CWLA Comments on the Impact of ASFA on Adjudicated Juvenile Delinquents
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Pursuant to HHS's request for comments on the impact of the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 (ASFA) on adjudicated juvenile delinquents whose foster care placements are funded through Title IV-E of the Social Security Act, CWLA submitted the following to the Children's Bureau.
January 6, 1999
Director, Division of Policy
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
330 C Street, SW
Washington, DC 20447
Dear Ms. McHugh:
We are pleased to respond to the request for public comment concerning the impact of the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 (ASFA) on adjudicated juvenile delinquents whose foster care placements are funded through Title IV-E of the Social Security Act.
Safety, permanency and well-being issues are particularly critical for young people who have been adjudicated delinquent. Title IV-E was originally passed to help provide a safe home for children who have been abused and/or neglected. Many adjudicated delinquents who have been abused or neglected would clearly benefit from the services and protections provided under Title IV-E programs. We urge that the current requirements for reimbursement under Title IV-E remain in place and that the services and protections afforded by Title IV-E not be diminished for youths because they are adjudicated delinquent or have been incarcerated.
We recommend that the requirement regarding child care facilities not be changed in any way. Title IV-E funds should not be used to pay for room and board in correctional facilities. We strongly recommend that any new policies or technical assistance emphasize the need for coordination of services between child welfare and juvenile justice, as well as education of judges and other court personnel regarding the needs of adjudicated youths. We support the appropriate and flexible use of Title IV-B and IV-E funds by child welfare departments to support compliance with the mandates and requirements under ASFA. For example, family preservation and family reunification services could be provided to incarcerated youths and their families. Title IV-E funds can and should be used to help young people make the transition from correctional facilities back to their families and communities. Title IV-E can and should be used to help support adjudicated delinquents in community foster care placements.
Obviously, it is as important to review each case involving an adjudicated delinquent who has been abused or neglected as it is to review the case of any other child in the child welfare system. This is particularly cogent given the new requirements of ASFA. With respect to terminating parental rights, we think it is very important to ensure that each case is reviewed on its own merit and that a routine policy of TPR not be established with regard to older children and youths. Again, we assert as strongly as possible that the protections and services afforded by Title IV-E should not be compromised by a child's status as delinquent.
We appreciate your attention to these issues and this opportunity to comment. We look forward to working with you as the Children's Bureau clarifies policies for the foster care maintenance program with respect to children who have been adjudicated delinquent.
David S. Liederman
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