Florida has passed a new law after a bill called A Year is a Long Time in the Life of a Child that aims to reduce the time birth parental rights are terminated. The timeframe has been reduced to one year during which a birth parent can comply with the state provided case plan. Shortage of foster homes has ensured adequate support for this bill. Stricter requirements are applied to birth parents and judges will not be able to grant continuances longer than 60 days. This is to ensure that birth parents as well as others are accountable to the child. It should not lead to increased birth parental terminations but should ensure the same case worker starts and finishes the case.
Illinois University of Chicago researcher Chapin Hall has submitted testimony stating that there is a link between homelessness and foster care. Not a lot of attention has been paid to the youth in foster care who have reunified with their family of adopted and whether they end up homeless. The national survey completed by Voice for Youth Count indicated that existing federal laws like Foster Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act, Chafee Foster Care Program, Family Unification Program and Family Prevention Services Act can address issues related to the high rate of youth being in foster care ending up homeless.
Michigan foster youth in college at Western Michigan University are part of the Seita Scholars program and receive one-on-one support and mentoring from campus coaches. These coaches are accessible by cell phone 24 hours a day, all year long and provide weekly face-to-face meetings as well. Struggles include financial issues, jobs, housing, physical and mental health, personal relationships and social networks. Seita Scholars have a 30% graduation rate due to its availability of a highly trained coach, one caring adult to be there for these youth whether students succeed or fail. The Seita Scholars program is based on the Annie E. Casey Foundation outline of the Seven Life Domains. The coaching model training is also spreading to other campuses nationwide.
CALL FOR ACTION from Voice for Adoption - The latest Voice for Adoption advocacy updates can be found here.
Aderholt Amendment update from the Human Rights Campaign Foundation can be found here.