Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act - P.L. 112-34

Date: September 2011


H.R. 2883
Enacted September 30, 2011

Note: The Children's Bureau offers guidance on this legislation in Information Memorandum ACYF-CB-IM-11-06, issued October 6, 2011, and Program Instruction ACYF-CB-PI-11-09, issued December 9, 2011.

Major Provisions of the Act

  • Required each State plan for oversight and coordination of health-care services for any child in foster care to include an outline of the following:
    • The monitoring and treatment of emotional trauma associated with a child's maltreatment and removal from the home
    • Protocols for the appropriate use and monitoring of psychotropic medications
  • Required each State plan for child welfare services to describe the following:
    • Activities to reduce the length of time children under age 5 are without a permanent family
    • Activities to address the developmental needs of such children who receive benefits or services
    • The sources used to compile information on child maltreatment deaths that the State agency is required by Federal law to report, as well as why the compilation does not include information on such deaths from specified State entities--if it does not--and how the State will include such information
  • Revised provisions regarding monthly caseworkers visits so that they require that States take necessary steps to ensure the total number of monthly caseworker visits to children in foster care during a FY is at least 90 percent (raised to 95 percent for FY 2015 and thereafter) of the total number of such visits that would occur during the year if each child were visited once a month while in care
  • Required a State Safe and Stable Families Program plan to describe how the State identifies which populations are at the greatest risk of maltreatment and how services are targeted to them
  • Revised requirements for time-limited family reunification services provided (1) to a child removed from the child's home and placed in out-of-home care and (2) to the child's parents or primary caregiver in order to facilitate the child's safe, appropriate, and timely reunification with the parents or caregiver, with the following services being required:
    • Peer-to-peer mentoring and support groups for parents and primary caregivers
    • Services and activities designed to facilitate visitation of children by parents and siblings
  • Extended through FY 2016 the specified reservations of funds for monthly caseworker visits and Regional Partnership Grants and required monthly caseworker visit grants to be used to improve the quality of monthly caseworker visits, with an emphasis on improving caseworker decision-making on the safety, permanency, and well-being of children in foster care
  • Revised requirements for grants to assist children affected by a parent's or caretaker's methamphetamine or other substance use to remove the specification of methamphetamine and apply the grant program generally to children affected by a parent's or caretaker's substance use
  • Revised the Court Improvement Program to require grants be awarded to the highest State courts for increasing and improving engagement of the entire family in court processes relating to child welfare, family preservation, family reunification, and adoption
  • Allowed a court to submit one application, rather than separate applications, for more than one grant
  • Directed the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), in order to improve data matching, to designate nonproprietary and interoperable standard data elements for any category of information required to be reported
  • Required State title IV-B/IV-E agencies to meet the educational stability case plan requirement at the time of each placement change, not just at the initial placement into foster care
  • Amended the case review system definition to require that each child age 16 and older in foster care receives a free copy of any consumer credit report each year until discharged from foster care and be offered in interpreting the credit report and resolving any inconsistencies
  • Renewed through FY 2014 the authority of HHS to authorize States to conduct child welfare program demonstration projects likely to promote the objectives of title IV-B or IV-E and enacted the following changes:
    • Repealed the requirement for State project applications to consider certain types of proposals; replaced the requirement with specified conditions for State eligibility to conduct a new demonstration project
    • Limited any child welfare demonstration project to 5 years unless HHS determines that it should be continued
    • Required States authorized to conduct a demonstration project to obtain an evaluation of its effectiveness by an independent contractor
  • Authorized a State to elect to establish a program to achieve the following:
    • Permit title IV-E foster care maintenance payments to a long-term therapeutic family treatment center on behalf of a child residing in the center
    • Identify and address domestic violence that endangers children and results in the placement of children in foster care
  • Set forth child welfare improvement policies, at least two of which a State must have implemented or planned to implement within a certain period of time
  • Treated as a State any Indian Tribe, Tribal organization, or Tribal consortium operating a title IV-E program