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Federal Laws

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Congress has enacted many child welfare laws since the 1970s that address or impact adoption, many of which are summarized below.

All information was obtained from the Child Welfare Information Gateway [link to www.childwelfare.gov], a resource of the federal government's Administration for Children and Families, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services., For more information about these or other pieces of federal legislation, please contact us.

Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008: (P.L. 110-351)

Amends title IV-E to permit States to claim Federal reimbursement for part of the cost of providing kinship guardianship assistance to relatives who become legal guardians of children who have been in foster care. The Act also amends title IV-B to authorize Family Connection Grants for support of kinship navigator programs and other services to help children in, or at risk of entering, foster care to reconnect with family members. It provides or revises requirements for case-by-case waiver of licensing standards for relatives; adoptive or guardianship placement for children older than age 18; a transition plan for children aging out of foster care; short-term training for child welfare agencies, relative guardians, and court personnel; educational stability of the child while in foster care; ongoing oversight and coordination of health care services for any child in a foster care placement; placement of siblings in the same foster care, kinship guardianship, or adoptive placement; foster care and tribal programs operated by Indian tribal organizations; and adoption of children with special needs.

Child and Family Services Improvement Act of 2006 (P. L. 109-288)

Reauthorizes the Promoting Safe and Stable Families (PSSF) program through FY2011, and increases set-asides for Indian tribes. The Act reserves funds for States to develop activities designed to improve caseworker retention, recruitment, training, and ability to access the benefits of technology, as well as to support monthly caseworker visits to children in foster care.

Safe and Timely Interstate Placement of Foster Children Act of 2006 (P. L. 109-239)

Requires each State plan for foster care and adoption assistance to provide that the State shall have procedures for orderly and timely interstate placement of children; complete home studies requested by another State within a specified period; and accept home studies received from another State.

Keeping Children and Families Safe Act of 2003 (P. L. 108-36)

Extends and amends the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act; the Adoption Opportunities Act; the Abandoned Infants Assistance Act; and the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act.

Adoption Promotion Act of 2003 (P.L. 108-145)

Reauthorizes the adoption incentive program under Title IV-E; provides additional incentives for adoption of older children (age 9 and older) from foster care.

Keeping Children and Families Safe Act of 2003 (P.L. 108-36)

Extends and amends the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act,; the Adoption Opportunities Act, the Abandoned Infants Assistance Act, and the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act.

Promoting Safe and Stable Families Amendments of 2001 (P.L. 107-33)

Extends and amends the Promoting Safe and Stable Families program; amends the Foster Care Independent Living program.

Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001 (P.L. 107-16)

Title II includes provisions to extend permanently the adoption credit; increase the maximum credit to $10,000 per eligible child; and increase to $150,000 the beginning of point of the income phase-out range.

Child Citizenship Act of 2000 (P.L. 106-395)

Amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to confer United States citizenship automatically and retroactively to certain foreign-born children adopted by citizens of the United States.

Children's Health Act of 2000 (P.L. 106-310)

Title XII of this Act authorizes funding for adoption awareness activities and public awareness campaigns for adoption of infants and children with special needs.

Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000 (P.L. 106-279)

Provides for implementation of the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption by the United States.

Foster Care Independence Act of 1999 (P.L. 106-169)

Amends title IV-E of the Social Security Act to provide States with more funding and greater flexibility in carrying out programs designed to help children make the transition from foster care to self-sufficiency.

Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 (P.L. 105-89)

Seeks to promote the safety, permanency, and well-being of children in foster care, accelerate the permanent placement of children in care, and increase the accountability of the child welfare system.

Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act Amendments of 1996 (P.L. 104-235)

Reauthorized and amended the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act; The Family Violence Prevention and Services Act; and the Abandoned Infants Assistance Act.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (P.L. 104-191)

Seeks to improve portability and continuity of health insurance coverage; includes adopted children as covered persons.

Multiethnic Placement Act (of the Improving America's Schools Act of 1994) (P.L. 103-382)

Title V (Miscellaneous Provisions) of the Act contains the provisions of the Multiethnic Placement Act.

Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (P.L. 103-3)

Grants family and temporary medical leave for employees, including civil service employees, under certain circumstances, including the birth or adoption of a child.

Abandoned Infants Assistance Act of 1998 (P.L. 100-505)

Funded for fiscal years 1989 through 1991 demonstration projects to provide respite home and other assistance for infants abandoned in hospitals.

Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980 (P.L. 96-272)

Authorized appropriations for adoption and foster care assistance to the States. Required States to provide adoption assistance to parents who adopt a child who is AFDC-eligible and is a child with special needs. For foster care assistance, States are required to make reasonable efforts were made to prevent placement or to reunify children with their families.

Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (P.L. 95-608)

Established standards for the placement of Indian child in foster or adoptive homes.

Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment and Adoption Reform Act of 1978 (P.L. 93-247)

Reauthorized through fiscal year 1981 and amended the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act; funded the Adoption Opportunities program to facilitate the adoption of children with special needs.


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