Family foster care provisions modifications heard in committee

Legislation heard this week would make modifications to foster care licensing in response to family members who are facing too many barriers when they try to take in relatives for foster care. The bill would align the state with the federal government’s licensing standards.

Advocates of the bill believe that certain offenses are needlessly preventing some families from becoming foster parents for relatives — which they think should be an easy process. As a result, children are being placed in homes further from family and the racial disparities in the child protection system are only intensified, as it disproportionately impacts communities of color. Advocates also argue that family preservation should be a priority and affected children may experience long-lasting trauma due to their placement away from relatives.

The bill explicitly requires a county or private agency to review factors currently listed as disqualifications to become foster parents such as the type of crime on their record, the age of the individual at the time of the conviction, evidence of rehabilitation, and knowledge from community members regarding the individual’s capacity to provide foster care. (SF 1217)