Magazine article Policy & Practice

Child Welfare Bill Marks Key Legislative Achievement to Enhance Services and Improve Outcomes

Magazine article Policy & Practice

Child Welfare Bill Marks Key Legislative Achievement to Enhance Services and Improve Outcomes

Article excerpt

On September 30, President Obama signed the Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act of 2011 (P.L. 112-34). The law has three overarching goals: (1) reauthorizing Stephanie Tubbs Jones Child Welfare Services (Title IV-B, Part I); (2) reauthorizing Promoting Safe and Stable Families (Title IV-B, Part 2); and (3) extending waiver authority to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to allow states to flexibly use IV-E funds to test innovative strategies in child welfare programs.

The law reinforces Congress' and the Administration's recognition of the importance of prevention of child maltreatment and support of community-based services for children and families at risk or in crisis. It also recognizes the need for public agency flexibility and accountability to be good stewards of public funds and to manage performance, self-correct, innovate, and enhance their ability to achieve positive outcomes.

Requirements in the law include new state plan amendments that allow states to report improvements in the quality of their child welfare interventions. State plans will include information on how agencies are addressing emotional trauma; protocols adopted to monitor the use of psychotropic medications; sources of data and information collected on child deaths due to maltreatment; and activities to address the developmental needs of young children in the child welfare system and reduce their length of stay in foster care. …

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