WASHINGTON — As child-welfare agencies across the country are overwhelmed with children in need of services due to increased opiate abuse, Congressman Todd Young (R-IN) and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) introduced the Modernizing the Interstate Placement of Children in Foster Care Act to address this nationwide crisis:
“Thousands of children in my state have lost loving parents to opiate addiction, and I fear if we do nothing, we’ll lose thousands in the next generation, too. Modernizing the outdated interstate child placement process is one of a number of proposals that are urgently needed. It will help alleviate the strain on the foster care system. It will more quickly get children placed into loving homes where a set routine and stability will help them cope. Tragedy compounded by extended stints in various foster arrangements has proven detrimental to a child’s future. For children caught up in a system struggling to meet community needs, we should do everything possible to get them immediately placed in the setting that’s best for them, regardless of state boundary lines.” - Congressman Todd Young (R-Indiana)
“Right now, for example, Iowa is not yet a member of the NEICE system. If a child lives in Red Oak, Iowa, and there is a potential family able to care and provide for that child across the state border in Omaha, there might be delays in the paperwork needed for the adoption because the two states can’t exchange data quickly and securely. Throughout the country, caseworkers often avoid exploring out of state placements because of the long delays in processing the paperwork. Our bill gives incentives to states to join the NEICE system and streamline the paperwork to make foster care placements and eventual adoption happen faster. The more we can do to give children safe, stable homes, the better. The increased displacement of kids due to parental substance abuse, including opioid abuse, makes this cause especially important.” – Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa)
-How Modernizing the Interstate Placement of Children can help:
Young and Grassley seek to reduce the amount of time it takes to place children by incentivizing more states to implement the National Electronic Interstate Compact Enterprise, or NEICE system. Six pilot states that utilized NEICE, on average, reduced wait times for children by 30% and anticipate savings of $1.6 million per year in reduced copying, mailing, and administrative costs.
Additional information about the legislation and full bill text are available, here.