D. Heimpel

Daniel Heimpel's life as a journalist

Posts Tagged ‘Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act

THP-Plus among other things on the Radio

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This morning I had the chance to discuss foster care policy in California with Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson. Peterson is rigidly conservative and opposed to almost anything government run.

I tried to explain the need for foster care and increased funding for it. Unfortunately, until there are no longer neglectful or abusive parents, there will need to be a system to provide safety and security for their children. So until that day comes, I say front-load the system.

To listen you will have to go to the Jesse Peterson Radio Show page on podcast alley and upload the podcast from “16 FEB 2010. Big Mamma’s House Hour 1: CALIFORNIA UPDATE: DANIEL HEIMPEL”

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Child Power

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As budgets buckle, foster kids are too often the first to suffer. In this story for the LA Weekly I explore how child advocates and child welfare administrators, with little help from politicians, are relying on foster kids themselves to breathe life into an ailing system.

The funny thing is that the kids are the ones who can do it. They have been reared by the system and are thus perfectly positioned to change it. But isn’t it a shame that we as collective parents have to rely on our collective children to fix the wrongs that we have incurred on them?

The LA Times Follows on Kin-GAP Coverage

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December 30th’s Los Angeles Times features an editorial calling for the withdrawal of ACF guidelines, which preclude existing subsidized guardianship programs from being eligible for new federal funds freed by the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Opportunities Act of 2008. This is the third major publication to describe this situation and is another step towards seeing the guidance rescinded, which will be a boon to tens – if not hundreds – of thousands of foster kids across the country.

Momentum on Kin-GAP guidance

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On Dec. 14th I wrote a story about how the Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families (ACF) was engaged in a game of “chicken” with California’s Department of Social Services (CDSS).

The issue: ACF guidance that excludes state-run foster care administrations from accessing federal matching funds for kids who were already in subsidized guardianship programs before the passage of the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions act of 2008. Fostering Connections provides federal dollars for states that start subsidized or kinship guardianship programs, wherein family members take in kin and receive foster care payments. The problem is that according to the ACF guidance: states can only access the money “prospectively,” meaning that the 27 states including California that have preexisting Kin Care programs can’t draw down federal funds for the tens of thousands of kids already in subsidized care.

So, CDSS is threatening to move kids back into care and out again to make them eligible for federal funds. While I understand why the ACF guidance is written as such, I argue in this piece for the Huffington Post, that rescinding the guidance is a huge opportunity to speed Fostering Connections’ implementation across the country.

Since my story appeared on Dec. 14th, I have been peppering the editorial departments of newspapers up and down the state. So far the San Francisco Chronicle has followed with an editorial on Dec. 21. I have been told that other editorials will follow.

Further, on Dec 18th Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) sent a letter signed by 31 California members of Congress to have the guidance rescinded:Kin-GAP CA Delegation Final

Slowly but surely momentum is building to have this guidance rescinded, which will pave the way for the sweeping implementation of Fostering Connections that foster kids so desperately need.