Federal Mandates for Adopted and Foster Children

Family First Prevention Services Act of 2018 (Pub L No. 115-123)13This act reforms the federal child welfare financing streams Title IV-E and Title IV-B of the Social Security Act to provide prevention services, including mental health services, substance use treatment, and in-home parenting training.
Allows IV-E funds to support inpatient substance use disorder treatment settings that allow the placement of children with their parents when those settings can treat the needs of both the parent and child.
Reauthorizes the Regional Partnership Grant program, which supports multidisciplinary approaches to addressing the effects of parental substance use on child welfare.
Mandates that services be trauma informed and evidence based.
Seeks to improve the well-being of children already in foster care by incentivizing states to reduce placement of children in congregate care while raising standards for residential treatment programs.
Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 (Pub L No. 110-351)1618States must make reasonable efforts to place siblings in the same foster home unless doing so would be contrary to the safety or well-being of any of the siblings.
If siblings are not placed together, the state must make reasonable efforts to provide frequent visitation or other ongoing interaction between siblings unless this interaction would be contrary to a sibling’s safety or well-being.
Ensure that children have permanency goals to improve the well-being of children served by public child welfare agencies.
Child welfare agencies are required to notify relatives of the child’s removal from the custody of the parent.
Promote permanent placement with relatives.
Maintain connections with siblings and family.
Increase the number of adoptions for waiting children.
Improve outcomes and transition for older youth.
Improve outcomes for American Indian and Alaska Native children.
Improve competencies of individuals working with children involved in the child welfare system.
Improve education stability and coordination of medical needs.
Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act of 2011 (Pub L No. 112-34)19Requires states to monitor children removed from the home for emotional trauma
States must track and enact protocols for appropriate use of psychotropic medications
States must report on steps taken to ensure developmental health for young children in state care
Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 (Pub L No. 105-89)20Provides a fundamental change in child welfare philosophy from a primary focus of reunification with the biological parents as the principal goal without regard to parental history, to a process of considering child well-being related to the child’s health and safety in permanency planning.
Improves the safety and promotes permanency for fostered children through adoption or the establishment of other permanent homes.
Gives preference to the placement of abused and neglected children with relatives.
Provides provisions to ensure family support.
Places an emphasis on timeliness to permanency.
Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (Pub L No. 95–608).21,22Enacted “to protect the best interests of Indian children and to promote the stability and security of Indian tribes and families by the establishment of minimum federal standards for the removal of Indian children from their families and the placement of such children in foster or adoptive homes which will reflect the unique values of Indian culture, and by providing for assistance to Indian tribes in the operation of child and family service programs.”
Gives greater authority to tribal governments to collaborate in decision-making in child custody proceedings.
When a child lives on a reservation or is a ward of the tribe, tribal leadership can assert exclusive decision-making power.