Placement of Foster Children
The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act (H.R. 6893/P.L. 110-351) helps hundreds of thousands of children and youth in foster care by promoting permanent families for them through relative guardianship and adoption and improving education and health care. The Act extended federal support for youth to age 21, and provides the following:
Notice to relatives when children enter care
Funds for Kinship Navigator programs to connect children living with relatives with assistance
Subsidized guardianship payments for relatives
Licensing standards for relatives
Increased incentives to states to find adoptive families
Requiring states to make reasonable efforts to place siblings together
Helping youth who turn 18 in foster care without permanent families to remain in care up to age 21 with continued federal support
Educational stability: require states to ensure that foster children remain in their same school where appropriate
Health care coordination
Improve the process by which foster children are placed across state lines:
States shall receive incentive payments to complete home study requirements within 30 days ($1500 per timely interstate home study);
Receiving states shall complete home studies requested by another state within 60 days of request. If the state cannot complete the home study due to circumstances beyond its control, such as the failure by a federal agency to return background check information or failure to receive required medical records, the receiving state may request an additional 15 days to complete the home study. The receiving state must document that it made necessary records requests at least 45 days prior to the end of the initial 60 day period.
Housing Assistance for Foster Teens
The HUD appropriations bill, signed into law October 27, 2000, expands the family unification program, which allows parents in the child welfare system to receive Section 8 certificates if housing is the only issue preventing reunification. The program was expanded to include “eligible youths who have attained at least 18 years of age and not more than 21 years of age and who have left foster care at age 16 or older.”
Signed into law October 17, 2000, establishes national standards that restrict the use of restraints and seclusion in all psychiatric facilities that receive federal funds and in “non-medical community-based facilities for children and youth.” In those settings, the use of restraints and seclusion will be restricted to emergency safety situations. The sponsors of this bill included three Connecticut Senators Christopher Dodd (D-CT) and Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) and Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT).
Signed into law October 17, 2000, is a follow-up to the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 that facilitates moving foster children into safe, permanent homes. SANCA reforms court procedure to improve the administrative efficiency and effectiveness of abuse and neglect courts through grants to courts to create computerized case tracking system, implementation of innovative strategies to reduce caseloads and eliminate backlogs of children waiting to be adopted, expansion of the Court-Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program to offer the necessary support to children and the courts.
Requires all special education teachers to hold at least a bachelors degree and full state certification.
Places two-year statute of limitations on parents’ ability file a complaint or request a hearing regarding child’s treatment. Requires review of relevant records by parents and school officials within 10 days of a child’s change of placement for disciplinary reasons.
Requires all students to take annual assessment tests although states can make reasonable accommodations for those with disabilities. Special-education teachers must be “highly qualified” in core subjects they teach. At left, President Bush talking up the law at an Arkansas school.
Expands school administrators’ authority to discipline special education students in certain situations to include removal to alternative education settings for up to 45 days. Prohibits cutting off educational services to special education students who are expelled.
Revised and renamed version of 1975 law adds autism and traumatic brain injury to categories of special education. Calls for transition services to help older students prepare for post-secondary education, employment and independent living.
Requires school districts receiving federal funds to provide a free and appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment to special-needs children. Mandates creation of an individualized education program for such students. Establishes procedures for parents to challenge related decisions about their children.
Creates Bureau of Education of the Handicapped. Establishes federal grants to help educate special-needs students with disabilities in local schools rather than state institutions.