On June 19, the First Focus Campaign for Children submitted a letter of support to the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Brady, and Ranking Member Neal for their leadership in sponsoring five important child welfare bills (H.R. 2866, H.R. 2742, H.R. 2857, H.R. 2834, H.R. 2847):

Modernizing the Interstate Placement of Children in Foster Care Act (H.R. 2742) provides funding for states ($5 million) in the development and implementation of the National Electronic Interstate Compact Enterprise (NEICE). NEICE is a web-based electronic case-processing system that supports the administration of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) by exchanging data and documents across state jurisdictions so that children in foster care can be placed in locations other than the state in which they currently reside.

Improving Services for Older Youth in Foster Care Act (H.R. 2847) extends the Chaffee Foster Care Independence Program for older youth from age 21 to age 23. This bill would help keep services available to youth in transition to adulthood and provide supports needed for youth to succeed.

Reducing Barriers for Relative Foster Parents (H.R. 2866) directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to establish model licensing standards that States must meet after enactment. The bill would help create uniformity in licensing standards and improve the current practice of ensuring a child is placed in a safe home. In addition it would ensure that relative caregivers have adequate training and preparation to care for and access resources for the child in their care.

The Partnership Grants to Strengthen Families Affected by Parental Substance Abuse Act (H.R. 2834) was originally introduced to reauthorize the Regional Partnership Grants, which are aimed at improving child well-being, permanency and safety outcomes who are at risk of entering foster care or are currently in an out- of-home placement due to a parent’s substance use.

The Supporting Families in Substance Abuse Treatment Act (H.R. 2857) allows family foster care maintenance payments for children placed with a parent in a licensed residential family-based treatment facility for substance abuse. This bill has been amended to cap the amount of foster care maintenance payments families in residential treatment can receive, instead of allowing the full cost to be reimbursed through IV-E dollars.

Read the letter of support here.