(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) joined a bipartisan coalition of senators in an effort to modernize the foster care placement process. Their effort takes steps to alleviate our overwhelmed adoption system, which has only become more strained as the opiate abuse crisis worsens.
The Modernizing the Interstate Placement of Children in Foster Care Act was introduced by Senators Todd Young (R-IN), Kristen Gillibrand (D-NY), and Chuck Grassley (R-IA). In addition to Blumenthal, Senators Al Franken (D-MN) and Gary Peters (D-MI) are also cosponsors.
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).
“As we celebrate National Foster Care Month, this bill would provide critical federal resources to support ongoing efforts in Connecticut to modernize placement of foster children in safe and loving homes. I am pleased that Connecticut is on its way to implementing the NEICE system, which will help bring our state’s placement systems into the 21st century, allowing for more children in need to be placed quickly and safely,” Blumenthal said.
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.
Supporters and Advocates:
Supporters: American Public Human Services Association (APHSA), Child Welfare League of America, Children's Home Society of America, Consortium for Children, The National Association of Counties, the National Association of County Human Services Administrators, the County Welfare Directors Association of California
John Sciamanna, Vice President of Public Policy for Child Welfare League of America
“The Child Welfare League of America supports the ‘Modernizing the Interstate Placement of Children in Foster Care Act.’ It is critical that states take the necessary steps to modernize the interstate compact and the process they use to place a child across state lines. When the best home and best interest of the child is with a family in another state the current process can sometimes fail. Research now shows that we can use 21st century internet and digital technology to speed up adoptions. With more than 112,000 waiting to be adopted that is in everybody's interest."
Schylar Baber, Executive Director, Voice of Adoption
“In many adoption cases, the best placement for a child may be in another state. Currently, such placements are quite challenging to complete and can delay permanence and cause a child to linger in foster care. Voice for Adoption believes the federal government has a critical role to play in easing the process of interstate placements, and supports the NEICE program.”