RICHMOND, Va. — Governor Ralph Northam signed legislation Wednesday to improve Virginia's foster care system. A bipartisan group of legislators, government officials, and business leaders and faith communities were present during the signing.
Northam also kicked off Virginia Fosters, a statewide campaign that empowers Virginians to be the solution for children, families, and workers in the Commonwealth's child welfare system.
“Every child in our Commonwealth deserves to grow up healthy, safe, and in a loving family that supports them through school, a career, and in following their dreams,” Northam said in a news release.
“We have made tremendous strides in improving our foster care system with this legislation, but we also know that the challenges we have did not come about overnight and cannot be solved in one General Assembly Session or by government alone. Each one of us has a role to play in giving Virginia’s most vulnerable children an opportunity to grow and thrive.”
Bills are below:
SB 1339-Improves state and local authority for foster care services, placement, and removal decisions. Also creates anew state position to oversee foster care health and safety.
SB 1679-Aligns the Code of Virginia with the Family First Prevention Services Act of 2018, which provides prevention services for kids at risk of entering foster care services and their families.
HB 2758-Requires local departments of social services to take all reasonable steps in a foster care placement to determine whether a child has any relatives who may be eligible to become a kinship foster parent, provide notice to those relatives, and explain to them the opportunities they may have to participate placement and care of the child.
HB 1728-Encourages post-adoption contact and communication with birth parents.
HB 2108-Establishes a dispute resolution process through which a foster parent may contest an alleged violation of regulations.
SB 1253-Requires local departments of social services to request the placement of security freeze on the credit report or record of any child who has been in foster care for at least six months.