Foster Care and Adoption Legislation 2020
Together We Rise is always searching for new ways to help lift the voices of foster youth. As we approach election season there are several bills up for vote to help improve foster care and adoption legislation. While we can’t always help kids in care every day. Voting for changes in the foster system is a great way to positively impact the foster community.
Below lists all pending foster care and adoption legislation by state. (Please note, if we have missed any current bills, contact us so we can add them.)
There is currently one assembly bill up for vote in California, AB 1061. The bill provides more stability for foster youth by requiring a 14-day advance notice for placement changes. It includes an extension of the age limit for foster care support from 21 to 25.
Georgia’s Gov. Brian Kemp is rolling out three pieces of foster care and adoption legislation. HB 912 allows foster parents to leave children with a babysitter for up to three days with the approval of the state Division of Family and Child Services.
HB 913 lowers the age requirement for potential adoptive parents from 25 to 21. The final bill, HB 911 makes it illegal for foster parents to have sexual relations with the youth they foster even if they are of consenting age.
Bill 312 is wide-ranging legislation that specifically requires caseworkers to go with the child and the foster parent to the new school or call the school to provide information so the child is not initially denied academic programs or special help.
Michigan is working on several pieces of foster and adoption legislation, including, Senator John Bizon, R- Battle Creek’s Senate Bill 466. SB 466 amends the Child Care Licensing Act to modify the definition of “foster family home” and “foster family group home,” and to define “qualified residential treatment program” (QRTP) and “child-caring institution staff member” in order to match federal definitions.
Senator Marshall Bullock, D – Detroit, sponsored SB 467. Senate Bill 467 amends the Child Care Licensing Act to modify the reasons for which the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) could grant an exception to one or more licensing rules or statutes regulating foster family homes or foster family group homes. This includes, upon recommendation, that DHHS may allow children to remain with families with established relationships. Also, allowing families with specialized training to care for children with severe disabilities.
The second bill sponsored by Senator John Bizon, R- Battle Creek, is Senate Bill 468. SB 468 amends the Child Care Licensing Act to require qualified individuals, agencies in charge of the placement of children in the foster care system, the courts. Proving DHHS with new oversight of the care plans for children placed into QRTPs (Qualified Residential Treatment Program).
New Mexico is part of the movement extending benefits to foster youth. Bill 168, which proposes giving aid to foster youth ages 18-21. The funds will come from the Child, Youth and Family Services Department.
Oregon is working to help reform foster care. Bill 1566 Directs Department of Human Services to adopt rules identifying up to two family-based group homes to provide services to certain children. Directs department to report to interim committees of Legislative Assembly related to child welfare regarding the success of placements in family-based group homes.
The bill also prohibits the placement of Oregon children in out-of-state child-caring agencies. Unless a child-caring agency is licensed by the Department of Human Services. Establishes certain contract requirements and department duties regarding the placements of children in out-of-state child-caring agencies. Prohibits the colocation of children and youth committed to the custody of the Oregon Youth Authority without a court order. Would also enforce stricter rules of out of state placement.
House bill 4092 guarantees safe living conditions, child care training for foster parents, and information about the child’s behavioral history prior to placement. Also an increased stipend (minimum $900). (Not yet passed 2/20/20)
In conclusion, with seven states working on foster care and adoption legislation, there is a lot of room for change. To help make these changes happen, voting is the minimum move.
Also, consider writing your senators and asking them to make improvements to the foster system. Each state has different needs and it is up to each person to advocate for positive changes. To help kids in foster care on the regular, host a service project with us.