This law comes up in Juvenile Abuse/Neglect cases I handle. A starting point to learn about it is here.
Some of the major provisions of the law include:
- Requires that States move to terminate parental rights for children who have been in Foster Care for 15 out of the last 22 months
- Exceptions to the 15/22 rule include:
- When the child is in a Foster Home with a biological relative (Kinship Care)
- When the Agency documents a compelling reason why parental termination is not in the Child’s best interest
- When the State has failed to provide services necessary for reunification
- Requires that Permanency Hearings be held every 12 months
- Clarifies cases in which States are not required to reunite Families (Aggravated Circumstances)
- Expands family preservation and support services
- Extends subsidies for adoptive children
- Provides incentives for States to improve adoption rates
- Requires States to document efforts to move children toward adoption
- Expands health care coverage for adoptive children
- Provides funding for efforts at encouraging adoption
- Clarifies that interstate boundaries should not delay adoption.