Before consideration of more partisan issues, the House Ways and Means Committee passed in bipartisan fashion a bill that will make improvements in the interstate placement of children, HR 4472.

CWLA has endorsed legislation, The Modernizing the Interstate Placement of Children in Foster Care Act, HR 4472 and its Senate version S 2574 The House bill was introduced by Congressman Todd Young (R-IN) and the Senate bill is sponsored by Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA). The two bills set aside $5 million for one year through Title VI-B to expand a strategy that helps states speed up the placement of children in foster care, adoptions and kinship care when that placement is in another state.  The funding would expand a project that has shown great promise over the last several years. The NEICE, or National Electronic Interstate Compact Enterprise was a pilot project by HHS that assisted six initial states to speed up the interstate placements by using a web based information system.

The six states showed dramatic improvement in how long it takes to place a child across state lines for placements. Since the start of the 1960s these placements across state lines has been governed by an interstate compact on the placement children, the ICPC. Attempts have been made to update these joint state rules but that has fallen short in recent years. There was also an attempt in federal legislation earlier in the last decade to incentivize and provide bonuses to speed up such placements but that law was never funded and never had an impact.

The NEICE project showed a dramatic improvement in the states it was piloted in with a 30% reduction in times to place a child across state line and an average savings of $1.6 million per year in reducing copying, mailing, and administrative costs. Part of the success is the elimination of an old-fashioned paperwork based system.  A web-based or Internet-based approach can reduce that arcane process and can rapidly provide vital case level information.

The Committee approved the bill by a unanimous voice vote.  Original cosponsors of the legislation include Congressman Danny Davis (D-IL) and Congresswoman Susan Brooks (R-IN) and in the Senate Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Senator Al Franken (D-MN) and Senator Garry Peters (D-MI) lending support to the Grassley bill.