Children enter foster care through no fault of their own. They have been abused and/or neglected and are unable to live safely with their parents. All of these children in care have experienced loss and some form of trauma causing harm to their developing brains, affecting them years later with their physical health, cognitive and academic functioning, and social emotional well being. These outcomes can be positively influenced by the type of placement, the stability of the placement and access to services and supports.
All of MSPCC works closely with the foster family association, MAFF, to advocate for children in foster care and the families who care for them. Ensuring that the daily rate of support for foster children is sufficient to meet a child’s basic needs means that income alone is not a barrier to an otherwise appropriate foster placement with kin and that DCF can recruit and retain a stable and diverse pool of foster homes throughout MA. Most children in care will be reunited with their biological parents. MSPCC works to ensure children in care have access to quality health care, including behavioral health care and educational achievement.
What we’re doing: Budget Priorities
Keep the Daily Rate of Support on pace with USDA Rate for Raising a Child
We aim to secure an appropriate daily rate of support that covers the cost of providing for the basic needs of children in foster care.
Accessible Child Care for Children in Care
Accessible child care for working foster parents, including kin, is critical to the recruitment and retention of foster parents. Currently, child care assistance programs for children in DCF care have long waitlists and some foster parents are being asked to pay out-of-pocket for child care for children placed with them. This financial burden has made foster parenting impossible for many qualified families.
Ensuring the Department of Children and Families Youth’s Access to Higher Education
In FY 2017, the waiver supported 890 students who are working to a college degree. These students would have faced tremendous obstacles to attending college without this support- for many it would simply have been impossible. Our request supports the full year waiver for all eligible students that DCF anticipates will seek the waiver in FY 2019.
Foster parents, do these items reflect your needs and those of the children in your home? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org
What we’re doing: Legislative Priorities
Foster Parent Bill of Rights
HD 1702 An Act to Establish a Foster Parent Bill of Rights
Foster, pre-adoptive, and kinship caregivers play a critical, everyday role supporting the 6,000+ children in the care of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The responsibilities of foster parents are made clear through extensive training and formalized in Department of Children & Families’ policies and regulations. However, it is equally important for foster parents to have a clear understanding of their rights. This bill is intended to make the rights of foster parents clear. Learn more here.
Concerning 51A Allegations
HD 2127: An Act regarding Background Checks on Foster Parents
This bill codifies EEC background check regulations to apply to all background checks such that a DCF background check on a foster parent with no record of harming a child is always reported to the requestor as “no record”.
Foster parents are, and should be, held to a very high standard of conduct. In addition, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) must look closely at and, in the vast majority of cases, fully investigate any allegation that a foster parent has abused or neglected a child in their care. On balance however, records of investigations where no wrong doing by a foster parent was found should not hamper their opportunities for employment or housing.
Our priorities are developed in collaboration with the MA Alliance for Families.
What you can do:
If you are interested in becoming a foster parent, you may call the DCF recruitment Line at 1-800-KIDS-508 or contact them through mass.gov/dcf. Your contact begins a process of information gathering by both parties. Prospective foster parents fill out an application, and they agree to background checks. They also agree that their home will meet physical standards established by state laws and regulations. Learn more about becoming a foster parent.
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