Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 - P.L. 110-351

Date: October 2008


H.R. 6893
Enacted October 7, 2008

Note: The Children's Bureau offers guidance on the provisions of this legislation in Program Instruction ACYF-CB-PI-08-05, issued October 23, 2008.

Major Provisions of the Act

  • Created a new plan option for States and Tribes to provide kinship guardianship assistance payments under title IV-E on behalf of children who have been in foster care and whom a relative is taking legal guardianship
  • Extended eligibility for Medicaid to children receiving kinship guardianship assistance payments
  • Required fingerprint-based criminal records checks of relative guardians, as well as child abuse and neglect registry checks of relative guardians and adults living in the guardian's home, before a relative guardian may receive title IV-E kinship guardianship assistance payments on behalf of a child
  • Amended the John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program to allow services to youth who leave foster care for kinship guardianship or adoption after age 16
  • Amended the Education and Training Voucher Program to permit vouchers for youth who enter into kinship guardianship or are adopted from foster care after age 16
  • Authorized grants to State, local, or Tribal child welfare agencies and private nonprofit organizations for the purpose of helping children who are in or at-risk of foster care reconnect with family members through the following:
    • Kinship navigator programs
    • Efforts to find biological family and reestablish relationships
    • Family group decision-making meetings
    • Residential family treatment programs
  • Permitted States to extend title IV-E assistance to otherwise eligible youth remaining in foster care after reaching age 18 and to youth who at age 16 or older exited foster care to either a kinship guardianship or adoption, provided that they have not yet reached ages 19, 20, or 21, as the State may elect, and are in school, employed, engaged in another activity designed to remove barriers to employment, or incapable of doing so due to a documented medical condition (effective October 1, 2010)
  • Allowed States to claim Federal reimbursement for short-term training for relative guardians; private child welfare agency staff providing services to children receiving title IV-E assistance; child abuse and neglect court personnel; agency, child, or parent attorneys; guardians ad litem; and court-appointed special advocates
  • Extended the Adoption Incentive Program through fiscal year (FY) 2013 and doubled incentive payment amounts for special needs (to $4,000) and older child adoptions (to $8,000)
  • Revised adoption assistance eligibility criteria to delink the adoption assistance program from the Aid to Families With Dependent Children requirements
  • Phased-in, from FY 2010 to FY 2018, the revised adoption assistance eligibility criteria based on whether the child is defined as 'an applicable child,' primarily related to the age of the child in the year the agreement is entered into
  • Allowed federally-recognized Indian Tribes, Tribal organizations, and Tribal consortia to apply to receive title IV-E funds directly for foster care, adoption assistance, and kinship guardianship assistance (effective October 1, 2009)
  • Required the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to provide technical assistance and implementation services to Tribes seeking to operate programs for titles IV-B and IV-E
  • Authorized one-time grants to Tribes that apply to assist in developing a title IV-E program
  • Required title IV-E agencies to identify and notify all adult relatives of a child, within 30 days of the child's removal, of the relatives' options to become a placement resource for the child
  • Required each child receiving a title IV-E foster care, adoption, or guardianship payment to be a full-time student unless he or she is incapable of attending school due to a documented medical condition
  • Required title IV-E agencies to make reasonable efforts to place siblings removed from their home in the same foster care, adoption, or guardianship placement
  • Permitted title IV-E agencies to waive on a case-by-case basis a nonsafety licensing standard for a relative foster family home
  • Required States to ensure coordination of health-care services, including mental health and dental services, for children in foster care
  • Required that, 90 days prior to a youth's emancipation, the caseworker develop a personalized transition plan as directed by the youth
  • Required that a case plan include a plan for ensuring the educational stability of the child in foster care