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H.R. 2847 - Improving Services for Older Youth in Foster Care Act
Sponsor: John J. Faso (R)
Introduced: 2017-06-21
Bill Status: Received in the Senate and Read twice and referred to the Committee on Finance.
 

Improving Services for Older Youth in Foster Care Act

This bill amends part E (Foster Care and Adoption Assistance) of title IV of the Social Security Act to revise the John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program to:

  • authorize states electing to extend foster care eligibility up to age 21 to extend assistance and services to youths who have aged out of foster care but have not yet reached age 23,
  • authorize redistribution of unexpended amounts among states that apply for additional program funds,
  • allow states to make individuals eligible for participation in the educational and training voucher program through age 25 (but no more than 5 years), and
  • modify congressional reporting requirements.
Full Text


115th CONGRESS
1st Session
H. R. 2847


IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

June 21, 2017

    Received; read twice and referred to the Committee on Finance


AN ACT

    To make improvements to the John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program and related provisions.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “Improving Services for Older Youth in Foster Care Act”.

SEC. 2. Improvements to the John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program and related provisions.

(a) Authority To serve former foster youth up to age 23.—Section 477 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 677) is amended—

(1) in subsection (a)(5), by inserting “(or 23 years of age, in the case of a State with a certification under subsection (b)(3)(A)(ii) to provide assistance and services to youths who have aged out of foster care and have not attained such age, in accordance with such subsection)” after “21 years of age”;

(2) in subsection (b)(3)(A)—

(A) by inserting “(i)” before “A certification”;

(B) by striking “children who have left foster care” and all that follows through the period and inserting “youths who have aged out of foster care and have not attained 21 years of age.”; and

(C) by adding at the end the following:

“(ii) If the State has elected under section 475(8)(B) to extend eligibility for foster care to all children who have not attained 21 years of age, or if the Secretary determines that the State agency responsible for administering the State plans under this part and part B uses State funds or any other funds not provided under this part to provide services and assistance for youths who have aged out of foster care that are comparable to the services and assistance the youths would receive if the State had made such an election, the certification required under clause (i) may provide that the State will provide assistance and services to youths who have aged out of foster care and have not attained 23 years of age.”; and

(3) in subsection (b)(3)(B), by striking “children who have left foster care” and all that follows through the period and inserting “youths who have aged out of foster care and have not attained 21 years of age (or 23 years of age, in the case of a State with a certification under subparagraph (A)(i) to provide assistance and services to youths who have aged out of foster care and have not attained such age, in accordance with subparagraph (A)(ii)).”.

(b) Authority To redistribute unspent funds.—Section 477(d) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 677(d)) is amended—

(1) in paragraph (4), by inserting “or does not expend allocated funds within the time period specified under section 477(d)(3)” after “provided by the Secretary”; and

(2) by adding at the end the following:

“(5) REDISTRIBUTION OF UNEXPENDED AMOUNTS.—

“(A) AVAILABILITY OF AMOUNTS.—To the extent that amounts paid to States under this section in a fiscal year remain unexpended by the States at the end of the succeeding fiscal year, the Secretary may make the amounts available for redistribution in the second succeeding fiscal year among the States that apply for additional funds under this section for that second succeeding fiscal year.

“(B) REDISTRIBUTION.—

“(i) IN GENERAL.—The Secretary shall redistribute the amounts made available under subparagraph (A) for a fiscal year among eligible applicant States. In this subparagraph, the term ‘eligible applicant State’ means a State that has applied for additional funds for the fiscal year under subparagraph (A) if the Secretary determines that the State will use the funds for the purpose for which originally allotted under this section.

“(ii) AMOUNT TO BE REDISTRIBUTED.—The amount to be redistributed to each eligible applicant State shall be the amount so made available multiplied by the State foster care ratio (as defined in subsection (c)(4), except that, in such subsection, ‘all eligible applicant States (as defined in subsection (d)(5)(B)(i))’ shall be substituted for ‘all States’).

“(iii) TREATMENT OF REDISTRIBUTED AMOUNT.—Any amount made available to a State under this paragraph shall be regarded as part of the allotment of the State under this section for the fiscal year in which the redistribution is made.

“(C) TRIBES.—For purposes of this paragraph, the term ‘State’ includes an Indian tribe, tribal organization, or tribal consortium that receives an allotment under this section.”.

(c) Expanding and clarifying the use of education and training vouchers.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—Section 477(i)(3) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 677(i)(3)) is amended—

(A) by striking “on the date” and all that follows through “23” and inserting “to remain eligible until they attain 26”; and

(B) by inserting “, but in no event may a youth participate in the program for more than 5 years (whether or not consecutive)” before the period.

(2) CONFORMING AMENDMENT.—Section 477(i)(1) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 677(i)(1)) is amended by inserting “who have attained 14 years of age” before the period.

(d) Other improvements.—Section 477 of such Act (42 U.S.C. 677), as amended by subsections (a), (b), and (c) of this section, is amended—

(1) in the section heading, by striking “Independence Program” and inserting “Program for Successful Transition to Adulthood”;

(2) in subsection (a)—

(A) in paragraph (1)—

(i) by striking “identify children who are likely to remain in foster care until 18 years of age and to help these children make the transition to self-sufficiency by providing services” and inserting “support all youth who have experienced foster care at age 14 or older in their transition to adulthood through transitional services”;

(ii) by inserting “and post-secondary education” after “high school diploma”; and

(iii) by striking “training in daily living skills, training in budgeting and financial management skills” and inserting “training and opportunities to practice daily living skills (such as financial literacy training and driving instruction)”;

(B) in paragraph (2), by striking “who are likely to remain in foster care until 18 years of age receive the education, training, and services necessary to obtain employment” and inserting “who have experienced foster care at age 14 or older achieve meaningful, permanent connections with a caring adult”;

(C) in paragraph (3), by striking “who are likely to remain in foster care until 18 years of age prepare for and enter postsecondary training and education institutions” and inserting “who have experienced foster care at age 14 or older engage in age or developmentally appropriate activities, positive youth development, and experiential learning that reflects what their peers in intact families experience”; and

(D) by striking paragraph (4) and redesignating paragraphs (5) through (8) as paragraphs (4) through (7);

(3) in subsection (b)—

(A) in paragraph (2)(D), by striking “adolescents” and inserting “youth”; and

(B) in paragraph (3)—

(i) in subparagraph (D)—

(I) by inserting “including training on youth development” after “to provide training”; and

(II) by striking “adolescents preparing for independent living” and all that follows through the period and inserting “youth preparing for a successful transition to adulthood and making a permanent connection with a caring adult.”;

(ii) in subparagraph (H), by striking “adolescents” each place it appears and inserting “youth”; and

(iii) in subparagraph (K)—

(I) by striking “an adolescent” and inserting “a youth”; and

(II) by striking “the adolescent” each place it appears and inserting “the youth”; and

(4) in subsection (f), by striking paragraph (2) and inserting the following:

“(2) REPORT TO CONGRESS.—Not later than October 1, 2018, the Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Ways and Means of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Finance of the Senate a report on the National Youth in Transition Database and any other databases in which States report outcome measures relating to children in foster care and children who have aged out of foster care or left foster care for kinship guardianship or adoption. The report shall include the following:

“(A) A description of the reasons for entry into foster care and of the foster care experiences, such as length of stay, number of placement settings, case goal, and discharge reason of 17-year-olds who are surveyed by the National Youth in Transition Database and an analysis of the comparison of that description with the reasons for entry and foster care experiences of children of other ages who exit from foster care before attaining age 17.

“(B) A description of the characteristics of the individuals who report poor outcomes at ages 19 and 21 to the National Youth in Transition Database.

“(C) Benchmarks for determining what constitutes a poor outcome for youth who remain in or have exited from foster care and plans the executive branch will take to incorporate these benchmarks in efforts to evaluate child welfare agency performance in providing services to children transitioning from foster care.

“(D) An analysis of the association between types of placement, number of overall placements, time spent in foster care, and other factors, and outcomes at ages 19 and 21.

“(E) An analysis of the differences in outcomes for children in and formerly in foster care at age 19 and 21 among States.”.

(e) Clarifying documentation provided to foster youth leaving foster care.—Section 475(5)(I) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 675(5)(I)) is amended by inserting after “REAL ID Act of 2005” the following: “, and any official documentation necessary to prove that the child was previously in foster care”.

Passed the House of Representatives June 20, 2017.

    Attest:karen l. haas,   
    Clerk

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