Testimony to the House Human Services Committee
The Governor, Legislature, and the Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) made important strides over the last two years on foster care and related issues. However, there is more work to do to build on reforms from the 2017 session, and several forces are converging to put foster care front and center on the Legislature’s agenda for the second session in a row. The Legislature should prepare for the implementation of the federal Family First Prevention Services Act, implement safety improvements required by the courts, continue to improve health services provided through Medicaid Managed Care for children in foster care, address the too-high rate of pregnant and parenting youth in foster care, and address parents’ substance use so more families can safely stay together.
The following recommendations address these challenges and opportunities, ways to keep families safely together so more children stay out of foster care, and the Legislature’s responsibility to ensure that children in foster care are safe, healing, and thriving.