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Foster Care 1999 Essay Research Paper Foster

Foster Care 1999 Essay, Research Paper

Foster Care Independence Act of 1999

Table of Contents

Title Page

Table of Contents 1

Introduction 2

History 4

Political Forces 8

Values 8

Programs Implemented 8

Funding 11

Intended or Unintended Results 14

Suggestions for Improvements 14

Bibliography 17

Neeley Keith

Dr. Howard

Social Policy

April 25, 2000

Foster Care Independence Act of 1999


Before this bill was signed into law the Federal

Government provided about $70 million per year to conduct

programs for adolescents leaving foster care that are

designed to help them establish independent living.

Research and numerous reports from States conducting these

programs indicate that adolescents leaving foster care do

not fare well. As compared with other adolescents and young

adults their age, they are more likely to quit school, to be

unemployed, to be on welfare, to have mental health

problems, to be parents outside marriage, to be arrested, to

be homeless, and to be the victims of violence and other

crimes (Cook, 1991).

The need for special help for youths ages 18 to 21 who

have left foster care must be recognized to understand why

the passage of this bill was so important. In the majority

of states, emancipation of a foster youth is not determined

by readiness, but happens by statute at 18 or upon

attainment of a high school diploma or GED. Research

demonstrates that young people who emancipate from the

foster care system experience great risk in terms of

emotional, economic, and physical safety. Like all youth in

their age bracket, they are more likely to be unemployed or

underemployed, with the additional burden of less

educational achievement and opportunity. Young people

report that the transition to independence and expected

self-sufficiency is often very rapid, sometimes unplanned

for and unexpected , and results in their feeling “dumped”

(Mech, 1994).

To strengthen the system of support that contributes to

the safety of young people emancipating from the foster care

system we must: Increase early and consistent access to

independent living preparation, especially opportunities for

realistic practice of employment and life skills; ensure the

active involvement of young people in the individual

planning and decision making process that will lead to

successful emancipation; increase access to emergency

shelter, transitional housing, and longer-term affordable

housing options; ensure that no youth is discharged to

homelessness and provide support and concrete assistance,

including health care, basic necessities, and formal

aftercare services through age 21 (Nixon, 1998). These

things listed above are addressed in bill H.R. 3443.

Young people need appropriate information about the

strengths and limitations of all permanency options,

including adoption, legal guardianship, and other permanent

living arrangement, as well as emancipation. Though many

foster teens are adopted each year, emancipation to

independence is the reality for many others. Long lasting,

supportive, and strong connections to family members,

friends, and other adults are critical to young people’s

healthy development while they are in foster care and to

their success in adult life. Young people report that

relationships with people who care about them and are there

for them consistently make all the difference in the world

when they are on their own (Mech, 1994). These are some of

the problems faced by 20,000 foster children who age-out of

care each year.


In the early 1980’s, older adolescents in foster care

and young adults who had been discharged from foster care

become a source of great concern to professionals in human

services and to society at large. Many young people

released from foster care were returning to the care of the

state as adults, either through the welfare or criminal

justice systems, or as residents in shelters for the

homeless(Stone, 1987). At the same time, studies such as

the one conducted by Westat in 1986 showed that about half

of the children in foster care nationally were age 12 or

older, and that many of these teenagers would exit foster

care as adults who must live on their own (Westat, 1988;

Stone, 1987). Public agencies recognized the need to make

fundamental changes in their programs and services for these

older children, particularly in the areas of education,

employment, life-skills, and decision-making.

These concerns culminated in the passage of legislation

creating a federal Independent Living Program in 1986. In

1987, funds were allocated and program implementation began

in all 50 states. In some states, federal funds

supplemented state funds that were already being directed to

the provision of independent living services to older teens

in foster care. Maryland, for example, had recognized the

need for independent living services for teens and begun

implementing a state funded program in 1985.

The Independent Living Program amended in 1990 to

extend eligibility for independent living services to age 21

at state option. This extension recognizes that young

people in foster care often face difficulty in making abrupt

transition out of care at age 18, and that services are more

effective on a longer continuum. In 1993, the Program was

permanently authorized and funded at $70 million. These

funds are distributed to states by formula, and must be

matched dollar for dollar over the original amount allocated

to the state in 1986. Federal Independent Living Program

funds may be used to provide counseling, educational

assistance, life-skill training, and vocational support to

youth in care. Funds were also directed to state and local

independent living staff positions, staff training, foster

parent training, and youth participation activities such as

annual youth independent living conferences.

The Federal Independent Living Program does not require

states to provide specific services (other than an initial

life-skills assessment), and allows great flexibility in

program design. States are required to have a state plan

for independent living services, and individual independent

living plan for each youth participating in the program, and

cooperative and collaborative efforts among agencies. Other

than these basic requirements, states have tremendous

flexibility in designing and delivering independent living

services. Many states’ independent living programs vary

widely across counties and cities as well. Programs in each

state vary according to how social services are

administered, i.e., centrally, through a state department or

social services, or locally, through a county administered

system. The presence of state Independent Living

Coordinators and state-wide Independent Living Advisory

Committees facilitates the sharing of program strategies and

fosters consistency in program implementation.

Federal funds were not to be used to provide room and

board to youth participating in the independent living

program; residential services or other housing assistance

were provided through other funding sources. For example,

in many states, residential placements and subsidized

independent living services were paid through Title IV-E

foster care maintenance funds or other state funds (Cook,


On May 6th 1999, Congresswomen Nancy L. Johnson (R-CT),

Chairman, Subcommittee on Human Resources of the Committee

on Ways and Means introduced bill H.R. 3443. The bill was

introduced to assist States in strengthening and expanding

programs for youth emancipating from foster care to help

them establish independent living (Committee on Ways and

Means, 1999).

In a flurry of activity prior to adjournment, Congress

approved legislation to provide additional supports to young

people aging out of foster care. The Foster Care

Independence Act, now recorded as H.R. 3443 was approved by

the House on November 18, and then by just minutes before

the Senate adjourned for the year on November 19. The final

version of the Foster Care Independence Act includes

language from the bill (H.R. 1802) passed by the House in

June. The revised bill also has new provisions reflecting

input from the Senate.

On December 14, 1999, the President signed into law the

Foster Care Independence Act of 1999, Public Law 106-169.

The law includes provisions relating to foster care and

attached to the law are provisions that establishes new

title VIII of the Social Security Act for providing special

cash benefits to certain World War II veterans.

Political Forces

A number of organizations, including CWLA, the National

Resource Center for Youth Development, the National

Independent Living Association and the Daniel Memorial

Institute supported bill H.R. 3443 and provide resources,

information, training and other support to independent

living programs nationwide. Groups or organization opposing

bill H.R. 3443 were not found. The bill had support in the

Senate and the House. The vote in the House was 427 for it

and 8 opposing the bill.


Values underlying this policy would be in support of

the worthy poor. Orphaned children have always been deemed

as worthy poor and it was obvious the needs of the children

aging-out of foster care have without governmental help.

These children are mostly wards of the State and it is the

States responsibility to care for them. Bill H.R. 3443

gives the States more flexibility and funds to assist these

children, the worthy poor.

Social Programs Implemented

Services and programs provided through federally and

state-funded independent living programs represent one part

of the continuum of services and opportunities available to

young people in foster care. Independent Living program

services may include:

Centralized state-wide activities, resources,

information, and program planning available through

federally funded independent living program, and

implemented by the state Independent Living Coordinator

and, if in place, the state Independent Living Advisory


Assessment, life-skills activities, training, support and

case management related to preparation for independent

living provided by individual case workers and

independent living coordinators at the local or county


Residential services, including foster homes, stipend

boarding arrangements, supervised independent living

apartment, residential group care, and apartment-based

independent living programs. These programs may also

include counseling, educational/vocational assistance,

case management, life-skills training, socialization, and

community resource development (Cook, 1986).

Most states offer all the basic services that the

federal Independent Living Initiative supports: education

and/or employment assistance; training in daily life skills;

individual and group counseling; integration and

coordination of services; outreach; and a written individual

transitional living plan for each participant. The

availability of these services varies widely among the

states, as does eligibility for participation in IL

programs. Independent living services, by law, must be

available to all youth in foster care at age 16. Some

states, such as New York, Maryland and Missouri, have chosen

to use state funds to provide independent living services

for youth as young as 13 or 14. Eligibility to receive

services ends at 6 months after emancipation, which occurs

between ages 18 and 21, depending on the state. It is

important to note that the majority of states are reaching

only 50% of the youth eligible to receive independent living

services (Stone, 1987).

Completion of a high school education, and

participation in higher education, are some of the strongest

indicators of future ability to achieve and maintain

self-sufficiency after discharge from Social

Services’custody (Cook, Fleishman, & Grimes, 1991). Youth

who receive support from the state (their legal “parent”) up

to age 21 and who participate in post-secondary education

programs may be more likely to obtain living-wage

employment, less likely to become pregnant as teenagers,

less likely to become involved in the criminal justice

system, and less likely to become homeless or join the

welfare rolls after discharge.

This is a fairly new public law so the effectiveness of

the law is unstudied. It will be years before anyone will

know if the bill helped the foster children who aged-out of

foster care. It looks hopeful that the bill reaches it’s



One of the goals for bill H.R. 3443 is to increases

funds to states to assist youths to make the transition from

foster care to independent living. Federal funding for the

Independent Living program was doubled – from $70 million to

$140 million a year. Funds can be used to help youths make

the transition from foster care to self-sufficiency by

offering them the education, vocational and employment

training necessary to obtain employment and prepare for post

secondary education, training in daily living skills,

substance abuse prevention, pregnancy prevention and

preventive health activities, and connections to dedicated


States must contribute a 20 percent state match for

Independent Living Program funds. States must use federal

training funds (authorized by Title IV-E of the Social

Security Act) to help foster parents, adoptive parents,

group home workers, and case managers to address issues

confronting adolescents preparing for independent living.

States must use some portion of their funds for assistance

and services for older youths who have left foster care but

have not reached age 21 (Cook, 1991). States can use up to

30 percent of the Independent Living Program funds for room

and board for youths ages 18 to 21 who have left foster

care. States may extend Medicaid to 18, 19, and

20-year-olds who have been emancipated from foster care

(Schor, 1982). Access to the new independent living funds

is not contingent upon states exercising that option.

The bill offers states greater flexibility in designing

their independent living programs. States can serve

children of various ages who need help preparing for

self-sufficiency (not just those ages 16 and over as in

pervious law), children at various stages of achieving

independence, and children in different parts of the state

differently; they also can use a variety of providers to

deliver independent living services. The assets limit for

the federal foster care program was changed to allow youths

to have $10,000 in savings (rather than the current $1,000

limit) and still be eligible for foster care payments (Nixon


Bill H.R. 3443 establishes accountability for states in

implementing the independent living programs. The Secretary

of Health and Human Services (HHS) must, in consultation

with federal, state, and local officials, advocates, youth

service providers, and researchers, develop outcome measures

to assess state performance. Outcomes include education

attainment, employment, avoidance of dependency,

homelessness, non-marital childbirth, high-risk behaviors,

and incarceration. HHS must also collect necessary to track

how many children are receiving services, services received

and provided, and implement a plan for collecting needed

information. HHS must also report to Congress and propose

state accountability procedures and penalties for


States must coordinate the independent living funds

with other funding sources for similar services. States

are subject to penalty if they misuse funds or fail to

submit required data on state performance. $2.1 million was

set aside for a national evaluation and for technical

assistance to states in assisting youths transitioning from

foster care.

The total amount of funds authorized for bill H.R.3443

was $140 million; however, the FY 2000 appropriation is $105

million. Therefore, the total amount available for State

allotments in FY 2000 is $102,900,000. Also, Puerto Rico

will participate in Federal program for the first time,

increasing to 52 the total number of jurisdictions

participation in the Independent Living Programs.

In line with current appropriation law, States must

spend FY 1998 and FY 1999 monies in accordance with the

former Section 477 provisions. No FY 1998 or FY 1999 funds

may be expended for costs incurred under the new provisions

implemented by Public Law 106-169. For example, no room and

board or services for children younger than 16 may be

provided with funds awarded prior to the enactment of the

new law. Also, amounts paid to the State under the law must

be used to supplement, not supplant, any other funds

available for the same general purposes.

Intended or Unintended Results

Intended benefits have already been discussed. They

include more educated foster children who would be more

employable, less foster children who become pregnant, less

foster children involved in the criminal justice system and

less homelessness.

Unintended results may include a group of young adults

that are still dependent on the state after turning 21.

This may cause more aged-out foster children to enroll into

welfare rolls and cause them to feel entitled to benefits.

Suggestions for Improvements

More money is needed to implement these services

appropriately. This would be the first change to be made.

An allotment of $30,000 per child for four years would be

set aside to pay university tuition. There would be a

requirement that all foster children either receive a high

school diploma or receive a GED by their 18th birthday and

enroll in a university or vocational school.

Personal and social functioning, health, education and

employment are all critical areas of well-being for young

people as they move toward adulthood. The experience that

result in children and youth being placed in foster care, as

well as the actual experience of foster care, can create

barriers to achieving well-being in any or all of these

areas. Coordinated efforts on the part of policymakers,

public official, caregivers, service providers, educators,

community members, and youth themselves would be critical to

the positive development of young people making the

transition to productive interdependence. Young people who

have left the foster care system say the disruptions in

education due to changing placements, inadequate preparation

for the workplace, lack of access to physical and mental

health care, and the immediate struggle for day-to-day

survival after leaving care make planning for a good future

very, very difficult. To ensure the well-being of

transitioning foster youth, I would: provide a continuum of

support and preparation for adulthood that begins when a

child or youth enters foster care and continues through the

post-emancipation period; stabilize foster care placements

to ensure educational continuity and achievement; increase

youth involvement in the planning and delivery of services

to transitioning youth at local, state, and national levels;

create national and local networks of foster youths and

former foster youths that will enhance overall levels of

support and participation; provide opportunities for

organizations serving older youth to network with each

other, communicate strategies, and coordinate service

delivery; facilitate greater coordination among and between

national and local education, housing, health, employment,

and assistance programs to better serve this population and

ensure accountability through data collection on 6-24 month

outcomes for youth leaving foster care and evaluation of

independent living services.


American Academy of Pediatrics (AAAP), Committee on Early

Childhood, Adoption, and Dependent Care. (1994,

February). Health care of children in foster care.

Pediatrics 93 (2), 1 – 4.

Burrell, K. & Perez-Ferreiro, V. (1995). A National Review

of Management of the Federally Funded Independent

Living Program. Boston, MA: Harvard UP. (Malcolm

Wiener Center for Social Policy, John F. Kennedy School

of Government).

Child Welfare League of America. (1989). CWLA standards for

independent living services. Washington, DC: Author.

Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee on Human

Resources, Hearing Advisory (1999).[Online].



Cook, R. (1991). A national evaluation of Title IV-E foster

care independent living programs for youth: Phase 2.

Rockville, MD: Westat, Inc. (Contract No. OHDS

105-87-1608, U.S. Department of Health and Human


Cook, R., & Ansell, D.I. (1986). Independent living service

for youth in substitute care. Prepared for the

Administration for Children, Youth, and Families, U.S.

Department of Health and Human Services. Rockville, MD:

Westat, Inc., Contract OHOS 105-84-1814.

Cook, R., Fleishman, E., & Grimes, V.(1991) A national

evaluation of Title IV-E foster care independent living

programs for youth, Phase 2. (Final Report for Contract

105-87-1608). Rockville, MD: Westat, Inc.

Halfon, N., Berkowitz, G., & Klee, L. (1992a) Children in

foster care in California: An examination of Medicaid

reimbursed health services utilization. Pediatrics 89,


Hochstadt, N., Jaudes, P., Zimo, D., & Schachter, J. (1987).

The medical and psychosocial needs of children entering

foster care. Child Abuse and Neglect 11, 3-62.

Homes for the Homeless, Homelessness: The Foster Care

Connection [Online]. Available:


Mech, E. (1994). Foster youth in transition: Research

perspectives on preparation for independent living.

Child Welfare, LXXIII (5), 603-623.

National Coalition for the Homeless (1998). Breaking the

Foster Care-Homelessness connection [On-line].

Available: http://nch.ari.nte/sn/1998/setp/foster.html

Nixon, R. (1999) Improving economic opportunity for youth

formerly served by the foster care system: Identifying

the support network’s strengths and needs: Final

Report. Washington, DC: Child Welfare League of


Petit, M.R., Curtis, P.A., Woodruff, K., Arnold, L.,

Feagans, L., & Ang. J. (1999). Child abuse and neglect:

A look at the states. Washington, DC: Child Welfare

League of America.

Schor, E.L. (1992). The foster care system and the health

status of foster children. Pediatrics 69 (5), 521-528.

Schor, E.L. (1988). Foster care. The Pediatric Clinics of

North America 35 (6), 1241-1252.

Simms, M.D. (1998). The foster care clinic: A community

program to identify treatment needs of children in

foster care. Journal of Development and Behavioral

Pediatrics 10, 121-128.

Stone, H. (1987). Ready, set, go: An agency guide to

independent living. Washington, DC: Child Welfare

League of America.

THOMAS.(2000). Bill Summary and Status for the 106th

Congress. [Online]. Available: http://thomas.loc.gov


The outline

The introduction states the main topic or idea of the

outline, and the conclusion summarizes it.

Each sub-topic describes the main idea for a paragraph.

Supporting information and details for a sub-topic are listed

under the sub-topic with each piece of information listed


When supporting information is listed under a sub-topic,

there are at least two pieces of information listed. If there

is only one piece of information to support a sub-topic, the

information is included in the sub-topic.

The paper

The paper follows the organization of the outline.

Each paragraph in the paper matches a sub-topic in the

outline, and presents the information and details listed

under the sub-topic.

Each paragraph includes a topic sentence that summarizes the

main idea of the paragraph.

Every sentence begins with a capital letter.

Every sentence ends with a period, question mark, or

exclamation mark.

All words are spelled correctly.

There are no missing words.

Every source has a specific reference in the paper. Include

only the sources that are mentioned in the paper.

Each entry follows the correct format for the type of


Entries are listed in alphabetical order, according to the

author’s last name.

Tips for writing your report

Create a schedule.

Identify the tasks you need to do.

Arrange the tasks in the order you’ll need to do them.

Estimate how long each task will take. Be sure to allow

enough time for editing and making changes.

Identify the date the report is due, then set a schedule

showing what work you’ll need to do each day in order to have

your report ready on time.

Add interest.

Use graphs and charts to illustrate an idea.

Add a picture, photo, or drawing.

Include a map.

Find a quotation and use it to make your point.

Make every word count.

Choose words your reader will understand. Remember you want

to communicate your idea to the person reading your paper.

Avoid clich?s.

Use a thesaurus to replace overworked words and find new ways to express

your ideas.

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