Powerful Voices: CCAI Foster Youth Interns Release 2016 Report Findings


The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute Announces the Release of its 2016 Foster Youth Internship Program® Policy Report: Powerful Voices, Sharing Our Stories to Reform Child Welfare

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CCAI Foster Youth Interns presenting their policy report recommendations at a congressional briefing on July 12, 2016.

Congratulations to the 2016 CCAI Foster Youth Internship Program® class on the release of their policy report, Powerful Voices: Sharing Our Stories to Reform Child Welfare. Each of our 12 Foster Youth Interns spent the summer not only interning on Capitol Hill, but also writing a policy report on how to better the foster care system, using inspiration from their personal experiences. Yesterday, at a congressional briefing, our talented Foster Youth Interns presented this report containing 22 significant policy recommendations to Members of Congress, congressional staff and the child welfare community. For nine consecutive years, the FYI Program’s congressional policy report has provided the federal government with real solutions to some of its most challenging problems in the child welfare system. Previous reports have resulted in new federal laws and legislation that helped the over 415,000 of children in the U.S. foster care system.

Read the report HERE!

Read a summary of their recommendations below!

Vaneshia Reed (CA): Over Criminalized and Under Licensed: Addressing Barriers to Kinship Care

  • Congress should require states to adopt the Criminal History Records Check-Standards of the National Model Family Foster Home Licensing Standards;
  • Congress should include a reporting mechanism to ensure accountability.

 LilCrystal Dernier (FL): Improving Foster Youth Relationships through Secure Attachment Training: A New Way Forward for Caregivers

  • Congress should create a pilot program to encourage the development of a “Secure Attachment Training” (SAT) curriculum by adapting existing evidence-based foster care training programs;
  • Congress should amend the Foster Care Independence Act of 1999 to require foster parent training programs to include an evidence-based attachment curriculum.

Demetrius Johnson (NY): Subsidy Fraud: Exposing Adoption Subsidy Abuse

  • Congress should provide clarity in the law or guidance to states to require the termination of adoption subsidies where the adoptive parent is no longer providing support to an adopted child;
  • Congress should require states to annually track dissolutions to determine subsidy eligibility and investigate all suspected fraud cases.

Jason Morin (FL): Preserving Families Afflicted by Substance Abuse Through a Recovery-Focused Approach

  • Congress should require states to establish FDC standards as a prerequisite for the receipt of Title IV-E funding;
  • Congress should concurrently incentivize states to utilize a recovery-focused approach.

Erica Ontiveros (CA): Crossing System Lines: Collaborating to Improve Outcomes for Dual Involved Youth

  • Congress should establish a “Federal Data Gathering Unity for Dual Involved Youth” in the Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) and require each state to report data on dual involved youth for tracking to the new database;
  • Congress should set a federal minimum standard that state courts, juvenile delinquency agencies and child welfare agencies must identify dual involved within the first 14 days of a juvenile delinquency charge and cross-report to a designated office within the other entity.

Princess Harmon (MI): Financial Stability: Adoption Subsidies for Foster Parents

  • Congress should require states to set foster care reimbursement that are equal to the cost of raising a child in that state for a middle-income family, as well as reevaluate the rate annually to keep up with the inflation and the cost of living.

Precious Price (CT): The Over Prescription of Psychotropic Medication: Increasing Accountability and Credibility

  • Congress should allocate funds to develop a pilot program to establish a “Foster Care Mental Health Center” (FCMHC) to better serve the mental health needs of children in foster care;
  • Congress should establish a maintenance matching rate for any child welfare agency that employs child psychiatrists as mental health directors.

Kristopher Wannquist (WA): Extended Foster Care and Re-Entry: Increasing Success for Older Foster Youth

  • Congress should amend the Title IV-E of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. § 622, 1980) to require states extending foster care from age 18 to 21 to allow re-entry of youth into EFC, up to the age of 21;
  • Congress should require states who receive Title IV-E reimbursements for EFC to educate all foster youth on the eligibility for EFC, as well as their eligibility for re-entry until the state’s maximum age requirement. This education should occur during the youth’s transition planning required by law or no later than six months prior to their 18th

Victoria Wichman (OH): Fostering the Voiceless, Caring for Labels: Dedicated Advocates for Children in Foster Care

  • Congress should require states to ensure every foster youth has an advocate who advocates in their best interest;
  • As part of National Foster Care Awareness Month, Congress should designate a national awareness day regarding foster youth stereotypes and labels.

Jennifer Rhodes (TN): Foster Home Placement Preservation: Providing Permanency to Youth in the Foster Care System Limbo

  • Congress should incentivize states to preserve foster care placements by providing “In Home Foster Placement Preservation Services” in a pilot program;
  • Congress should establish a guideline for all foster youth to receive a 14 to 30 day notice of a placement change.

David Rivera (CA): Improving Placement Stability for All Youth in Foster Care

  • Congress should require states to report to the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) the current number of youth in their child welfare systems who identify as LGBTQ;
  • Congress should require states to provide “LGBTQ Competency Training” for agencies and foster and adoptive families.

Ivy-Marie Washington (TX): Running from the System: Improving Placement Stability and Foster Youth Runaway Prevention

  • Congress should amend the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act of 2014 to restrict the renewal of a foster home license when multiple foster youth in the same home have been displaced due to alleged safety concerns and maltreatment by a foster parent.

We thank all of our Foster Youth Interns for their hard work this summer, and look forward to keeping you updated on the results of their recommendations. To learn more about CCAI’s Foster Youth Internship Program® and see this incredible program at work, click here.

Contact Martina Arnold to learn more about ways you can participate in supporting the individual interns. There are various needs and opportunities surrounding the program each summer. We would be honored to have you join us in celebrating these young leaders.

Martina can be reached at martina@ccainstitute.org.

 The Foster Youth Internship Program® is a signature program of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute. To learn more, visit us at www.ccainstitute.org