Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act

In October 2008, The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 (Fostering Connections Act) unanimously became federal law. Among the law's many provisions, it helps connect foster children with their relatives and promotes permanent families through guardianship.

 

The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008

 

INTRODUCTION
In October 2008, The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 (Fostering Connections Act) unanimously became federal law.  This Act is the most significant child welfare law in the last fifteen years.  It acknowledges the important role grandparents and other relatives play in the lives of children, and helps connect foster children with their relatives.

Kinship Provisions
Among the many aspects of child welfare the law affects, there are several key provisions impacting grandfamilies:

  1. Requires that states identify and notify relatives when children enter foster care. To explore this requirement, see the notification of relatives analysis on this website.
  2. Gives states, tribes and territories the option to use funds through Federal Title IV-E of the Social Security Act (Title IV-E) to finance guardianship assistance programs (GAP) that enable children in the care of grandparents and other relatives to exit foster care into permanent homes. As of March 2020, 40 states, the District of Columbia, 14 tribes or tribal consortia, and Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands have been approved by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Children's Bureau to implement GAP.  For a discussion of this option and its history, see the subsidized guardianship analysis on this website.
  3. Requires child welfare agencies to make reasonable efforts to place siblings together, whether in foster care, kinship guardianship, or adoptive placements. Siblings who are placed in the same home as a child eligible for Title IV-E guardianship payments may also receive support even if they are not otherwise eligible.
  4. Authorizes "Family Connection" Grants to establish kinship navigator programs that help link relative caregivers to a broad range of services and supports for them and the children they raise.  See kinship navigator programs analysis for more information.
  5. Gives states the option to waive non-safety related licensing standards for relatives. See the foster care licensing analysis and Relative Foster Care Licensing Waivers in the States: Policies and Possibilities.  

Other Provisions
Other provisions are aimed at extending direct Title IV-E funding to tribal governments; reauthorizing the Adoption Incentives Program; allowing states the option to receive federal support for foster youth up to age 21; promoting educational stability for children and youth in foster care, guardianship and adoption; requiring health care coordination for children and youth in foster care; and extending federal support for training of professionals and caregivers working with children in the child welfare system. 

 

 

Detailed Summary of the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoption Act AND

Short Summary of the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoption Act

Summaries of the law prepared by several national nonprofits, including Generations United and the ABA Center on Children and the Law.

 

Fostering Connections Act Implementation Reports

This historical document, by the Children's Bureau, provides guidance on the Fostering Connections Act.

 

Frequently Asked Questions on the Provisions Designed to Impact Youth and Young Adults

A publication by the National Foster Care Coalition.

 

Judicial Guide to Implementing Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008

A guide developed by the ABA Center on Children and the Law, NCJFCJ, and NCSC.
 

Program Instruction on Fostering Connections issued (July 9, 2010)
historical guidance from the Children's Bureau on the implementation of the Fostering Connection Act.  

 

Text of Fostering Connections Law

 

 
 

Making it Work: Using the Guardianship Assistance Program (GAP) to Close the Permanency Gap for Children in Foster Care

Examines the benefits of Title IV-E GAP and best practices in states implementing GAP (2012) 

 

The Title IV-E Guardianship Assistance Program (GAP): An Update on Implementation and Moving GAP Forward
Follow up to the Making it Work Report (2015).

 
 

See resources also under Subsidized Guardianship and Notification of Relatives