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Fostering 'Reasonable and Prudent' Parents.

The need for good foster parents--who support and encourage children as they grow up and prepare for adulthood--is growing. The more than 18,000 young people who currently leave foster care at age 18 each year face lower levels of education and higher rates of homelessness, unemployment, incarceration and pregnancy than do their peers. Some lawmakers are working to make life easier for them, and the other 425,000 children in foster care, by making it easier on their foster parents.

At least 40 states have adopted the "reasonable and prudent parenting standard" required by the federal Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act of 2014. It allows foster parents to make important day-to-day decisions--decisions critical to children's social and emotional development--without seeking a caseworker's permission. Foster parents may decide, for example, whether a child can participate in sports or cultural, social and religious activities as long as they consider the child's maturity and developmental level and maintain the child's health, safety and well-being.

In addition to adopting the reasonable and prudent standard, 39 states offer liability insurance to protect foster parents. Thirty-nine states and the District of Columbia require that foster parents be notified of court hearings or be allowed to attend proceedings for children in their care. Eighteen states have adopted the Foster Parents Bill of Rights, which gives foster parents the right to receive critical information on children without seeking a caseworker's permission; to be treated with respect, paid fairly and adequately trained; and to have access to a caseworker and priority in adoptions.

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Title Annotation:FOSTER CARE
Author:Williams-Mbengue, Nina
Publication:State Legislatures
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2019
Words:257
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