Navigating Special Education

The Disability Law Center in Utah has produced a two-page brochure about Special Education and 504 Accommodations for foster parents of children with disabilities. Check it out by clicking the link below.

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Legislative Update

We wanted to let you know about some bills that are in consideration before the legislature this year. These are bills that will affect foster families. We’ve provided a list below with links to the bills, our concerns or support of each, and some instructions if you would like to follow the bills so you can advocate for your families and your concerns.

HB00377 Grandparent Rights Amendments, Christensen, L.

This is a bill that would enable biological grandparents to petition the court for visitation rights with children who have been adopted from foster care by relatives.

Foster Families of Utah has concerns about this bill. We believe adoptive parents should have the same rights as other parents, and that this bill violates that. It could impact DCFS’s ability to find willing relatives to take placements if they are worried biological grandparents would take them to court even after an adoption is finalized.

Representative Christensen has been trying to pass this bill for three years. Advocacy from foster families has helped to keep it from passing.

If you would like to track this bill, click on the link above and scroll down to read the bill. On the left side of the screen, there are two yellow buttons that will allow you to track the bill and receive email notifications when the status changes.

SB0079S02 Child Welfare Revisions, Jackson, A.

This bill provides that a minor who is 18 years or old may petition the the court to to be exempt from the custody of DCFS.

This bill is on its second substitution and the substitution alleviates many of Foster Families of Utah’s concerns. Originally, it stated that foster youth would no longer be in DCFS care when they turned 18. Thanks to many concerned foster parents and agencies, that bill did not stand.

It now has a provision that takes into consideration the recommendations of members of the child and family team and also includes a provision for the youth to request reentry into DCFS within 30 days of leaving care.

If you would like to track this bill, click on the link above and scroll down to read the bill. On the left side of the screen, there are two yellow buttons that will allow you to track the bill and receive email notifications when the status changes.

SB0082 Child Welfare Modifications, Harper, W.

This bill is jam-packed full of little details cleaning up code to make it possible for DCFS to, among other things, use evidence-based assessment, modifies some background check requirements for emergency placements, supports a psychotropic medication evaluation for children foster care, and more.

Foster Families of Utah supports this bill. It supports foster families and clears a path for better services from DCFS.

If you would like to track this bill, click on the link above and scroll down to read the bill. On the left side of the screen, there are two yellow buttons that will allow you to track the bill and receive email notifications when the status changes.

This is not an exhaustive list of the bills we are following but these are the bills we think foster parents will be most interested in.

To find a daily calendar of events for the legislature or to look up your representatives and senators, please click here.

If you would like to be more involved in advocacy with the legislature, please contact us at fosterfamiliesofutah@gmail.com or 801 252-5395.

Reimbursement Rates

Despite our best efforts, the proposed 8.8% rate increase for level 1, 2, and 3 foster families proposed by Senator Weiler did not make it on the short list of priorities to be considered by the Appropriations Committee. There will be no rate increase this year.

Thank you so much to those of you who wrote to your legislators in support of the increase. The Legislature has many competing requests and many compelling issues to tackle with limited funding. We are so grateful Senator Weiler was willing to propose the increase and we will keep advocating for an increase in the years to come.

Going forward, we are hoping to implement a periodic review and adjustment of rates on a regular basis. We are going to work with the legislature to see if we can get that change into statute and law. Foster Parents would not have to approach the legislature about funding if it were something the legislature reviewed and did on an pre-scheduled basis.

We had some questions about rate breakdowns and how our proposal would have impacted rates so we have included that breakout by level and age below.

If you are interested in working with the legislature on this issue, please contact us! And thanks again!

fosterfamiliesofutah@gmail.com

801 252-5395

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Proposed Reimbursement Rates

If you are a foster parent, you are well aware that reimbursement rates seldom cover the cost to care for the children placed in your home.

If you would like to do something to change this then please let your voice be heard and join Foster Families of Utah as we ask the legislature for a reimbursement rate increase during the 2016 Legislative Session!

Senator Todd Weiler is sponsoring a budget request of $750,000 from the Social Services Appropriations Committee. He is proposing the increase on Friday, February 5!
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The more foster parents we have in support of this proposal the more likely it is to happen!   Contact your legislator and ask them to support this Request for Appropriation. You can find contact information for your Senators and Representatives here.

If you would like to know more or want to get involved, please leave a comment on this post, on our Facebook page, or send us an email at  fosterfamiliesofutah@gmail.com.