Last week CWLA sent a letter to members of the Senate Finance Committee reminding Senate Finance Committee members to include The Family-Based Foster Care Services Act: HR.835/S.429 in future child welfare reform legislation. The leadership of the Finance Committee is attempting to present legislation for debate in Committee at some point in the next two months. Discussions are ongoing between Senator Hatch (R-UT) and Senator Wyden’s (D-OR) offices with a desire to find some common ground on expanded front and follow up services, monitoring of residential-congregate care and increased oversight of psychotropic medications.
If there is an agreement between the two leaders it is also possible additional measures could be included such as the Casey/Bass bills (see below) and priorities such as the therapeutic foster care bill. With that in mind CWLA sent the letter to all members.
In the CWLA letter asking Finance Committee members to include S 429 in the legislation President and CEO Christine James-Brown said,
“CWLA believes that we need a system that can keep children out of foster care whenever possible but provide the best care whenever necessary. With the 2013 and 2014 increases in foster care placements this is even more urgent.”
Therapeutic Foster Care or TFC is a distinct and powerful intervention that provides children with a combination of the best elements of traditional foster care and residential treatment centers. In Therapeutic Foster Care, the positive aspects of the nurturing and therapeutic family environment are combined with active and structured treatment. Therapeutic Foster Programs provide, in a clinically effective and cost-effective way, individualized and intensive treatment for children and adolescents who might otherwise be placed in institutional settings.
The CWLA letter went on to state, “Therapeutic foster care is one critical element on the needed continuum of care in an effective child welfare system. Inclusion of S. 429 in future legislative reforms would be an important step for Congress to take.”
CWLA members are encouraged to reach out to members of the Senate Finance Committee in support of S 429.