On Monday, February 4, 2019, the U.S. Children’s Bureau released final Final National Model Foster Family Licensing Standards (National Model) as required by the Family First Prevention Services Act.

The Information Memorandum from the Children’s Bureau explains that, by federal law, state and tribal child welfare agencies must communicate back to HHS by March 31, 2019 through a state Title IV-E plan amendment that their state/tribal agencies’ foster family home licensing standards are consistent with the new National Model issued by HHS. If not, state and tribal agencies must provide a reason. The Title IV-E plan amendment must also address whether or not the agency waives non-safety licensing standards for relative foster family homes (pursuant to waiver authority in federal law), and if so, how caseworkers are trained to use the waiver authority and whether the agency has developed a process or provided tools to assist caseworkers in waiving these non-safety standards to quickly place children with relative.

Experts from Generations United and the American Bar Association have analyzed the final National Model and have produced useful information about the new National Model, including a frequently-asked-questions (FAQ) document. They are also producing a crosswalk for child welfare agencies to use to compare their existing standards with the National Model (to be available soon). These materials are available at: www.grandfamilies.org 

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