Exciting update!! H.R. 3058, the Recruiting Families Using Data Act of 2023 passed the House of Representatives tonight!
The bill sponsors, Rep. Kildee (D-MI) and Feenstra (R-IA), gave impassioned remarks on the floor yesterday during deliberation of the bill. The vote was tonight (1/18) so the bill now goes to the Senate where there is a bipartisan companion bill (S. 1313). Staff of the House and Senate sponsors are already talking about how to continue advancing the bill in the Senate.
The House vote follows a markup of the legislation on November 30 by the House Ways and Means subcommittee on Work and Welfare. The bill passed the committee with unanimous support with a 42-0 vote.
The bill took root as a policy focus of the CHAMPS campaign and has enjoyed terrific support and advocacy over the past years from all of your organizations and many state-based youth and parent advocacy groups. It’s a modest bill but represents strong Congressional support for improving and strengthening family-based settings for children and youth in foster care.
The Bill language can be found here. A few key provisions include:
State child welfare agencies are required to develop recruitment and retention plans “in consultation with birth, kinship, foster and adoptive families, community-based service providers, technical assistance providers, and youth with lived experience with foster care and adoption.”
These plans must specify:
how the state will notify and engage kin
how the state will conduct targeted and child-specific recruitment
how the state will engage youth in recruitment efforts on their behalf
how the State plans to use data to establish goals, assess needs, measure progress, reduce unnecessary placements in congregate care, increase permanency, improve placement stability, increase the rate of kinship placements, improve recruitment and retention of families for teens, sibling groups, and other special populations, and align the composition of foster and adoptive families with the needs of children in or entering foster care;
how the state will stand up family advisory boards (to include kin, non-kin, adoptive and birth parents)
States agencies must collect and annually report data on:
the number, demographics, and characteristics of foster and adoptive families
the number of families that are not being fully utilized and why
the number and demographics of children in congregate care settings
a summary of feedback from foster and adoptive parents regarding licensing, training, support, and reasons why foster families stop taking placements
States also must conduct an analysis of the state’s barriers to recruiting and using families that reflect the diversity of the kids in foster care, and how the state is working to overcome these challenges.
HHS must produce an annual report of the data reported by states in order to identify national trends and best practices.
NFPA is grateful to have had the opportunity to contribute to this important effort.
Please share thanks and support to the bill sponsors. Contact info below.
Congressman Dan Kildee (MI-08)
Congressman Randy Feenstra (IA-4)
U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley
U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan
Update provided by Hope Cooper, Partner, The True North Group