Fostering Connections Act's Uneven First Five Years

Last October the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act (or Fostering Connections, as it is commonly known) turned five years old. As someone who helped write and pass that law, I can’t help but feel a little bittersweet at where things stand five years later. The Act’s considerable promise has been hamstrung by uneven progress in implementation thus far. read more

California's Lack of Support for Relative Foster Parents

Only 44 percent of Californian foster children currently qualify for federal foster care benefits due to antiquated eligibility rules, and this rate is declining every year. In most placements, the state picks up the slack when a youth is not federally eligible and provides comparable benefits to those received by youth who are federally eligible.  For youth placed with a relative, however, California is one of the few states in the country that does not provide state-only foster care benefits when the child is not federally eligible, leaving these kinship foster parents without any foster care benefits at all. read more

The Importance of Preserving the IV-E Entitlement

“Flexibility” is a buzzword in child welfare policy circles these days. When advocates talk about child welfare reform, increasing funding flexibility is usually one of the primary objectives. It is a worthy goal, in my estimation. But not at the cost of child welfare’s single greatest advantage in federal funding: the entitlement status. read more

Waivers Causing A Rush to Reunification?

As the federal government considers whether or not to renew the Title IV-E waiver that Los Angeles County has been operating under since 2007, it is worth examining the recently released final independent evaluation of the effectiveness of the first several years of the waiver. According to the waiver evaluation by Dr. Charlie Ferguson, significant progress was made on two objectives. But the results for improving child safety and increasing permanency were not all positive. read more


The Benefit of Nonprofit Advocacy in Child Welfare

 As a former Congressional staffer, I witnessed from an insider’s perspective the transformative power that advocacy can have in creating systemic change, especially when undertaken collectively. Unfortunately here in California, I am concerned that many of the state’s child welfare providers are underestimating the value and importance of direct advocacy and policy engagement. read more