Walorski, Davis Introduce Bill to Improve Interstate Foster Care Placement
Bipartisan Legislation Would Streamline Placement of Children with Foster Families in Other States
WASHINGTON – U.S. Reps. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) and Danny Davis (D-Ill.) today introduced legislation to speed up the process of placing children with foster families in other states. The Modernizing the Interstate Placement of Children in Foster Care Act would help states move to an electronic system for interstate foster care placement in order to reduce the delays and costs of paperwork.
“Foster care and adoption give vulnerable children a chance at a better life, but an outdated system is causing unnecessary delays and hurdles to placing children with loving families,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “Indiana was one of the first states to use a modern, electronic system to speed up the interstate placement process. Now we can build on that success so children across the country can be more quickly placed in safe and stable homes.”
“No child should have to wait to be placed in a loving home simply because they must cross a state line,” Congressman Davis said. “Removing barriers that delay or prevent interstate child placements has been a long-time, bipartisan goal. This bill addresses one factor in those delays – the ability of state computer systems to link up to process the paperwork. Our hope is that the additional resources in this bill will alleviate the need to divert already stretched funds for direct child care.”
Most states currently use paper systems for the interstate foster care placement process, requiring state caseworkers to print and mail hundreds of pages of paperwork to place a foster child in a home across state lines, including with a grandparent or other relative. This outdated process can take an average of more than five months to complete.
Six states, including Indiana, in November 2013 launched the National Electronic Interstate Compact Enterprise (NEICE) as a pilot project. This cloud-based electronic system reduced wait times by 30 percent on average. Another seven states, including Illinois, have since joined the NEICE system.
The Modernizing the Interstate Placement of Children in Foster Care Act would require states to join the NEICE system by 2027 and would authorize $5 million in funding to help states transition to or expand their use of the NEICE system for interstate foster care placement.
U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) introduced companion legislation in the Senate.
Supporters of the legislation include the American Public Human Services Association (APHSA), Child Welfare League of America, Children’s Home Society of America, The National Association of Counties, the National Association of County Human Services Administrators, and the County Welfare Directors Association of California.
Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.