Voices’ Blog

Governor Youngkin Amendments Add $5 Million for Foster Care

Posted:  -  By: Allison Gilbreath

The Virginia General Assembly will have one more chance to improve foster care with Governor Youngkin’s proposed amendments to the budget. While the House and Senate accepted a budget compromise in June, Governor Youngkin has the opportunity to amend the budget and chose to make 35 amendments, including a proposal for an additional $5 million for the foster care system. House and Senate members will vote on each of the governor’s proposed amendments on June 17, 2022.

The foster care amendments are the result of recent discussions among the members of the “Safe and Sound Task Force” formed in April. Voices serves on this task force along with government agencies, the Virginia League of Social Services executives, and other community partners to find shelter for children sleeping in local departments of social services, hotels, and emergency rooms. The task force is working to ensure placements for children entering foster care and is collaborating with other state agencies to help meet the needs of children and families.

Safe and Sound Task Force meeting

The proposed additions in the budget include:

  • $592,120 for five positions to support the development of collaborative partnerships between local departments of social services (DSS) to increase capacity to approve kinship caregivers and recruit, train, and develop locally approved foster parents. This effort will support HB653, patroned by Del. Wampler, to facilitate collaboration between local DSS.
  • $1.1 million to create an enhanced treatment foster care pilot program, commonly known as the Professional Foster Parent Model. This program will serve foster homes caring for high acuity children and provide participating foster families with an annual stipend of up to $45,000 per youth.
  • $200,000 to cover the costs of coordination, recruitment, and additional training to foster care agencies.
  • $3,000,000 to support the initiatives of the Safe and Sound Task Force including community-based treatments, support for kinship, foster and adoptive families, and trauma-informed care for children in foster care who are displaced or who are at risk of being displaced.

These budget amendments were all recommended by the Safe and Sound Task Force which will continue to meet to address the current crisis in placement and the systems level changes needed to prevent children from entering foster care. As long-time advocates of improvements to Virginia’s foster care system, we are pleased to see these additional funds to address the on-going crisis within the system. We are especially pleased at the commitment to support Virginia’s kinship care families where the lack of investment in the past has especially burdened families of color. We urge the Virginia General Assembly to accept these amendments.

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