Finding Permanence for Kids: NCFA Recommendations for Immediate Improvement to the Foster Care System

NCFA is delighted to present for discussion our recommendations for improving the foster care system. Recruit Foster and Adoptive Parents • Recruit more foster and adoptive parents, and give them the support, encouragement, and training they need to be successful and remain in the system • Increase funding for pre- and post-adoption support services • Create PSAs to educate the public on the need for more adoptive and foster parents • Create more child-specific campaigns to assist children in foster care • Encourage states to use more of their federal funds for parent recruitment • Form more public-private partnerships • Train agency staff and offer strategies to help them retain foster parents • Conduct and utilize better research to determine what successfully predicts parent recruitment and adoption Encourage Americans to Get More Involved in the Lives of Children in Foster Care • Create more programs committed to helping individuals find practical ways to have a positive impact on children in foster care, such as mentoring programs Provide Support/Training for Frontline Child Welfare Workers • Address high vacancy and turnover rates among child welfare and social service workers • Establish a National Foster Care Services Corps • Use federal funding to provide bonuses for child welfare workers who serve for a certain number of years • Encourage states to include actual foster care youth in child welfare workforce trainings • Establish a loan forgiveness program for social work students Focus on Permanency and Resolve Court-Related Issues • Follow the lead of demonstration projects to increase the rate at which children exit to permanency • Address problems within court systems that prevent children from moving from foster care into permanent homes, such as an insufficient number of judges and attorneys, lack of cooperation between courts and child welfare agencies, and inadequate training of judges and attorneys • Encourage states and judges to appropriately use the “15 of the 22” provision of AFSA • Encourage states to use flexibility in adoption incentive payments to increase the number of people working on child welfare cases and eliminate case backlogs Support Needed Legislation • Encourage states to extend foster care to age 21• Reauthorize improvements to the Adoption Tax Credit • Reform the (ICPC) to allow states to focus more on children in public care • Support legislation that promotes mentors for children in foster care • Support the creation of a National Putative Father Registry • Support legislation which would amend Title IV-B to award grants to states that are implementing innovative programs in the areas of foster parent recruitment, training, retention, and support Conclusion We at NCFA look forward to discussing these recommendations and collaborating with other organizations to help implement them. It is NCFA’s hope that individuals, child welfare agencies, local officials, and the federal government will act immediately to implement these suggestions, so that America can live up to its responsibility as a compassionate nation that cares for its children.
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