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February 2007Vol. 8, No. 1Federal Legislation for Child Welfare

Before adjourning for their winter break, the U.S. Congress passed two notable pieces of child welfare legislation.

The Child and Family Services Improvement Act of 2006 (P.L. 109-288) reauthorized the Promoting Safe and Stable Families program (PSSF) through fiscal year 2011. The Act continued the current authorized funding levels for PSSF of $305 million in mandatory funding and $200 million in discretionary funding (i.e., subject to annual appropriations).

Some key provisions include:

  • Increasing the set-asides for Indian Tribes to 3 percent of funds appropriated and allowing groups of Tribes to form consortia to jointly apply for funding
  • Reserving funds for States to develop activities designed to improve caseworker retention, recruitment, training, and ability to access the benefits of technology, as well as to support monthly caseworker visits to children in foster care
  • Supporting services that promote safety, permanency, and well-being for children who are in out-of-home care or at risk of placement as a result of parent or caretaker's use of methamphetamine or other substances

The Children's Bureau discusses implications of the Act for agencies in a recent Information Memorandum [editor's note: this link no longer exists].

The Tom Osborne Federal Youth Coordination Act, which is Title VIII of the recently enacted Older Americans Act (P.L. 109-365), establishes the Federal Youth Development Council to provide advice and recommendations on Federal programs designed to serve youth. This interdepartmental council will meet quarterly to assess the needs of youth and to foster communication among the many Federal agencies that offer youth programs. Within 2 years, the Council will issue a report of its findings and recommendations to better integrate and coordinate Federal, State, and local policies affecting youth. A summary of the Act is available from the National Collaboration for Youth:

The full text and other information on these Acts may be accessed through Thomas, a service of the Library of Congress: