credit, encourage placement of brothers and sisters together, and seek more educational and health continuity for foster youth

• Provide tribes with direct access to Title IV-E funding to help children and families in their care

• Expand access to Title IV-E training funds

As Representative McDermott explains, “I’m pleased to say that Jerry Weller and I have put together a bill on a bi-partisan basis whose only goal is improving the lives of foster kids,” McDermott said. “... This bill provides real help for children in foster care, especially those now pushed out of the system on their 18th birthday and those who want to live with relatives.”

NACAC is delighted to see this bill that will enable states and tribes to better serve foster children. In particular, the subsidized guardianship option could enable as many as 15,000 children living in foster care with relatives to leave foster care and live permanently with supported relatives. Currently, relatives who become legal guardians to care for foster children permanently cannot receive the continuing financial assistance they need to help provide for the children they are raising.

The direct funding for tribes is also long overdue. Although the Indian Child Welfare Act rightly gave tribes responsibility for tribal children in foster care, it did not provide funding. To access federal Title IV-E funding, tribes must contract with the state to receive support for children and families. It’s a simple matter of justice that tribes should have access to funds to meet their legislated responsibility.

A vote on this bill is expected this week, so we encourage you to ask your Representative to cosponsor HR 6307 right away. To reach your Representative, go to

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