This report outlines, in a question and answer format, the key provisions of the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008, and is intended as a guide to assist people and agencies who want to implement the new act to help improve the lives of children. The report was developed through the collaboration of more than 20 organizations that have been working individually and collectively to help children being raised by relatives other than their parents.
Recognizing The Importance Of Meaningful Family Connections For Children in Foster Care
Findings & Stats
Under the new law, states are required to notify relatives--within 30 days--that a child has been removed from their parents' custody.
The law includes $15 million in annual guaranteed funding--through 2013--for Family Connections grants to help eligible child welfare agencies establish key services to help children and families.
The law requires state agencies to make reasonable efforts to place siblings together or to ensure that siblings not placed together have frequent contact, unless it would be harmful to their safety or well-being.
The law includes provisions that require school-age children receiving federal payments to be enrolled in school full time or have graduated from high school, and that efforts are made to maintain the child in the same school unless it is not in their best interest.
The new law allows for some flexibility in licensing grandparents or other relatives for foster care, recognizing that the previous laws were written for non-relative foster parents and may be too rigid for children placed with relatives.
Statements & Quotations
These reforms will mean little to children unless and until they are effectively implemented so as to truly benefit children. It is therefore critically important that implementation move swiftly to both help to ensure that children benefit from the new improvements and to maintain momentum for the additional changes needed at the federal level to improve outcomes for children and families.
Leaders in Congress recognized the sacrifices that many grandparents and other relatives were making to raise their grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins or siblings when their parents could not, and the help they needed to connect with appropriate services and supports. The provisions build on the success of states in implementing similar reforms and research that documents benefits for children placed with relatives in foster care as opposed to children placed with non-relatives.
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