Adoption Opportunities Program Grants: Addressing Barriers to Cross-Jurisdictional...

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One of the FY 2002 funding priorities for the Adoption Opportunities Program grants, administered by the Children's Bureau, is "Addressing Barriers to Cross-Jurisdictional Placements" (2002A.5). The U.S. Children's Bureau has announced its intention to fund the "design and implement[ation] [of] a national project to address barriers and delays to the cross-jurisdictional placement of children currently placed in public foster care" within the legislative framework of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC). It is anticipated that one project will be funded, with a maximum federal share of $300,000 per budget year. The funds will be awarded with the intent of supplementing funds from other sources for the same project.

The Children's Bureau has identified, as a key area of concern with regard to placements of children across state lines, the significant additional time that it takes for a child to be adopted out-of-state, compared to in-state. Data from the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) for federal FY 1999 indicates that children adopted across state lines spent 18 months longer in care than children adopted in-state (53 months compared to 35 months). Age has not been found to be a factor in this marked disparity in waiting times: the median age of both the children placed in-state and out-of-state at the time of foster care entry was 2.1 years.

According to the grant announcement, the proposed project may use one or more of the following strategies to decrease the amount of time to adoption for children placed across state lines: an adoptive family may be identified prior to the final termination of parental rights and ICPC procedures and forms may be adapted to allow for simultaneous foster home/pre-adoptive study and placement; the Internet might be used for speedier transfer of information and records; and the ICPC tracking system might be used to alert the ICPC State Compact administrators in both the sending and receiving states of delays at key points in the case transfer.

Updated information will be provided on this site when the Children's Bureau announces the award of this grant.
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