The President Signs the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 into Law!

National Association of Social Workers Advocacy Blog, Oct, 2008

On October 7, the President signed into law the “Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act (H.R. 6893)” which Congress passed on September 17, 2008. This legislation targets specific deficiencies in the child welfare system and addresses some of the most important needs affecting foster children in America today, including extending federal foster care payments up to 21 years old, providing federal support for relatives caring for foster children, increasing access to foster care and adoption services to Native American tribes, and improving the oversight of the health and education needs of children in foster care. Major provisions of the bill include:

1. Helping Relatives Care For Foster Children – Continues federal assistance (at state option) to relatives assuming legal guardianship of eligible children for whom they have cared for as foster parents. Authorizes Family Connection Grants to increase involvement of relatives as caregivers and help them navigate public programs. Requires notification of close relatives when children are placed in foster care.

2. Extending Assistance to Foster Youth Up to the Age of 21 – Extends federal foster care payments up to the age of 19, 20 or 21 (at state option) for children living in supervised settings. Require youth receiving such assistance to be in school, work, or related activity. Extends adoption assistance and guardianship payments up to age 19, 20, or 21 (at state option) for children adopted or entering guardianship after attaining the age of 16.

3. Expanding Training Funds – Expands coverage of federal funds for the training of child welfare workers to include private agencies approved by the state.

4. Improving Oversight of Health Care – Includes overseeing plans for the health care needs of foster children, accounting for the assessment and treatment of health conditions and ensuring the continuity of care, medical records, and prescription drugs.

5. Promoting Educational Stability – Requires plan for ensuring the educational stability of children in foster care and mandate assurance of school attendance.

6. Increasing Aid for Tribal Foster Care – Provides direct federal foster care and adoption funding to tribal governments for children in their care.

7. Encouraging Sibling Placement – Requires reasonable efforts to place siblings together when removed from their homes.

8. Extending and Improving Adoption Incentives – Improves the Adoption Incentives Program for children adopted out of foster care, including increased bonuses for special needs and older child adoptions.

Next Steps

We will apprise you of any issues related to the administration or funding of this important legislation. Thanks for your advocacy.

Nancy McFall Jean, MSW
NASW Lobbyist

http://www.socialworkblog.org/advocacy/index.php/2008/10/10/the-president-signs-the-fostering-connections-to-success-and-increasing-adoptions-act-of-2008-into-law/

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How will our new administration deal with this?

I was perusing like-tagged articles, (as indicated by the small blue box found in some posted-pieces), and I noticed how this announcement got linked to a recently published study done by the University of Illinois.  ["Study looks at how mental health care affects outcomes for foster children"

In this Presidential-signing article, major provision # 4 reads:

Improving Oversight of Health Care – Includes overseeing plans for the health care needs of foster children, accounting for the assessment and treatment of health conditions and ensuring the continuity of care, medical records, and prescription drugs.

Given the over-medicating of so many foster children, the dangers these adult-size medications bring young developing minds and bodies, and the not-so-hidden dangers found in Attachment Therapy, I wonder how our new administration is going to address "health care and safety", as it relates to those placed in the child welfare system?

For those who don't know how the drug industry operates in America, I suggest you see:  Prescription Pill Safety, remembering two comments made in the "outcomes for foster children" article:

Despite the prevalence of mental health problems among foster children, little is known about how pre-existing mental health conditions affect their outcomes in foster care.

and,

The study also suggested that there was limited access to and underutilization of mental health services among African-American children.

“Children with a history of inpatient mental health treatment, especially when placed in foster care, benefit from continued follow-up and referrals to community mental health agencies to reduce placement disruptions and facilitate timely permanence,” Park said.

Foster-care placements come at considerable cost to taxpayers: Placement in therapeutic foster care can cost $30,000 or more annually, and placement in residential psychiatric care considerably more.

“Early identification of service needs and related interventions for children and youth with intensive mental health needs can be cost-efficient by helping them achieve placement stability and permanence,” Park said.

The phrase "cost-efficient" caught my eyes, so I went digging....    According to a 2008 social policy update, (CRS Report for Congress:  Prescription Drug Coverage Under Medicaid ),

Medicaid continues to be an important source of funding in the nation’s pharmaceutical markets, and Medicaid drug coverage an important source of drugs for many low-income and disabled Medicaid beneficiaries.

Outpatient prescription drug coverage under Medicaid is an optional benefit.

If states choose to cover prescription drugs, they must be provided to Medicaid enrollees who are categorically needy, that is, to individuals who qualify for Medicaid on the basis of being in certain groups. In addition, states have the option choosing to provide prescription drug coverage to medically needy individuals, persons who are not poor by cash welfare standards, but who require help with medical expenses. Thirty-three states and the District of Columbia provide prescription drug coverage to all Medicaid beneficiaries.

Prescription drug benefits under Medicaid are very broad. States can create formularies, or lists of preferred benefits, but certain federal rules keep actual coverage very comprehensive. Even in Medicaid managed care organizations, which are not subject to those rules, current practice ensures a generous drug benefit. There are 11 categories of prescription drugs that states are allowed to exclude from coverage.

Two of those allowed to be excluded from coverage include Barbiturates (powerful depressants that slow down the central nervous system) and Benzodiazepines (medications that are frequently prescribed for the symptomatic treatment of anxiety and sleep disorders). 

For those who are nerdy-nerds like me, Andrea Tone's "The Age of Anxiety" is an excellent read as it gives the history of "treatment options" and how barbiturates ("the poor-man's alternative to psychoanalysis") and Pharmaceutical companies led to the self-medicating (drug-taking) craze so many see today.

While I strongly believe there are many children brain damaged at birth, (for a variety of reasons), I also believe damage is being done to children because they are being treated so badly by so many people... parents, doctors, and businessmen alike.

foster-care and drugs...

Foster child A was with me for three years: ages 5-8
Foster child B was with me almost 3 years: ages 3-6
These children had been sexually abused by various men that frequented the BM's homes.  These children suffered from Fetal Alcohol Effects.
The state bounced these kids around in various foster homes (even a friend of mine's home) before settling in my home; which led to them being adopted (elsewhere) together at ages 6 and 8.  They were on Ritilin to try and tame their no-conscience behaviors.  WIthout the medicine they bounced off the walls; on the medicine they were zombies who got good grades in school.
The state has many agencies connected to it and so every foster child WILL use these agencies: they were all scratching each others backs.  These children were placed in an adoptive home where there was noticeable drinking (the pictures sent to these two little girls showed a fireplace flanked by two Christmas trees with several wrapped bottles of booze under them, along with many presents); where there was an already adopted "brother" who had the same diagnosis, who went on to share sex and booze with the new "sisters."  I have been in contact with the older child and, through tears, heard the "rest of the story."
They are all linked together.  It's a package deal.  Foster Care, therapists, drug coverage, are all a part of the plan to make money and keep it flowing between those in the circle of deceit, maintained by the state.
Teddy was there...

What did I ever do to deserve this... Teddy

Pound Pup Legacy