Tag Archive: prevention

  1. Bill Explainer: SB 56 – Foster Care Prevention Program (Senator Favola)

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    Senator Favola, Chair of the Senate Committee on Rehabilitation and Social Services, has introduced SB 56 to create a foster care prevention program in Virginia. The purpose of the program is to facilitate placements 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 percent of overall placements in 2016 to 18 percent in 2021 with the national average being around 30 percent. 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. The bill passed unanimously out of committee and is now waiting to be picked up in Senate Finance where the financial impact of the bill will be reviewed.

    The bill would do the following:

    • A child is considered eligible for the foster care prevention program if:
      • The child is in the custody of a relative by a court order; The child’s parent or guardian voluntarily placed the child with such relative; The child demonstrates a strong attachment to the relative, and the relative has a strong commitment to caring for the child; and Had the relative not agreed to take custody of the child, the local department likely would have filed a petition with the court to remove the child from the home of his parent or guardian due to an imminent threat of child abuse or neglect
    • If a child is deemed eligible, the local department and the relative who has custody of an eligible child will enter into a written agreement with the Department. The agreement will include provisions regarding the amount of each Foster Care Prevention program payment. In addition, the local department will determine if the kin, in addition to financial assistance, needs ongoing case management services.
    • Foster Care Prevention program payments will be no more than the foster care maintenance payments that the relative would receive if the relative was the child’s foster parent, reduced by any monthly payments received through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program.

    *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.*

    How to Show Your Support

    While we await the estimated cost of the program to be generated, we want to make sure legislators know individuals are in support of the proposed program.

    Complete this action alert and add your custom message to urge support for SB 56. 

  2. Help Virginia Secure Child Welfare Prevention Dollars

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    By Courtney Reece

    Amidst a global pandemic, many Virginians are facing budgetary challenges that end up high on the list of concerns. What was previously a conversation about “how much?” has become a question of “can we even afford it?”. With numerous budget amendments on the table for state legislators, we must prioritize the care and concern of our children and families through support increasing funding for the Family and Children’s Trust Fund (FACT). Introduced by Delegate Carr, the proposed amendment provides for an additional $2.5 million in funding per year for the next two years for FACT.

    Contact your legislators today to urge their support of this budget amendment.

    We know that prevention is important for supporting children’s well-being, not only through parental support and education but also through connecting families to supports for basic needs.  We also know the prevention work that builds stronger communities requires funding. Now is the opportunity for legislators to show their support of children, families, and all Virginia communities by supporting this budget amendment.

    Why fund FACT?

    As a fund supporting trauma-informed community networks (TICNs) and prevention efforts, FACT is key to providing the resources our communities need to improve child and family welfare. Even as supportive as current efforts may be, there are always opportunities for greater impact. With this additional funding, FACT could support more TICNs and prevention programs which are essential to creating better outcomes for children through stronger communities. Programs that ensure our communities can voice what they need most to thrive. This budget amendment also specifies that these programs should be tailored to meet the needs of communities of color, who are currently over represented in the child welfare system.

    By listening to the community and learning about their needs, we can provide the kind of prevention support that is most impactful. One nationally acclaimed prevention program, Parents as Teachers, works with parents to understand their specific needs and personalize the assistance provided. In one success story, a family found themselves having to choose between obtaining healthcare assistance for the father or maintaining food and shelter. Thanks to the help of the program, they were able to obtain the low-cost healthcare they needed and the parent in need now enjoys more time spent with his kids.

    Courtney Reece is a current MSW student at Virginia Commonwealth University. She is a graduate of Queens University of Charlotte with a Bachelor of Arts in Music. Courtney began her social work career through volunteer efforts with the Richmond YWCA and Kindred Hospice and most recently interned with the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance. She is passionate about influencing policy change and looking to policy and prevention efforts that can disrupt systemic inequity.