Monday, September 26, 2011

The Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act

this post was written by our MSW Intern, Liz Mehaffey

A bipartisan bill entitled The Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act (S. 1542/HR 2883) has just been passed unanimously by the Senate.  Earlier last week, the bill was passed by the entire House of Representatives. The bill is currently awaiting the signature of the president.

This bill directly affects foster care youth by reauthorizing past legislation, and extending until FY 2016 current policies and procedures that promote and provide stability and support for foster youth.  If the bill did not pass, the programs and waiver authority would have expired September 30, 2011.  This would result in the foster system losing almost $700 million to benefit foster care children.

This bill reflects The Center’s mission by encouraging permanency and support of our foster youth.  According to Representative Geoff Davis “The goal of these programs is to keep families together, while ensuring that children are protected from harm”.

This bill provides care for foster youth until their 21st (compared to their 18th) birthday, and creates support systems for the youth, by providing for them both mentally and physically. More significantly, this money from the bill helps youth reconnect to families, by encouraging kinship care, increasing sibling adoption placements, and reconnecting them with their biological families.  (If you want to read more detail about the bill you can go here:

Since the bill will be implemented at no additional cost, Senator Hatch stated, “By not adding to the deficit, this bill provides a fiscally sound approach towards identifying solutions to many of the problems plaguing the child welfare system today.” The Center supports the passage of this bill, and encourages more legislation to be passed to support our foster youth.

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