There are more than 391,000 American children in foster care who face countless challenges and risks.
The Biden-Harris administration on Wednesday announced three new regulations to strengthen protections for children in foster care, including the rights of LGBTQI+ youth and kin, in recognition of National Kinship Care Awareness Month.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Administration for Children and Families rules will:
1. Support kinship caregivers – make it easier for family members and loved ones who step forward to care for a child in foster care to access resources and financial assistance.
2. Protect LGBTQI+ youth in foster care from abuse and mistreatment and ensure they have access to
services they need to thrive.
3. Expand access to legal services for children and families at risk of entering the child welfare system.
The rules are in different stages.
The Kinship Caregivers Rule is a final regulation intended to help states simplify the process for kinship caregivers to become foster care providers. It requires states to provide family members with the same financial support that any other foster family would receive. It will take effect immediately and require states to submit their plans to be approved for meeting the requirements, after which they can apply for kinship placement reimbursement.
The LGBTQI+ protection rule is a proposed rule as a result of a Executive order signed by President Biden directing HHS to protect LGBTQI+ youth in foster care. This rule will receive 60 days of comment before it goes into effect.
As an example of the third rule expanding access to legal services, the White House gave the example of a parent seeking “a restraining order against an abusive spouse to keep their children safe and prevent them from being removed from their home.” A state could use federal funds to help that parent access an attorney to file a restraining order.” So this proposed rule will allow child welfare agencies to use federal funds for that process, to help stabilize the family.
Regarding how the proposed rule to protect LGBTQI+ children in foster care will be implemented,
Senior government officials told us the rule is intended to address the fact that LGBTQI+ children in foster care have faced disparities in access to care. It aims to ensure that all children receive a safe and appropriate placement and that they receive care that protects them from abuse because of who they are.
Under the proposed rule, states would be required to ensure that every LGBTQI+ child in their care receives a safe placement.
A.Free from hostility, mistreatment or abuse related to a child’s sexual orientation or gender identity
B. Special Training: LGBTQI+ children must be placed with a provider who has received special training on how to meet the unique needs of LGBTQI+ children, including the equipment to deal with any potential trauma
C. The rule requires that any safe and appropriate provider be one that helps young people access the services they need, such as a youth support group for LGBTQI+ children who have been homeless in the past, for example.
A senior government official gave me an example of Rule A resources. “We know that so-called conversion therapy can be a very harmful and dangerous practice. Reducing exposure to children is something the president has focused on because of how harmful it can be and because of the evidence that exposure to conversion therapy makes LGBTQI-plus children significantly more likely to commit suicide. So the rule is clarified. for example, that a provider attempting to expose an LGBT child in foster care to conversion therapy would not be considered safe or a safe or appropriate place under the rule.
The federal government has oversight processes in place to monitor how states are complying with federal foster care laws, so those systems would be used to determine a state’s compliance with these new rules if concerns exist outside of the Child and Family Services process Reviews. using case reviews, interviews with youth, foster parents and community partners.
“Together, the rules represent some of the most substantial progress in child welfare in a generation. They will be truly transformative for families,” White House domestic policy adviser Neera Tanden said on a call with reporters. “I’m especially pleased that we’re making these announcements today in honor of National Kinship Care Month, a time when we honor the grandmothers and grandfathers, aunts, uncles and family members from across the country who have stepped in to care for a child. and their family in their family ends up in foster care.”
For those who have interacted with the foster care system, these rules will likely come as good news. More broadly, by seeking to bring stability to more children and families, the Biden-Harris administration is trying to bring more stability and health to our society as a whole. This is an example of good governance; not to suggest that it will be implemented perfectly – but rather that it is good policy, based on feedback from people on the ground, and that it is intended to help people, not for private profit.
“I see this game as changing. Maybe that means the same thing, but for those of us who have watched NFL football, this is a game changer,” Xavier Becerra, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), said in the call. “Because this is going to change the way we look at the treatment of foster children, but more importantly, how we look at the people we depend on to care for foster children. And so it will change the way these kids can look at life.”
When the government helps the people, it supports democracy. Every single policy, even if it doesn’t directly impact a reader, has a ripple effect on readers.
Good governance is essential to democracy, and it is the opposite of corruption, greed and the unquenchable demand for power that we see among many in our own countries who enable global autocracies. Taking better care of children is essential for the stability of a democracy.
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Sarah has been credentialed to cover President Barack Obama, then Vice President Joe Biden, 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, and exclusively interviewed Speaker Nancy Pelosi multiple times and exclusively reported on her first home appearance after the first impeachment of then-President Donald Trump.
Sarah is a two-time Telly award-winning video producer and a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.