Social Policy Foster Care Act 1999

Foster Care Independence Act of 1999Foster Care Independence Act of 1999Before this bill was signed into law the FederalGovernment provided about $70 million per year to conductprograms for adolescents leaving foster care that aredesigned to help them establish independent living. Research and numerous reports from States conducting theseprograms indicate that adolescents leaving foster care donot fare well. As compared with other adolescents and youngadults their age, they are more likely to quit school, to beunemployed, to be on welfare, to have mental healthproblems, to be parents outside marriage, to be arrested, tobe homeless, and to be the victims of violence and otherThe need for special help for youths ages 18 to 21 whohave left foster care must be recognized to understand whythe passage of this bill was so important. In the majorityof states, emancipation of a foster youth is not determinedby readiness, but happens by statute at 18 or uponattainment of a high school diploma or GED. Researchdemonstrates that young people who emancipate from thefoster care system experience great risk in terms ofemotional, economic, and physical safety. Like all youth intheir age bracket, they are more likely to be unemployed orunderemployed, with the additional burden of lesseducational achievement and opportunity.

Young peoplereport that the transition to independence and expectedself-sufficiency is often very rapid, sometimes unplannedfor and unexpected , and results in their feeling “dumped”To strengthen the system of support that contributes tothe safety of young people emancipating from the foster caresystem we must: Increase early and consistent access toindependent living preparation, especially opportunities forrealistic practice of employment and life skills; ensure theactive involvement of young people in the individualplanning and decision making process that will lead tosuccessful emancipation; increase access to emergencyshelter, transitional housing, and longer-term affordablehousing options; ensure that no youth is discharged tohomelessness and provide support and concrete assistance,including health care, basic necessities, and formalaftercare services through age 21 (Nixon, 1998). Thesethings listed above are addressed in bill H.R. 3443.Young people need appropriate information about thestrengths and limitations of all permanency options,including adoption, legal guardianship, and other permanentliving arrangement, as well as emancipation. Though manyfoster teens are adopted each year, emancipation toindependence is the reality for many others.

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Long lasting,supportive, and strong connections to family members,friends, and other adults are critical to young people’shealthy development while they are in foster care and totheir success in adult life. Young people report thatrelationships with people who care about them and are therefor them consistently make all the difference in the worldwhen they are on their own (Mech, 1994). These are some ofthe problems faced by 20,000 foster children who age-out ofIn the early 1980’s, older adolescents in foster careand young adults who had been discharged from foster carebecome a source of great concern to professionals in humanservices and to society at large. Many young peoplereleased from foster care were returning to the care of thestate as adults, either through the welfare or criminaljustice systems, or as residents in shelters for thehomeless(Stone, 1987). At the same time, studies such asthe one conducted by Westat in 1986 showed that about halfof the children in foster care nationally were age 12 orolder, and that many of these teenagers would exit fostercare as adults who must live on their own (Westat, 1988;Stone, 1987). Public agencies recognized the need to makefundamental changes in their programs and services for theseolder children, particularly in the areas of education,employment, life-skills, and decision-making.These concerns culminated in the passage of legislationcreating a federal Independent Living Program in 1986.

In1987, funds were allocated and program implementation beganin all 50 states. In some states, federal fundssupplemented state funds that were already being directed tothe provision of independent living services to older teensin foster care. Maryland, for example, had recognized theneed for independent living services for teens and begunimplementing a state funded program in 1985.The Independent Living Program amended in 1990 toextend eligibility for independent living services to age 21at state option. This extension recognizes that youngpeople in foster care often face difficulty in making abrupttransition out of care at age 18, and that services are moreeffective on a longer continuum.

In 1993, the Program waspermanently authorized and funded at $70 million. Thesefunds are distributed to states by formula, and must bematched dollar for dollar over the original amount allocatedto the state in 1986. Federal Independent Living Programfunds may be used to provide counseling, educationalassistance, life-skill training, and vocational support toyouth in care.

Funds were also directed to state and localindependent living staff positions, staff training, fosterparent training, and youth participation activities such asannual youth independent living conferences.The Federal Independent Living Program does not requirestates to provide specific services (other than an initiallife-skills assessment), and allows great flexibility inprogram design. States are required to have a state planfor independent living services, and individual independentliving plan for each youth participating in the program, andcooperative and collaborative efforts among agencies. Otherthan these basic requirements, states have tremendousflexibility in designing and delivering independent livingservices. Many states’ independent living programs varywidely across counties and cities as well. Programs in eachstate vary according to how social services areadministered, i.e.

, centrally, through a state department orsocial services, or locally, through a county administeredsystem. The presence of state Independent LivingCoordinators and state-wide Independent Living AdvisoryCommittees facilitates the sharing of program strategies andfosters consistency in program implementation.Federal funds were not to be used to provide room andboard to youth participating in the independent livingprogram; residential services or other housing assistancewere provided through other funding sources. For example,in many states, residential placements and subsidizedindependent living services were paid through Title IV-Efoster care maintenance funds or other state funds (Cook,On May 6th 1999, Congresswomen Nancy L. Johnson (R-CT),Chairman, Subcommittee on Human Resources of the Committeeon Ways and Means introduced bill H.R.

3443. The bill wasintroduced to assist States in strengthening and expandingprograms for youth emancipating from foster care to helpthem establish independent living (Committee on Ways andIn a flurry of activity prior to adjournment, Congressapproved legislation to provide additional supports to youngpeople aging out of foster care. The Foster CareIndependence Act, now recorded as H.R. 3443 was approved bythe House on November 18, and then by just minutes beforethe Senate adjourned for the year on November 19. The finalversion of the Foster Care Independence Act includeslanguage from the bill (H.R. 1802) passed by the House inJune.

The revised bill also has new provisions reflectingOn December 14, 1999, the President signed into law theFoster Care Independence Act of 1999, Public Law 106-169. The law includes provisions relating to foster care andattached to the law are provisions that establishes newtitle VIII of the Social Security Act for providing specialcash benefits to certain World War II veterans.A number of organizations, including CWLA, the NationalResource Center for Youth Development, the NationalIndependent Living Association and the Daniel MemorialInstitute supported bill H.R. 3443 and provide resources,information, training and other support to independentliving programs nationwide. Groups or organization opposingbill H.

R. 3443 were not found. The bill had support in theSenate and the House. The vote in the House was 427 for itValues underlying this policy would be in support ofthe worthy poor. Orphaned children have always been deemedas worthy poor and it was obvious the needs of the childrenaging-out of foster care have without governmental help.

These children are mostly wards of the State and it is theStates responsibility to care for them. Bill H.R. 3443gives the States more flexibility and funds to assist theseServices and programs provided through federally andstate-funded independent living programs represent one partof the continuum of services and opportunities available toyoung people in foster care. Independent Living programCentralized state-wide activities, resources,information, and program planning available throughfederally funded independent living program, andimplemented by the state Independent Living Coordinatorand, if in place, the state Independent Living AdvisoryAssessment, life-skills activities, training, support andcase management related to preparation for independent living provided by individual case workers andindependent living coordinators at the local or countyResidential services, including foster homes, stipendboarding arrangements, supervised independent livingapartment, residential group care, and apartment-basedindependent living programs.

These programs may alsoinclude counseling, educational/vocational assistance,case management, life-skills training, socialization, andcommunity resource development (Cook, 1986).Most states offer all the basic services that thefederal Independent Living Initiative supports: educationand/or employment assistance; training in daily life skills;individual and group counseling; integration andcoordination of services; outreach; and a written individualtransitional living plan for each participant. Theavailability of these services varies widely among thestates, as does eligibility for participation in ILprograms. Independent living services, by law, must beavailable to all youth in foster care at age 16. Somestates, such as New York, Maryland and Missouri, have chosento use state funds to provide independent living servicesfor youth as young as 13 or 14.

Eligibility to receiveservices ends at 6 months after emancipation, which occursbetween ages 18 and 21, depending on the state. It isimportant to note that the majority of states are reachingonly 50% of the youth eligible to receive independent livingCompletion of a high school education, andparticipation in higher education, are some of the strongestindicators of future ability to achieve and maintainself-sufficiency after discharge from SocialServices’custody (Cook, Fleishman, & Grimes, 1991). Youthwho receive support from the state (their legal “parent”) upto age 21 and who participate in post-secondary educationprograms may be more likely to obtain living-wageemployment, less likely to become pregnant as teenagers,less likely to become involved in the criminal justicesystem, and less likely to become homeless or join theThis is a fairly new public law so the effectiveness ofthe law is unstudied. It will be years before anyone willknow if the bill helped the foster children who aged-out offoster care.

It looks hopeful that the bill reaches it’sOne of the goals for bill H.R. 3443 is to increasesfunds to states to assist youths to make the transition fromfoster care to independent living.

Federal funding for theIndependent Living program was doubled – from $70 million to$140 million a year. Funds can be used to help youths makethe transition from foster care to self-sufficiency byoffering them the education, vocational and employmenttraining necessary to obtain employment and prepare for postsecondary education, training in daily living skills,substance abuse prevention, pregnancy prevention andpreventive health activities, and connections to dedicatedStates must contribute a 20 percent state match forIndependent Living Program funds. States must use federaltraining funds (authorized by Title IV-E of the SocialSecurity Act) to help foster parents, adoptive parents,group home workers, and case managers to address issuesconfronting adolescents preparing for independent living. States must use some portion of their funds for assistanceand services for older youths who have left foster care buthave not reached age 21 (Cook, 1991). States can use up to30 percent of the Independent Living Program funds for roomand board for youths ages 18 to 21 who have left fostercare. States may extend Medicaid to 18, 19, and20-year-olds who have been emancipated from foster care(Schor, 1982). Access to the new independent living fundsis not contingent upon states exercising that option.

The bill offers states greater flexibility in designingtheir independent living programs. States can servechildren of various ages who need help preparing forself-sufficiency (not just those ages 16 and over as inpervious law), children at various stages of achievingindependence, and children in different parts of the statedifferently; they also can use a variety of providers todeliver independent living services. The assets limit forthe federal foster care program was changed to allow youthsto have $10,000 in savings (rather than the current $1,000limit) and still be eligible for foster care payments (NixonBill H.R. 3443 establishes accountability for states inimplementing the independent living programs. The Secretaryof Health and Human Services (HHS) must, in consultationwith federal, state, and local officials, advocates, youthservice providers, and researchers, develop outcome measuresto assess state performance. Outcomes include educationattainment, employment, avoidance of dependency,homelessness, non-marital childbirth, high-risk behaviors,and incarceration.

HHS must also collect necessary to trackhow many children are receiving services, services receivedand provided, and implement a plan for collecting neededinformation. HHS must also report to Congress and proposestate accountability procedures and penalties forStates must coordinate the independent living fundswith other funding sources for similar services. States are subject to penalty if they misuse funds or fail tosubmit required data on state performance. $2.1 million wasset aside for a national evaluation and for technicalassistance to states in assisting youths transitioning fromThe total amount of funds authorized for bill H.R.3443was $140 million; however, the FY 2000 appropriation is $105million.

Therefore, the total amount available for Stateallotments in FY 2000 is $102,900,000. Also, Puerto Ricowill participate in Federal program for the first time,increasing to 52 the total number of jurisdictionsparticipation in the Independent Living Programs.In line with current appropriation law, States mustspend FY 1998 and FY 1999 monies in accordance with theformer Section 477 provisions. No FY 1998 or FY 1999 fundsmay be expended for costs incurred under the new provisionsimplemented by Public Law 106-169. For example, no room andboard or services for children younger than 16 may beprovided with funds awarded prior to the enactment of thenew law. Also, amounts paid to the State under the law mustbe used to supplement, not supplant, any other fundsavailable for the same general purposes.Intended benefits have already been discussed.

Theyinclude more educated foster children who would be moreemployable, less foster children who become pregnant, lessfoster children involved in the criminal justice system andUnintended results may include a group of young adultsthat are still dependent on the state after turning 21. This may cause more aged-out foster children to enroll intowelfare rolls and cause them to feel entitled to benefits.More money is needed to implement these servicesappropriately. This would be the first change to be made. An allotment of $30,000 per child for four years would beset aside to pay university tuition. There would be arequirement that all foster children either receive a highschool diploma or receive a GED by their 18th birthday andenroll in a university or vocational school.Personal and social functioning, health, education andemployment are all critical areas of well-being for youngpeople as they move toward adulthood.

The experience thatresult in children and youth being placed in foster care, aswell as the actual experience of foster care, can createbarriers to achieving well-being in any or all of theseareas. Coordinated efforts on the part of policymakers,public official, caregivers, service providers, educators,community members, and youth themselves would be critical tothe positive development of young people making thetransition to productive interdependence. Young people whohave left the foster care system say the disruptions ineducation due to changing placements, inadequate preparationfor the workplace, lack of access to physical and mentalhealth care, and the immediate struggle for day-to-daysurvival after leaving care make planning for a good futurevery, very difficult. To ensure the well-being oftransitioning foster youth, I would: provide a continuum ofsupport and preparation for adulthood that begins when achild or youth enters foster care and continues through thepost-emancipation period; stabilize foster care placementsto ensure educational continuity and achievement; increaseyouth involvement in the planning and delivery of servicesto transitioning youth at local, state, and national levels;create national and local networks of foster youths andformer foster youths that will enhance overall levels ofsupport and participation; provide opportunities fororganizations serving older youth to network with eachother, communicate strategies, and coordinate servicedelivery; facilitate greater coordination among and betweennational and local education, housing, health, employment,and assistance programs to better serve this population andensure accountability through data collection on 6-24 monthoutcomes for youth leaving foster care and evaluation ofAmerican Academy of Pediatrics (AAAP), Committee on EarlyChildhood, Adoption, and Dependent Care. (1994,February). Health care of children in foster care.Burrell, K.

& Perez-Ferreiro, V. (1995). A National Reviewof Management of the Federally Funded IndependentLiving Program. Boston, MA: Harvard UP. (MalcolmWiener Center for Social Policy, John F. Kennedy SchoolChild Welfare League of America. (1989). CWLA standards forindependent living services.

Washington, DC: Author.Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee on HumanResources, Hearing Advisory (1999).Online.Available:, R.

(1991). A national evaluation of Title IV-E fostercare independent living programs for youth: Phase 2.Rockville, MD: Westat, Inc. (Contract No. OHDS105-87-1608, U.S. Department of Health and HumanCook, R.

, & Ansell, D.I. (1986). Independent living servicefor youth in substitute care. Prepared for theAdministration for Children, Youth, and Families, U.S.Department of Health and Human Services. Rockville, MD:Westat, Inc.

, Contract OHOS 105-84-1814.Cook, R., Fleishman, E., & Grimes, V.(1991) A nationalevaluation of Title IV-E foster care independent livingprograms for youth, Phase 2.

(Final Report for Contract105-87-1608). Rockville, MD: Westat, Inc.Halfon, N., Berkowitz, G., & Klee, L. (1992a) Children infoster care in California: An examination of Medicaidreimbursed health services utilization. Pediatrics 89,Hochstadt, N., Jaudes, P.

, Zimo, D., & Schachter, J. (1987).The medical and psychosocial needs of children enteringfoster care. Child Abuse and Neglect 11, 3-62.Homes for the Homeless, Homelessness: The Foster Care

htmlMech, E. (1994). Foster youth in transition: Researchperspectives on preparation for independent living.

National Coalition for the Homeless (1998). Breaking theFoster Care-Homelessness connection On-line. Available: http://nch.ari.nte/sn/1998/setp/foster.htmlNixon, R. (1999) Improving economic opportunity for youthformerly served by the foster care system: Identifyingthe support network’s strengths and needs: FinalReport.

Washington, DC: Child Welfare League ofPetit, M.R., Curtis, P.A., Woodruff, K., Arnold, L.

,Feagans, L., & Ang. J.

(1999). Child abuse and neglect:A look at the states. Washington, DC: Child WelfareSchor, E.L. (1992). The foster care system and the healthstatus of foster children.

Pediatrics 69 (5), 521-528.Schor, E.L. (1988). Foster care. The Pediatric Clinics ofSimms, M.

D. (1998). The foster care clinic: A communityprogram to identify treatment needs of children infoster care. Journal of Development and BehavioralStone, H. (1987).

Ready, set, go: An agency guide toindependent living. Washington, DC: Child WelfareTHOMAS.(2000).

Bill Summary and Status for the 106thCongress. Online. Available: http://thomas.loc.govThe introduction states the main topic or idea of theoutline, and the conclusion summarizes it.

Each sub-topic describes the main idea for a paragraph.Supporting information and details for a sub-topic are listedunder the sub-topic with each piece of information listedWhen supporting information is listed under a sub-topic,there are at least two pieces of information listed. If thereis only one piece of information to support a sub-topic, theinformation is included in the sub-topic. The paper follows the organization of the outline.

Each paragraph in the paper matches a sub-topic in theoutline, and presents the information and details listedEach paragraph includes a topic sentence that summarizes theEvery sentence begins with a capital letter.Every sentence ends with a period, question mark, orEvery source has a specific reference in the paper. Includeonly the sources that are mentioned in the paper.Each entry follows the correct format for the type ofEntries are listed in alphabetical order, according to theArrange the tasks in the order you’ll need to do them.Estimate how long each task will take.

Be sure to allowenough time for editing and making changes.Identify the date the report is due, then set a scheduleshowing what work you’ll need to do each day in order to haveUse graphs and charts to illustrate an idea.Find a quotation and use it to make your point.Choose words your reader will understand. Remember you wantto communicate your idea to the person reading your paper.Use a thesaurus to replace overworked words and find new ways to expressBibliography: