Senator Favola, Chair of the Senate Committee on Rehabilitation and Social Services, has reintroduced a bill to create a Foster Care Prevention Program after it fell short during the 2022 legislative session. SB 923 establishes a program to facilitate placements of children and youth with relatives and ensure that these relatives are provided with the resources necessary to care for the children.
Virginia has significantly increased kinship placements in the past few years, going from 5% of overall placements in 2016 to nearly 20% in 2022, with the national average being around 30%. These increased placements have occurred because of several advancements such as the creation of the Kinship Guardianship Assistance Program, creation of a kinship-only TANF financial assistance fund, and kin first guidance from the Virginia Department of Social Services (DSS).
The bill introduced this year is slightly different and much improved compared to the previous version. Notably, this bill includes critical protections for both the child and their family of origin to ensure that parents have due process and kinship caregivers have added supports, with the remaining goal of reunification.
A child is considered eligible for the foster care prevention program if:
If a child is deemed eligible:
*For purposes of this section, “relative” means an adult who is either related to the child by blood, marriage, adoption, or fictive kin of the child.*
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