The National Voice of Foster Parents

 

Public Policy Updates

  • 16 Oct 2014 9:05 PM | Dennis Seger (Administrator)

    Read a nice summary of the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act which became federal law on Sept 14, 2014.

    • directs states to create policies to prevent at-risk youth from sex trafficking
    • directs states to create standards for youth enrichment and activities
    • improves adoption incentive programs


  • 17 Aug 2014 8:08 PM | Dennis Seger (Administrator)

    NFPA is greatly concerned for the unaccompanied alien children that are crossing our borders in search of safety.  Learn more about what is being done to provide out-of-home care to these vulnerable youth.

    NFPA Unaccompained Alien Minors Statement.pdf

  • 14 Aug 2013 9:00 AM | Sarah Schafer

    The Affordable Care Act makes important investments to increase health care access.
    The healthcare law:
    • Expands and modernizes community health centers across the country to serve up to 20 million more patients.
    • Brings more primary care providers to our neediest school communities by tripling the size of the National Health Service Corps, which offers loan repayment and scholarships for individuals serving in areas that most need health care providers.
    • Improves funding for Area Health Education Centers, which serve the primary care needs of rural and other underserved.
    You can access information about the Marketplace and HealthCare.gov. When key parts of the health care law take effect, individuals will be able to go to HealthCare.gov to buy insurance from qualified private health plans and check if they are eligible for financial assistance all in one place.

    Check out the sites now for tips and things that can be done to prepare for enrollment in October. Starting in October of this year you can enroll.
    Individuals can sign-up for emails or text message updates, so they don’t miss a thing when it’s time to enroll.
    To find out about eligibility and enroll in the Health Insurance Marketplace, please visit the following web sites:

    1) http://marketplace.cms.gov/getofficialresources/other-partner-resources/what-it-means-for-school-communities.pdf

    2) http://marketplace.cms.gov/getofficialresources/other-partner-resources/what-it-means-for-parents-and-teachers.pdf

    3) http://marketplace.cms.gov/getofficialresources/other-partner-resources/what-it-means-for-students.pdf

    4) http://marketplace.cms.gov/getofficialresources/other-partner-resources/other-partner-resources.html
  • 13 Aug 2013 11:20 AM | Sarah Schafer
    Bipartisan group of House members release a bill draft as Bryan Samuels leaves for Chicago.

    Please click here to view the document.  
  • 13 Aug 2013 11:14 AM | Sarah Schafer
    TAKE ACTION - BY AUGUST 20, 2013 - TAKES LESS THAN 10 MINUTES

    Ask Schools to Describe Protections in Place to Ensure Pregnant and Parenting Students Access to Education

    BACKGROUND: The U.S. Department of Education (ED) is seeking public comment on proposed changes to the Civil Rights Data Collection ( CRDC), the tool used by ED to ensure that schools and school districts (also known as “Local Educational Agencies” or LEAs) do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, and disability. Nearly 1.5 million LEAs and schools complete the CRDC biennially.

    Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits entities receiving federal education funds from discrimination on the basis of sex, including on the basis of pregnancy and parenting status. Despite this long-standing prohibition from discrimination on the basis of pregnancy and parenting status, ED has never asked schools and districts to describe their policies and procedures for ensuring expectant and parenting youth in fact receive such equal access to education, or to report the educational outcomes of such students.

    This major gap in federal monitoring and enforcement of federal civil rights and education laws must be reversed by adding questions on pregnant and parenting students to the CRDC. For this to happen, the U.S. Department of Education MUST hear from MANY individuals and organizations -- both those concerned about pregnant and parenting students specifically and youth generally -- that pregnancy and parenting specific questions must be added to the CRDC.

    TAKE ACTION: Healthy Teen Network and National Women's Law Center urge individuals and organizations to submit comments pertaining to pregnant and parenting students to the U.S. Department of Education in response to its request for comments on the Civil Rights Data Collection published in the June 21, 2013 Federal Register. Comments must be submitted by 11:59 pm on August 20, 2013.

    The most efficient method of submission is electronic filing through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http://www.regulations.gov, then enter ED-2013-ICCD-0079 in the Search box. Or you may simply click here to open the portal.

    Alternately, you may submit comments by postal mail to Director of the Information Collection Clearance Division, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Ave SW, LBJ Room 2E105, Washington DC 20202-4537.

    MESSAGE: As a convenience, Healthy Teen Network and National Women's Law Center have prepared suggested comments (see below) on pregnancy and parenting students and the Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC). You may simply "cut and paste" this text into the electronic filing or onto letterhead, or adapt and tailor this message to personalize it for your organization. We estimate this action to take less than 10 minutes! And, it matters....!

    Points of Contact
    • Healthy Teen Network - Bob Reeg, bob@HealthyTeenNetwork.org, 202.265.7271
    • National Women's Law Center - Lara Kaufmann, lkaufmann@nwlc.org, 202.588.5180

    Suggested Message on CRDC and Pregnant & Parenting Students

    Director of the Information Collection Clearance Division
    U.S. Department of Education
    400 Maryland Ave SW, LBJ, Room 2E105
    Washington DC 20202-4537

    We are writing in response to the U.S. Department of Education's (ED) request for comments on the Civil Rights Data Collection (CRDC), Docket ID number ED-2013-ICCD-0079.

    We recommend that ED amend the CRDC to collect information on pregnant and parenting students, including information about the students themselves as well as the programs and services that schools or local educational agencies (LEAs) may offer to assist such students in enrolling, attending, and succeeding in school.

    This first-ever universal collection of information on the pregnant and parenting student population would be extremely valuable to ED, States, LEAs, schools, parents and family members, and policymakers in monitoring and enforcing Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. Title IX ensures educational equity for all students regardless of sex, including students who are pregnant or parenting. Also, information gained from the CRDC would assist education officials, communities, and families in making policy and practice change to increase the odds that students with children graduate from secondary education ready for college or careers.

    We commend ED for recently issuing strong guidance regarding Title IX and pregnant and parenting students. This indicates that the Department considers the educational success of pregnant and parenting students to be a priority area of civil rights attention. Understandably so, given the poor record of State, LEA, and school compliance with Title IX as it pertains to students who are pregnant or parenting.

    Administrative guidance on civil rights laws alone is not sufficient in bringing the promise of educational equality to reality. ED must complement its advice by establishing a structured, universal system for monitoring LEA and school compliance with Title IX as it relates to pregnant and parenting students. Such a system would most efficiently be accomplished by adding pregnant and parenting student questions to the CRDC.

    Specifically, we recommend that the CRDC be amended to require LEAs and schools to report:

     the number of students who are pregnant or parenting. This information could be gained based on student self-reporting, just as single parent status is obtained currently for students connected to Perkins career and vocational education programs;
     whether the LEA or school offers a charter, separate, or alternative school or program exclusively or primarily for pregnant and parenting students;
     whether the LEA or school has personnel assigned to pregnant and parenting student service coordination;
     the number of students suspended, expelled, or removed for disciplinary reasons disaggregated by pregnancy and parenting status;
     the number of reported allegations of harassment or bullying on the basis of pregnancy or parenting status; and
     the number of pregnant and parenting students enrolled in any of the "college and career pathway" programs reported in the CRDC.

    Thank you for considering an expansion of the CRDC as it pertains to pregnant and parenting students. We look forward to a more robust enforcement of civil rights protections for students expecting or with children, which would result from a strengthened CRDC as we propose above.
  • 23 Jul 2013 1:51 PM | Sarah Schafer
    This week's edition recaps meeting with the Consumer Financial Protect Bureau.

    Please view this weeks's excerpts regarding the financial challenges for foster youth. Please click here to view this week's important topic!
  • 09 May 2013 9:35 PM | Dennis Seger (Administrator)
    NFPA President Irene Clements spoke as an expert witnesses for the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Resources hearing that is focused on Normalcy for Children and Youth in Foster Care.  NFPA Public Policy chairman David Sharp accompanied Irene Clements to Washington DC for this important event.

    Watch the live recording here:  http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/32605721

  • 12 Apr 2013 8:20 AM | Sarah Schafer


    Yesterday, Governor Rick Scott and First Lady Ann Scott were joined by Department of Children and Families Secretary David Wilkins, foster child advocate Tanya Wilkins, Guardian Ad Litem Executive Director Alan Abramowitz, Representative Ben Albritton, Senator Nancy Detert and Department of Juvenile Justice Secretary Wansley Walters to sign House Bill 215, the “Normalcy Bill” which reduces rules and regulations that currently limit the activity of children in foster care.

    Governor Scott said, “Florida families have always been my top priority, and I believe that this legislation will help foster families and group homes become an even stronger family setting.”

    This bill, also referred to as the “Let Kids be Kids” bill recognizes the importance of allowing children in foster care the ability to take part in everyday activities, without the involvement of case managers, provider agencies or the court system. The “Reasonable and Prudent Parent” standard incorporated in the bill allows foster parents to give foster children permission to do daily, age appropriate, activities such as joining a school athletic team or going to the beach with friends.

    “Children in foster care deserve to be treated like any other kid in the state, and this new law will help to accomplish that,” said bill sponsor, Representative Ben Albritton. “I am very thankful that we have a Governor that values kids here in the state and puts that belief into action, and I am pleased to join him in signing this bill into law.”

    Senate sponsor Senator Nancy Detert said, “In our quest to protect children in our care we have, in essence, bubble wrapped them and prevented them from leading normal lives. Under this new bill, foster care kids will still be protected but they won’t be red flagged as ‘foster care kids.’ This bill will allow them to live a more normal life.”

    Department of Children and Families Secretary David Wilkins spoke at today’s event in support of the new law. “Because of Governor Scott and the leadership, advocacy and support of the Florida Legislature, youth who have been in foster care, foster and adoptive parents, and volunteer advocates across the state, signed this important legislation which truly puts Florida’s most vulnerable children first,” said Wilkins. “Reducing regulations empowers foster caregivers to be the parents that children in foster care need and help them have the same opportunities as any of our children.”

    “When children are alone and against the world, foster parents give them time to rebuild their lives. Foster parents provide needed structure, a listening ear for a hurt soul, and help our children get ready for the real world,” said Tanya Wilkins, Florida’s Advocate for Foster Care and Adoption. “These changes will allow foster parents to encourage sports and music, slumber parties or even part-time jobs – activities that build self-esteem, develop friendships and help define a child.”

    Department of Juvenile Justice Secretary Wansley Walters said, “I want to thank Governor Scott for signing HB 215, and I want to congratulate Florida’s Guardian ad Litem Program for their hard work on the passage of this important legislation. The bill promotes the concept that all children deserve the opportunity to have a normal family-like upbringing. Furthermore, this legislation empowers caregivers to make decisions regarding children that focus on the health and safety of children while also boosting their emotional and developmental growth.”

    As Governor Scott prepared to sign the bill, Alan Abramowitz, Guardian Ad Litem Executive Director, gave words in celebration of this new law. “The children have championed this bill and our state leaders have listened. On July 1, our Statutes will reflect the values we hold for children in foster care. The law will recognize them not as “foster kids,” but just kids,” he said.

  • 22 Jan 2013 9:54 AM | Sarah Schafer

    The National Foster Parent Association (NFPA) joined in a letter of support for the A Plus Act, also referred to as the Uninterrupted Scholars Act (S. 3472 and H.R. 5871). The legislation amends the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) to enable child welfare agencies to access the educational records of children in foster care to help improve their educational success. The agency may disclose the records to other parties with a court order.

    FERPA, originally created to protect the confidentiality of education records, has been a barrier to child welfare agencies, as well as foster parents even when educational agencies are willing to collaborate in the exchange of information. Bipartisan sponsors in the Senate are Senators Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Al Franken (D-MN). The House lead sponsors are Reps. Karen Bass (D-CA), Jim McDermott (D-WA), and Michelle Bachmann (R-MN).
     
    This bill was passed by Congress on January 1, 2013 but was not enacted before the end of its Congressional session, however was signed into law by the president this week!  While this bill will be a big WIN for children and their agencies it does fall short of giving the most important stake holders, i.e., foster parents, access to their dependent children's school records.
    The NFPA will continue to work with congress to amend this bill to include all stakeholders in a child's life.

  • 04 Jan 2013 11:00 AM | Dennis Seger (Administrator)
    In a rare display of bipartisanship, the Senate joined the House last night in its desire to help children by voting passage of H.R. 6655, An Act to Protect our Kids. Following a 330-77 vote in the House, the Senate voted unanimous consent to support the bill. The legislation, signed into law today by President Obama, creates a new, two-year national commission to develop a wide-ranging strategy for ending the upwards of 2500 child abuse and neglect deaths a year.
    Just 3 weeks ago the bill was given no chance for adoption this year, but in a surprise move, in cooperation with primary House sponsor Lloyd Doggett [D-TX], House Ways and Means Committee Chair David Camp [R-MI] and subcommittee Chair Erik Paulsen [R-WI] called for a hearing on the bill in mid-December. The bill then moved rapidly through the House, at which point the primary Senate sponsors Kerry [D-MA], Baucus [D-MT], Shaheen [D-NH], Snowe [R-ME], and Collins [R-ME], shepherded the bill through the last day of a fractious 112th Congress. (For a full list of sponsors, please see below.) Hopefully an omen of things to come in 2013, the new law will spotlight the needs of desperate children and families, and will present the Administration and lawmakers with a multi-disciplinary approach for addressing them.
    Adoption of the bill also demonstrated the effectiveness and strength of a unified legislative strategy when advocates and other friends of children work together. Thousands of individuals and hundreds of organizations told Congress they wanted this bill passed.
    Roles large and small were played by the thousands who signed a petition to Congress, the hundreds of organizations which endorsed the bill, the state advocacy groups who called their members of Congress, donors who covered printing and organizing costs, Congressional staff, journalists who singled out the issue for coverage, graduate students who employed social networking to spread the message, the bill’s House and Senate sponsors, ECM staff and board members, and, especially, the leaders and staff of ECM’s four National Coalition to End Child Abuse Deaths partners the National District Attorneys Association, the National Association of Social Workers, the National Children’s Alliance, and the National Resource Center for Child Death Review.
    Hard work lies ahead. Creation of the new national commission won’t ensure that services to kids aren’t cut in the budget battles just ahead, much less win urgently needed new federal investments in children. But for the first time in decades a Congressionally sponsored panel will be collecting information on the conditions which create violence for so many children in their own homes. And that could help prompt our national government to make investments in children and families a budget and political priority.

    We’ll keep you posted on developments as they occur.
    Michael Petit
    President
    Every Child Matters Education Fund

    Sponsors of An Act to Protect our Kids:

    Senate:
    Baucus, Max (D-MT)
    Cardin, Benjamin (D-MD)
    Collins, Susan (R-ME)
    Conrad, Kent (D-ND)
    Kerry, John (D-MA)
    Shaheen, Jeanne (D-NH)
    Snowe, Olympia (R-ME)

    House:
    Bass, Karen (D-CA)
    Berg, Rick (R-ND)
    Boustany, Charles (R-LA)
    Camp, Dave (D-MI)
    Crowley, Joseph (D-NY)
    Larson, John (D-CT)
    Levin, Sander (D-MI)
    Lewis, John (D-GA)
    Marchant, Kenny (R-TX)
    McDermott, Jim (D-WA)
    Neal, Richard (D-MA)
    Pascrell, Bill (D-NJ)
    Paulsen, Erik (R-MN)
    Rangel, Charles (D-NY)
    Reed, Tom (R-NY)
    Reichert, David (R-WA)
    Tiberi, Patrick (R-OH)
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