A coalition of child welfare, adoption, healthcare, and education leaders has announced the launch of a national effort to fully implement the Fostering Connections Act, year-old legislation designed to address the healthcare needs of foster youth.
On the first anniversary of passage of the act, the coalition announced the creation of the Fostering Connections Resource Center, a nonpartisan clearinghouse that will work to provide timely data and customized tools created by experts in order to serve state and local decision makers as they move forward with implementation of the law. The coalition is comprised of nine organizations working to improve the lives of vulnerable children and families: the Annie E. Casey, Eckerd Family, Sierra Health, Stuart, and Walter S. Johnson foundations; Casey Family Programs; the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption; the Duke Endowment; and the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative.
While some progress has been made toward full implementation of the law, many states have reported difficulty in fulfilling certain aspects of it, such as new requirements for state child welfare agencies to coordinate with local education agencies and state health plans. The center’s national network of state-based and local experts will work to address these challenges, identify what is working, assist in the delivery and dissemination of resources, and provide technical assistance to state leaders.
“Congress took a bold and important step a year ago by passing the most important federal child welfare legislation in at least a decade,” said Cari DeSantis, executive vice president of public affairs and communications for Casey Family Programs. “Casey and our consortium partners are committed to removing any barrier to implementation of the Fostering Connections Act. None of us wants a child to wait a minute longer than necessary to live in a safe, loving, and permanent family home.”