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Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare

Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare

Recently in U.S. Legislature Category

This post is written by the Stability, Permanency, and Adoption MSW Intern, Andrea Brubaker, with additional content from editor Heidi Ombisa Skallet. Yesterday I provided some background information on adoption assistance and the Adoption and Safe Families Act. As a follow up, I will now lay out two bills about adoption incentives—The Promoting Adoption and Legal Guardianship for Children in...
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This post is written by the Stability, Permanency, and Adoption MSW Intern, Andrea Brubaker. This past September, Senator Dave Camp (R-MI) introduced the Promoting Adoption and Legal Guardianship for Children in Foster Care Act. The bill would certify the continued funding for the Adoption Incentives program, prioritize increasing adoption rates, and create a legal guardianship category within the eligibility requirements....
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This post is written by the Stability, Permanency, and Adoption MSW Intern, Andrea Brubaker. Scientific evidence shows the detrimental impact of institutionalized care on brain development in children. While many governments in other countries want to place children in permanent homes they often don't have the resources to do so. As a result, many children are left in orphanages, foster...
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In general, young adults ages 19-26 are overrepresented among the uninsured in the U.S. Estimates from the Centers for Disease Control show that 27.5% of youth in this age group were uninsured in the first 3 months of 2012, compared to 15.4% of the general population. According to a 2012 article from Policy, Politics, & Nursing Practice, there are 24,000...
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Last year I blogged about recommendations for state-level changes regarding Minnesota's parental recognition laws as they pertain to adoption and foster care by same-sex couples. As it stands, Minnesota law is unclear on the legality of joint adoptions and second-parent adoptions; these issues have instead been left up to individual courts to decide. Last week Minnesota became the 12th state...
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This is the second part in a three-part series I will be writing on Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, or "The Baby Veronica Case." Part 1 presented the actual case that was heard before the Supreme Court as well as the responses of the Supreme Court Justices. Part 2 reviews the history leading up to the case, as well as...
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This is the first part in a three-part series I will be writing on Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, or "The Baby Veronica Case." Part 1 presents the actual case that was heard before the Supreme Court as well as the responses of the Supreme Court Justices. Part 2 will review the history leading up to the case, as well...
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JaeRan Kim recently blogged about the Uninterrupted Scholars Act on our Stability, Permanency, and Adoption Blog. I've cross-posted her post here; to read the whole post, please visit the original post. Representative Karen Bass (D-CA) along with bipartisan support from fellow members of the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth Reps. Tom Marino (R-PA), Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) and Jim McDermott...
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On December 19 the Protect Our Kids Act of 2012 (H.R. 6655) was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives and sent to the Senate for consideration. Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) introduced Protect Our Kids legislation (S. 3705) in the U.S. Senate on December 21 with bipartisan support, including the 2011 version's sponsor, Sen. John Kerry (D-MA). The Protect Our...
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The title of this blog post lists some of the potential policy solutions I've seen in policy discussions on the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. As with most violent acts that catch the eye of the nation, advocates are calling for policy solutions that span the liberal-conservative political spectrum. Such knee-jerk solutions include stronger gun control laws (ranging from increasing...
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Source: MPRNews Our own Minnesota Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken introduced bipartisan legislation on December 4 that would improve child abuse training programs for child welfare professionals, based on the work conducted at the National Child Protection Training Center (NCPTC) here in Winona, MN. The other Senate cosponsors are Sen. John Boozman (R-AR) and Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR). S....
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The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 10, 1948. Since then, December has come to be recognized as Universal Human Rights Month and December 10, Universal Human Rights Day. Last year we blogged about the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which has been signed but not...
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UPDATE 12/7/12: President Barack Obama signed this bill into law on December 7, 2012. On November 26, the U.S. Senate passed the bipartisan bill H.R. 6063, otherwise known as the Child Protection Act of 2012, which focuses on protecting children from child pornography, sexual abuse, and trafficking by enhancing law enforcement's ability to protect children and find perpetrators of these...
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The first session of the United States 113th Congress has been (tentatively) announced. According to the U.S. Senate website, the 113th Congress will convene on January 3, 2013. Minnesota's representation is as follows:Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN)Senator Al Franken (D-MN)Representative Timothy J. Walz (D-MN1)Representative John Kline (R-MN2)Representative Erik Paulsen (D-MN3)Reprentative Betty McCollum (D-MN4)Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN5)Representative Michele Bachmann (D-MN6)Representative Collin Peterson...
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Our sister blog, the Stability, Permanency, and Adoption (SPA) blog, recently posted on legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives & Senate that would renew the Adoption Tax Credit, which assists families who wish to adopt by offsetting the costs of adoption. It is set to expire on December 31, 2012. Read more on our SPA blog....
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Photo from October 2011 of 'Baby Veronica,' provided by Melanie Capobianco, the woman who was in the process of adopting her. AP Photo/NewsOK It is important that I provide some background to this post prior to delving into the issue. A toddler named Veronica is at the center of this story. This is what I've been able to determine from...
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An article today from Child Welfare in the News discussed the issue of considering religion in adoptive placements in Israel. Currently in Israel, parents and adopted children must be of the same religion, meaning that non-Jewish children who are adopted by Jews must be converted to Judaism: "Those adopting non-Jewish children must convert them through a special Orthodox rabbinical court...
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The Obama administration announced today a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) policy change that will positively impact young undocumented immigrants. The DHS Secretary, Janet Napolitano, sent a memo to the directors of CBP, USCIS, and ICE stating that DHS will use its prosecutorial discretion to stop deporting certain young undocumented immigrants, provided they meet certain criteria:Came to the U.S. prior...
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Extended Foster Care

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Hello! My name is Megan Carriveau, and I am an MSW student interning part time this summer at CASCW. When I am not at CASCW, I am interning at Hennepin County Social Services Extended Foster Care Unit. As a way to introduce myself and my interests, I wanted to briefly discuss how Hennepin County has implemented the Fostering Connections to...
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There are more than 400,000 children and youth in foster care; May has been designated as National Foster Care Month in order to bring awareness of the experiences of these children and youth. This year's theme is "Change A Lifetime" in order to encourage individuals to work to change the lives of children and youth in foster care. One way...
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Keeping All Students Safe Act

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On December 16, 2011, Senator Thomas Harkins (D-IA) introduced Keeping All Students Safe Act (S. 2020). This bill would protect all school children against harmful and life-threatening seclusion and restraint practices. The House has a companion bill H.R. 1381 introduced by Rep. George Miller (D-CA7). A similar bill was introduced in 2009 called Preventing Harmful Restraint and Seclusion in the...
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Jeremy Bell Act of 2011

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Today's highlighted bill, H.R. 3766: Jeremy Bell Act of 2011, was introduced on December 23rd by Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick. The proposed bill would penalize by fine, imprisonment, or both, public and private school employers who complete interstate transfers of employees who are child sex offenders. The bill also addresses sexual conduct reporting standards for employees of a school. This bill...
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On December 20th, Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL) introduced H.R. 3741: Rilya Wilson Act (no relation to the Representative), which aims to "protect foster children and to ensure that every state has a procedure in place to promptly report their disappearance." Essentially, this bill would require child welfare agencies to report missing or abducted children to law enforcement as soon as...
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Protect Our Kids Act of 2011

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Today's bill S.1984, Protect Our Kids Act of 2011, sponsored by Senator John Kerry and Senator Susan Collins was introduced on December 13, 2011. The bill's goal is to establish a commission to develop a national strategy and recommendations for reducing fatalities resulting from child abuse and neglect. The House has introduced the companion bill H.R. 3653 sponsored by Representative...
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On November 15th, Sen. Robert Casey proposed S1872: Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2011. This bill (also, H.R. 3423) would allow families to create savings accounts that can be used for the health and education of a family member with a disability. Sen. Casey introduced the bill specifically to give parents of children with disabilities the same...
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Yesterday, The U.S. Senate HELP Subcommittee on Children and Families held a hearing on child abuse, which Sen. Bob Casey requested back in November in the wake of the Penn State sexual abuse scandal. The purpose of this hearing was to examine child abuse laws to determine whether or not all adults should be mandated to report any suspected abuse...
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All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration.--UN Declaration of Human Rights As one reflects on Human Rights Month it is important to think of those who may have the smallest voice of all: CHILDREN! Children...
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On November 22nd, Michigan became the seventh state to opt into extending foster care from 18 to 21 since the Fostering Connections Act was signed into law in 2008. Over the last three years, 25 states have submitted program design plans for approval, 11 of which included plans to extend foster care through age 21. The child welfare field is...
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World AIDS Day

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World AIDS Day 2011 provides some glimmers of hope for children with HIV/AIDS worldwide. HIV and AIDS related deaths for children under age 15 have dropped 10 percent since 2005 and the number of newly infected children has dropped by 24 percent in the same time period. Still, nearly 10 percent of the globe's orphans have been left without a...
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Prematurity & Child Maltreatment

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Today is the last day of National Prematurity Awareness Month where the issue of births prior to 37 weeks gestation are highlighted. In approximately 50 percent of all premature births, there is no definite cause for spontaneous preterm labor. Sometimes infections and maternal health conditions, such as diabetes and preeclampsia, are the cause. Some women may also have elective inductions,...
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On November 15th, 2011 the House and Senate introduced the Stillbirth and Sudden Unexpected Infant Death (SUID, or also known as SIDS) Prevention, Education, and Awareness Act of 2011 (H.R.3418 and S. 1862, respectively). If enacted, these bills would help us better understand causes and prevent stillbirths and SUID by:Expanding data collection activities & establishing a national database to track...
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As we head into the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, many Americans are feeling excitement over the time off from work or school, the gathering of family and/or friends, the large amounts of food to be cooked and then eaten, and, of course, the shopping deals one can find as early as midnight on Friday morning. Tables and windows may be decorated...
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Tomorrow, several states and counties across the United States will finalize adoptions as part of National Adoption Day 2011, the day designated each year to bring awareness and recognition of foster care adoption in the United States (for more information about Adoption Day events in Minnesota click here). Over the past month, two bills have been introduced to support the...
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More on Mandated Reporting

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(Updated November 26 with new legislation. -HNO) Due to the intense media coverage of the child sexual abuse scandal at Penn State, it seems that a blog post on mandated reporting in child welfare might be quite relevant and useful. Although the media can be helpful in bringing child welfare issues to the top of policymakers' priority lists (remember Caylee...
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The Foster Children Opportunity Act, H.R. 3333, which was introduced on November 3rd, 2011, would protect abused and neglected immigrant children in foster care and ensure they are given ample opportunity to gain legal status before they leave care. Under current immigration law, many immigrant foster children are eligible for Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) and other types of immigration...
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In recognition of Veterans Day, the House of Representatives introduced a bill that encourages every civilian to observe today by offering to listen, with respect and without judgment, to a veteran tell the story of the veteran's time at war and experience since returning home. Most veteran legislation reflects the need for policies on provision of adequate mental and physical...
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With November being Native American Heritage Month it is important to examine not only what we know about this history but also what we know about the policies affecting Native Americans. Danielle mentioned the current disproportionality rates for Native children in the child welfare system in Part 1 of the blog. This disproportionality was evident in the 1970s, which eventually...
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Last Friday, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) announced plans to introduce the Every Child Deserves A Family Act, an anti-discrimination bill that would prohibit child welfare agencies receiving federal assistance from discriminating against prospective foster or adoptive parents based solely on sexual orientation, gender identity and/or marital status. In addition, this bill would prohibit agencies from discriminating against the sexual orientation...
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The bill HR 433, introduced by Minnesota Representative Michele Bachmann on October 12, 2011, highlights the importance of supporting the goals and ideals of National Adoption Day (November 19, 2011) and National Adoption Month (November). In addition to supporting National Adoption Month and Day, the bill's purpose is also to recognize that every child in foster care deserves a permanent...
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Minnesota Law defining marriage as a civil contract between a man and a woman was established in 1976. In 1996 the federal government signed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). The act defined 'marriage' as only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and 'spouse' as a person of the opposite sex who is...
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Did you know that the average annual cost of housing juveniles in a locked facility is $88,000 per person? As a whole, states spend approximately $6,000,000,000 a year on incarcerated youth. In addition to the cost, incarcerated youth are 50 times more likely to recidivate than their counterparts who remain in the community. Finally, 70 percent of incarcerated youth have...
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The bill H. R. 3126: 'Stop Child Abuse in Residential Programs for Teens Act of 2011' was proposed on October 6, 2011 to require certain standards and enforcement provisions to prevent child abuse and neglect in residential programs. What residential programs fall under this bill? This bill would cover private and public programs such as a program with a wilderness...
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Today is World Mental Health Day. This year's theme is "The Great Push: Investing in Mental Health," with a call for governments and others to invest in policies and approaches for removing barriers to mental health services and investing in prevention efforts as a cost-savings measure. In observance of this day, I feel it is important to highlight the need...
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H. R. 3076 was introduced on October 3, 2011. The purpose of this bill is to amend the Internal Revenue Code to qualify formerly homeless youth who are students for purposes of the low income housing tax credit. The bill affects those youth identified as homeless by the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act sec. 725, which includes those children awaiting foster...
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September is National Infant Mortality Awareness Month. This is an important awareness campaign, and on September 23rd, the Senate passed a Resolution supporting its values and goals. However, you may be wondering what it has to do with Child Welfare policy. Well, I'm glad you asked! First, some background. This observance was established by the National Healthy Start Association, which...
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On the 21st and 22nd the House and Senate, respectively, passed H.R. 2883: Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act. H.R. 2883 was sponsored by Geoff Davis [R-KY4] and cosponsored by 16 additional legislators (listed at the end of this post). This bill's companion legislation is S. 1542, which was introduced by Max Baucus [D-MT] and passed the Senate...
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Hello again! Over the past few weeks we have been working to revamp our policy blog and plan for the upcoming legislative session here in Minnesota. Below you will find our child welfare legislative roundup for the month of September so far. For the remainder of September we will be highlighting the federal Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation...
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Our Friday recap of highlighted legislation on our Facebook page: S. 1234: Partners for Stable Families and Foster Youth Affected by Methamphetamine or Other Substance Abuse ActBill description: A bill to amend part B of title IV of the Social Security Act to reauthorize grants to assist children affected by methamphetamine or other substance abuse under the promoting safe and...
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Our Friday recap of highlighted legislation on our Facebook page: H.R. 2012/S. 420: Foster Care Mentoring Act of 2011Bill description: To support the establishment or expansion and operation of programs using a network of public and private community entities to provide mentoring for children in foster care.Bill status: Waiting for a hearing in the House Education and the Workforce committee.This...
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This week on our Facebook page we began highlighting current child welfare-related legislation in the U.S. Congress as a way to keep our readers informed about legislation that, if enacted, may impact their work with clients involved in the child welfare system. As an extension of this service, we will be recapping our Facebook highlights each Friday with additional commentary...
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Last update: 8-17-2011 (updates highlighted in yellow) This is a list of current child welfare-related bills in the U.S. Congress. Although I attempted to ensure that it is an exhaustive list, I may have missed one or more. If you know of a child welfare-related bill that is not in this list, please let me know! Also, please feel free...
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Last update: 8-19-2011 (updates highlighted in yellow) This is a list of current foster care-related bills in the U.S. Congress. Although I attempted to ensure that it is an exhaustive list, I may have missed one or more. If you know of a foster care-related bill that is not in this list, please let me know! Also, please feel free...
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Last update: 8-19-2011 (updates highlighted in yellow) This is a list of current adoption-related bills in the U.S. Congress. Although I attempted to ensure that it is an exhaustive list, I may have missed one or more. If you know of an adoption-related bill that is not in this list, please let me know! Also, please feel free to put...
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Welcome back for another Child Welfare Week in Review! This week the US Supreme Court heard a case involving child abuse investigations at schools, regarding whether parent's consent is required before a child can be questioned at school by a child care worker or a police officer. Read mainstream media coverage, and in-depth legal analysis. In the MN House Health...
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The Senate passed HF 130, the budget proposal cutting $900 million in state spending. This was a fast turnaround following the House passage of the bill late on 2/9. The bill was sent to the Governor, and he vetoed the bill within a couple hours of receiving it. You can read coverage here, here and here. And the Governor's veto...
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