On March 7, 2012, Representative Liebling introduced H.F. 2713 which would prohibit smoking in a residence that provides licensed foster care for children. Senator Hayden introduced the companion bill S.F. 2376 on March 12, 2012.
As you may be aware, additional smoking bans have been implemented over the past 5 years regarding smoking in public establishments. Over the past 10 years, a variety of states have enacted legislation around smoking in licensed child foster care homes.
Hennepin County Human Services and Public Health published the results of a survey in February 2011 highlighting the other states that had enacted similar policies. Click here to view their findings.
The Public Health Law Center at the William Mitchell College of Law published Smoke-Free Foster Care: Policy Options and the Duty to Protect in March 2011. This brief highlights risks of exposure, the vulnerability of children in foster care and public policy development and implementation.
In over 16 states, foster parents are not allowed to smoke in their homes, a certain distance away from their homes or in their vehicles. Overall, the information from Hennepin County and the Public Health Law Center shows that there was little to no impact on foster parent retention.
The responsibility of this legislation would fall on the licensing agency to enforce the new standards. This could be done through education, training or smoking policies.
What do you think about prohibiting smoking in licensed child foster care homes? How do you think it will impact current foster care providers? In your community, do you think there will be an impact in the recruitment and retention of new foster care providers?