This toolkit is designed to help child welfare practitioners, advocates and policymakers effectively implement SFA’s normalcy provisions, a section of the law that aims to provide a much-needed boost to improving overall well-being for young people in foster care by giving youth and their foster parents greater authority to make decisions and build critical relationships. The toolkit — which is a guide for comprehensive implementation that supports jurisdictions in eliminating barriers to achieving this outcome — includes the following components:
A summary of the basic legal requirements;
A set of 13 recommendations for achieving effective implementation;
Policy examples, including existing law, regulation and policy guidance, as well as proposed policy language.
An appendix that includes excerpts of model policies.
When done right, advancing normalcy advances the quality of life and well-being outcomes of youth in the child welfare system
Findings & Stats
Lawmakers, courts, youth, caregivers and agencies all have a role in making the Strengthening Families Act (SFA) work.
The law seeks to provide youth who are placed in the child welfare system with the same opportunities for extracurricular, enrichment, cultural and social activities as their peers in intact families.
States must ensure that all caregivers in family foster care and child care institutions are trained in the reasonable and prudent parent standard.
To be eligible for Title IV-E funds, states must revise their standards and licensing requirements to reflect the application of the reasonable and prudent parent standard.
SFA requires the child welfare agency to implement the reasonable and prudent rarent standard across all placement types.
Statements & Quotations
The reforms envisioned by the Strengthening Families Act require systemic changes at every level, but done well, these changes have the potential to significantly improve the quality of life, well-being, and permanency outcomes of youth in the child welfare system.
The child should have a right or a guarantee to have opportunities to participate and be supported in participation; and caregivers should be empowered to make decisions about these activities.
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