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Friday, May 26, 2017

Gillibrand among senators pushing foster care legislation

All WNY News     Friday, May 26, 2017    

PRESS RELEASE



WASHINGTON, DCSenators Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY), Todd Young (R-IN), and Chuck Grassley (R-IA) led a bipartisan effort to modernize the foster care placement process. Their effort takes steps to alleviate our overwhelmed adoption system.

Senators Gillibrand, Young, and Grassley were joined in introducing the Modernizing the Interstate Placement of Children in Foster Care Act by Senators Al Franken (D-MN), Gary Peters (D-MI) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT).

Currently, states use antiquated paper-based systems to process and approve placement cases, significantly hamstringing efforts to place foster children in loving homes. The legislation would provide resources to modernize the system by implementing a standardized electronic interstate system, known as the National Electronic Interstate Compact Enterprise (NEICE).

"With so many American children in need of a home, we should not be delaying the process for loving, caring, and responsible adults who want to welcome these children into their families," said Senator Gillibrand. "The outdated process we currently have puts an unnecessary burden on child welfare agencies and prevents children from growing up in a safe home with devoted parents. The Modernizing the Interstate Placement of Children in Foster Care Act would streamline the process, and let as many of our nation's foster children as possible find homes and parents who love them."

"Thousands of children in my state have lost loving parents to opiate addiction, and I fear if we do nothing, we'll lose thousands in the next generation, too. Modernizing the outdated interstate child placement process is one of a number of proposals that are urgently needed.  It will help alleviate the strain on the foster care system.  It will more quickly get children placed into loving homes where a set routine and stability will help them cope. Tragedy compounded by extended stints in various foster arrangements has proven detrimental to a child's future. For children caught up in a system struggling to meet community needs, we should do everything possible to get them immediately placed in the setting that's best for them, regardless of state boundary lines," said Senator Todd Young.

"Right now, for example, Iowa is not yet a member of the NEICE system.  If a child lives in Red Oak, Iowa, and there is a potential family able to care and provide for that child across the state border in Omaha, there might be delays in the paperwork needed for the adoption because the two states can't exchange data quickly and securely.  Throughout the country, caseworkers often avoid exploring out of state placements because of the long delays in processing the paperwork. Our bill gives incentives to states to join the NEICE system and streamline the paperwork to make foster care placements and eventual adoption happen faster.  The more we can do to give children safe, stable homes, the better.  The increased displacement of kids due to parental substance abuse, including opioid abuse, makes this cause especially important," said Senator Chuck Grassley.

This legislation passed the House of Representatives as part of two different pieces of legislation – H.R. 4472 and H.R. 5456 – in the previous session of Congress.

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