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Mayor de Blasio Signs Foster Care Bill Package into Law

Mayor de Blasio Signs Foster Care Bill Package into Law

Today, Mayor de Blasio signed SEVEN bills aimed at strengthening the foster care system.

We are so grateful to the Mayor’s office, the Administration for Children’s Services, City Council General Welfare Chair Stephen Levin, the entire City Council which unanimously voted in favor of these bills, and most of all to the foster youth for the tremendous collaboration that led to the passage of these bills—and will lead to progress in the coming months and years ahead.

A little over one year ago, CCC had several key meetings with Council Member Levin where we brainstormed and strategized legislation that could help us as a City better meet the needs of the children, youth and their families in the foster care system.

This led to the introduction of 7 bills and 1 resolution, many of which CCC was involved in helping to craft, last June.  The City Council held a press conference and a hearing last June.  You can read CCC’s testimony.

These bills will:

  • Require ACS to revise three existing data reporting bills to better track key issues related to youth and youth aging out of foster care, such as high school graduation rates, access to housing assistance, permanency plans and receipt of various forms of identification, in a format that will allow for annual comparisons.
  • Require ACS to report annually on educational stability for children who enter foster care and for children who change foster care placements.
  • Require ACS to create and post publicly a five-year plan to address barriers to permanency for foster youth.
  • Require ACS to provide an annual survey to all youth in foster care ages 13 and older regarding their foster care experiences.
  • Create an interagency task force, that includes key stakeholders, to submit recommendations for improving services for youth in foster care and outcomes for youth aging out of foster care.

The resolution was in support of state legislation to increase the amount of the child welfare housing subsidy from $300-$600 and to increase the age of eligibility from 21 to 24 for youth aging out of foster care. CCC has been working closely with Assembly Member Hevesi at the State level and is grateful to Council Member Salamanca, Jr. for sponsoring this resolution.

The City Council unanimously voted in favor of these bills and the resolution on October 27, 2016.

We believe that this package of bills will help the child welfare community better understand the strengths, needs and barriers in the system (and other city systems) over time, which will in turn help us better focus our advocacy efforts at the federal, state and local level regarding budgets, legislation, and policies.

You can read more about the bills in the Brooklyn Eagle  and in the Foster care roundup by the Redlich Horwitz Foundation.

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