Essay: Child welfare policy

The Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 (Public Law 105-89) was a major reform with regards to child welfare provisions since being enacted in the early 1980’s (Murray & Gesiriech, 2005). The legislation provided a background on which amendments to various acts have passed to date. According to David (2013), the Adaption and Safe Families Act ( ASFA) essentially addressed major issues about the child welfare system. On top of their list was concern that children continued to remain under foster care for long periods without parenting. Secondly, some level of bias was evident in the system especially towards preservation of the family while at the same time considering the well-being of the children. Nevertheless, the level of resources and attention awarded to adoption was not sufficient. In spite of being recognized as the most viable option for neglected and abused children, the amounts of resource put in did not add up ( Briggs, 2012).
The ideology influencing the policy was in the fact that children were suffering from the effects of lack of a better legislation then (Axinn & Stern 2011). A quick response was required to help rescue the already deteriorating condition of children welfare conditions. There response was bound to make systems better giving provisions whereby child safety and well-being flourished, the state having witnessed the suffering children had to undergo (Moffitt, 2008). Furthermore, there was need to expedite permanency decisions for the children under foster care as well as promote and increase the number of adoption of a new incentive program. Encouraging innovative approaches on the delivery of child welfare services was also among the objectives. This process would happen by ensuring an accountability system was available.
As part of the restructuring process, the Congress reauthorized the Family Preservation and Family Support Services Program and renamed it Promoting Safe and Stable Families (PSSF).Child welfare under the new body became a critical responsibility of the state and includes protecting children from abuse and neglect, ensuring that children have safe, stable, and permanent living situations. States and the federal government spent about $25 billion every year on child welfare services alone over the past budget allocations. State legislators play a major role in funding, structuring, and overseeing child welfare systems and enacting more than 300 child welfare bills every year. NCSL tracks legislation and provides legislators and legislative staff research and technical assistance on foster care, adoption, child maltreatment, kinship care and more. NCSL’s Washington, D.C. staff track and analyze federal legislation and policy for the full range of human services issues and represents state legislatures before Congress and the Administration.
The benefits of the policy are majorly on the children since it does address them. However, parents also benefit from this since issues of paternalism do come in. It does mean that advantages go overboard than just helping the children live better. With an elaborate system of handling the needs of the children it means that they are able to get education and get jobs in the future. Moreover, they are able to focus on the future to achieve the goals they may have in life just like other children.
A detailed description of the policy included The Foster Care Independence Act of
1999 (Public Law 106-169) replaced the Independent Living Program with the John
H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program (CFCIP). To date the congress has continually done amendments to the acts on ensuring child safety including 2005, 2006, 2007/2008, 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2014. Currently, the rights of children have become significant even as the United States went forth to establish an adoption of the
United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. (Reynaert, Bouverne-de-Bie & Vandevelde, 2009.
In addition to increasing funding, CFCIP expanded the existing independent living program to include services for both adolescents making the transition from foster care to self-sufficiency and former foster youth up to age 21. Authorized services included: Financial and housing assistance, and ‘ Counseling and other support services needed to help foster youth successfully transition to independence. In addition, CFCIP gave states the option to provide continuing Medicaid coverage to certain former foster youth. Although the program targeted emancipated and emancipating foster youth, CFCIP was designed as an option for states, rather
than a permanency option for foster youth .
The Strengthening Abuse and Neglect Courts Act of 2000 (SANCA, Public Law 106- 314) was enacted to help courts to achieve two primary goals of reducing the backlog of cases involving neglect and abuse. Moreover, Expedite the flow of individual cases through the court system by automating case-tracking and data-collection systems. SANCA provides relatively small grants to courts to fund projects that target these goals. (In FY 2003, Congress appropriated $2 million for the program.)
In 2001, Congress reauthorized and made amendments to the Promoting Safe and Stable Families program (Public Law 107-133). Specifically, Congress increased the authorization level from $305 million to $505 million. (The mandatory funding level remained at $305 million. Any funding amount above that floor’and below the new $505 million ceiling’is discretionary, or subject to the annual appropriations process.) The amendments also emphasized the importance of providing post-adoption services and substance abuse treatment.
The legislation also amended CFCIP, authorizing a new educational and vocational training program for older youth leaving foster care.
Finally, the amendments reauthorized the set-aside of PSSF mandatory funds for the Court Improvement Program, and expanded the scope of authorized activities. The amendments also authorized a new set-aside, which is 3.3 percent of all discretionary funding appropriated for PSSF (that is, funding above the $305 million mandatory funding floor.)
Evaluation of funding is to be done by the congress on the amounts that have been allocated over the years. That is the reason why there have been legislations addressing the subject in every budgetary year.
Child Welfare is a critical state responsibility and includes protecting children from abuse and neglect, and ensuring that children have safe, stable, and permanent living situations. States and the federal government spend about $25 billion every year on child welfare services. State legislators play a major role in funding, structuring, and overseeing child welfare systems and enacting more than 300 child welfare bills every year. NCSL tracks legislation and provides legislators and legislative staff research and technical assistance on foster care, adoption, child maltreatment, kinship care and more. NCSL’s Washington, D.C. staff track and analyze federal legislation and policy for the full range of human services issues and represents state legislatures before Congress and the Administration.

The National Conference of State Legislatures’ (NCSL) Child Welfare Project in the Children and Families Program tracks legislative enactments related to the safety, permanence, and well-being of children and families through its yearly compilation of state legislative enactments.
During the 2014 legislative session, NCSL identified at least 294 child welfare-related bills enacted in approximately 45 states.
The unintended consequence in this case refers to the negative effects that come with the welfare project. Among them is the fact that certain immigrants have been locked out of the program and despite being American citizens they are unable to enjoy their benefits. The project itself provides an overview of those enactments in several areas that has fostered infant abandonment and child abuse in certain areas (McClellan et al 2010). Nevertheless, parental rights have also been terminated in some states. The models still fail to address its intended purpose since it obscures the important role of poverty in child abuse , neglect and fosters conflict rather than problem solving (Huntington, 2006).

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