Foster Care: States Focusing on Finding Permanent Homes for Children, but Long-Standing Barriers Remain

GAO-03-626T Published: Apr 08, 2003. Publicly Released: Apr 08, 2003.
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In response to concerns that some children were languishing in temporary foster care, Congress enacted the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 (ASFA) to help states move children in foster care more quickly to safe and permanent homes. ASFA contained two key provisions: (1) the "fast track" provision allows states to bypass efforts to reunify families in certain egregious situations and (2) the "15 of 22" provision requires states, with a few exceptions, to file a petition to terminate parental rights (TPR) when a child has been in foster care for 15 of the most recent 22 months. Representative Wally Herger, Chairman of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Resources asked GAO to review (1) changes in outcomes for children in foster care since ASFA was enacted, (2) states' implementation of ASFA's fast track and 15 of 22 provisions, (3) states' use of two new adoption related funds provided by ASFA, and (4) states' initiatives to address barriers to achieving permanency

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