Strengthening the Child Welfare System for America's Children, 38741-38745 [2020-14077]

Download as PDF 38741 Presidential Documents Federal Register Vol. 85, No. 125 Monday, June 29, 2020 Title 3— Executive Order 13930 of June 24, 2020 The President Strengthening the Child Welfare System for America’s Children By the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, it is hereby ordered as follows: Section 1. Purpose. Every child deserves a family. Our States and communities have both a legal obligation, and the privilege, to care for our Nation’s most vulnerable children. The best foster care system is one that is not needed in the first place. My Administration has been focused on prevention strategies that keep children safe while strengthening families so that children do not enter foster care unnecessarily. Last year, and for only the second time since 2011, the number of children in the foster care system declined, and for the third year in a row, the number of children entering foster care has declined. But challenges remain. Too many young people who are in our foster care system wait years before finding the permanency of family. More than 400,000 children are currently in foster care. Of those, more than 124,000 children are waiting for adoption, with nearly 6 out of 10 (58.4 percent) having already become legally eligible for adoption. More than 50 percent of the children waiting for adoption have been in foster care—without the security and constancy of a permanent family— for 2 years or more. The need for stability and timely permanency is particularly acute for children 9 years and older, children in sibling groups, and those with intellectual or physical disabilities. Even worse, too many young men and women age out of foster care having never found a permanent, stable family. In recent years, approximately 20,000 young people have aged out of foster care each year in the United States. Research has shown that young people who age out of the foster care system are likely to experience significant, and significantly increased, life challenges—40 percent of such young people studied experienced homelessness; 50 percent were unemployed at age 24; 25 percent experienced posttraumatic stress disorder; and 71 percent became pregnant by age 21. These are unacceptable outcomes. jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with EXECORD Several factors have contributed to the number of children who wait in foster care for extended periods. First, State and local child welfare agencies often do not have robust partnerships with private community organizations, including faith-based organizations. Second, those who step up to be resource families for children in foster care—including kin, guardians, foster parents, and adoptive parents—may lack adequate support. Third, too often the processes and systems meant to help children and families in crisis have instead created bureaucratic barriers that make it more difficult for these children and families to get the help they need. It is the goal of the United States to promote a child welfare system that reduces the need to place children into foster care; achieves safe permanency for those children who must come into foster care, and does so more quickly and more effectively; places appropriate focus on children who are waiting for adoption, especially those who are 9 years and older, are in sibling groups, or have disabilities; and decreases the proportion of young adults who age out of the foster care system. VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:59 Jun 26, 2020 Jkt 250001 PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 4705 Sfmt 4790 E:\FR\FM\29JNE0.SGM 29JNE0 38742 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 125 / Monday, June 29, 2020 / Presidential Documents Children from all backgrounds have the potential to become successful and thriving adults. Yet without a committed, loving family that can provide encouragement, stability, and a lifelong connection, some children may never receive the support needed to realize that potential. This order will help to empower families who answer the call to open their hearts and homes to children who need them. My Administration is committed to helping give as many children as possible the stability and support that family provides by dramatically improving our child welfare system. Sec. 2. Encouraging Robust Partnerships Between State Agencies and Public, Private, Faith-based, and Community Organizations. (a) In order to facilitate close partnerships between State agencies and nongovernmental organizations, including public, private, faith-based, and community groups, the Secretary of Health and Human Services (the ‘‘Secretary’’) shall provide increased public access to accurate, up-to-date information relevant to strengthening the child welfare system, including by: (i) Publishing data to aid in the recruitment of community support. Within 1 year of the date of this order and each year thereafter, the Secretary shall submit to the President, through the Assistant to the President for Domestic Policy, a report that provides information about typical patterns of entry, recent available counts of children in foster care, and counts of children waiting for adoption. To the extent appropriate and consistent with applicable law, including all privacy laws, this data will be disaggregated by county or other sub-State level, child age, placement type, and prior time in care. (ii) Collecting needed data to preserve sibling connections. (A) Within 2 years of the date of this order, the Secretary shall collect information from appropriate State and local agencies on the number of children in foster care who have siblings in foster care and who are not currently placed with their siblings. (B) Within 3 years of the date of this order, to support the goal of keeping siblings together (42 U.S.C. 671(a)(31)(A)), the Secretary shall develop data analysis methods to report on the experience of children entering care in sibling groups, and the extent to which they are placed together. The Secretary’s analysis shall also assess the extent to which siblings who are legally eligible for adoption achieve permanency together. (iii) Expanding the number of homes for children and youth. jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with EXECORD (A) Within 2 years of the date of this order, the Secretary shall develop a more rigorous and systematic approach to collecting State administrative data as part of the Child and Family Services Review required by section 1123A of the Social Security Act (the ‘‘Act’’) (42 U.S.C. 1320a–2a). Data collected shall include: (1) demographic information for children in foster care and waiting for adoption; (2) the number of currently available foster families and their demographic information; (3) the average foster parent retention rate and average length of time foster parents remain certified; (4) a target number of foster homes needed to meet the needs of children in foster care; and (5) the average length of time it takes to complete foster and adoptive home certification. VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:59 Jun 26, 2020 Jkt 250001 PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4705 Sfmt 4790 E:\FR\FM\29JNE0.SGM 29JNE0 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 125 / Monday, June 29, 2020 / Presidential Documents 38743 (B) The Secretary shall ensure, to the extent consistent with applicable law, that States report to the Secretary regarding strategies for coordinating with nongovernmental organizations, including faith-based and community organizations, to recruit and support foster and adoptive families. (b) Within 1 year of the date of this order, the Secretary shall issue guidance to Federal, State, and local agencies on partnering with nongovernmental organizations. This guidance shall include best practices for information sharing, providing needed services to families to support prevention of children entering foster care, family preservation, foster and adoptive home recruitment and retention, respite care, post-placement family support, and support for older youth. This guidance shall also make clear that faithbased organizations are eligible for partnerships under title IV–E of the Act (42 U.S.C. 670 et seq.), on an equal basis, consistent with the First Amendment to the Constitution. Sec. 3. Improving Access to Adequate Resources for Caregivers and Youth. While many public, private, faith-based, and community resources and other sources of support exist, many American caregivers still lack connection with and access to adequate resources. Within 1 year of the date of this order, the Secretary shall equip caregivers and those in care to meet their unique challenges, by: (a) Expanding educational options. To the extent practicable, the Secretary shall use all existing technical assistance resources to promote dissemination and State implementation of the National Training and Development Curriculum, including, when appropriate, in non-classroom environments. (b) Increasing the availability of trauma-informed training. The Secretary shall provide an enhanced, web-based, learning-management platform to house the information generated by the National Adoption Competency Mental Health Training Initiative. Access to this web-based training material will be provided free of charge for all child welfare and mental health practitioners. (c) Supporting guardianship. The Secretary shall provide information to States regarding the importance and availability of funds to increase guardianship through the title IV–E Guardianship Assistance Program (42 U.S.C. 673), which provides Federal reimbursement for payments to guardians and for associated administrative costs. This information shall include which States have already opted into the program. jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with EXECORD (d) Enhancing support for kinship care and youth exiting foster care. The Secretary shall establish a plan to address barriers to accessing existing Federal assistance and benefits for eligible individuals. Sec. 4. Ensuring Equality of Treatment and Access for all Families. The Howard M. Metzenbaum Multiethnic Placement Act of 1994 (the ‘‘Multiethnic Placement Act’’) (Public Law 103–382), as amended, prohibits agencies from denying to any person the opportunity to become an adoptive or a foster parent on the basis of race, color, or national origin (42 U.S.C. 671(a)(18)(A)); prohibits agencies from delaying or denying the placement of a child for adoption or into foster care on the basis of race, color, or national origin (id. 671(a)(18)(B)); and requires agencies to diligently recruit a diverse base of foster and adoptive parents to better reflect the racial and ethnic makeup of children in out-of-home care (id. 662(b)(7)). To further the goals of the Multiethnic Placement Act, the Secretary shall: (a) within 6 months of the date of this order, initiate a study regarding the implementation of these requirements nationwide; (b) within 1 year of the date of this order, update guidance, as necessary, regarding implementation of the Multiethnic Placement Act; and VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:59 Jun 26, 2020 Jkt 250001 PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4705 Sfmt 4790 E:\FR\FM\29JNE0.SGM 29JNE0 38744 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 125 / Monday, June 29, 2020 / Presidential Documents (c) within 1 year of the date of this order, publish guidance regarding the rights of parents, prospective parents, and children with disabilities (including intellectual, developmental, or physical disabilities). Sec. 5. Improving Processes to Prevent Unnecessary Removal and Secure Permanency for Children. (a) Federal Review of Reasonable Effort Determinations and Timeliness Requirements. (i) Within 2 years of the date of this order, the Secretary shall require that both the title IV–E reviews conducted pursuant to 45 CFR 1356.71 and the Child and Family Services Reviews conducted pursuant to 45 CFR 1355.31–1355.36 specifically and adequately assess the following requirements: (A) reasonable efforts to prevent removal; (B) filing a petition for Termination of Parental Rights within established statutory timelines and court processing of such petition, unless statutory exemptions apply; (C) reasonable efforts to finalize permanency plans; and (D) completion of relevant required family search and notifications and how such efforts are reviewed by courts. (ii) In cases in which it is determined that statutorily required timelines and efforts have not been satisfied, the Secretary shall make use of existing authority in making eligibility determinations and disallowances consistent with section 1123A(b)(3)(4) of the Act (42 U.S.C. 1320a–2a(b)(3)(4)). (iii) Within 2 years of the date of this order, the Secretary shall develop metrics to track permanency outcomes in each State and measure State performance over time. (iv) Within 6 months of the date of this order, the Secretary shall provide guidance to States regarding flexibility in the use of Federal funds to support and encourage high-quality legal representation for parents and children, including pre-petition representation, in their efforts to prevent the removal of children from their families, safely reunify children and parents, finalize permanency, and ensure that their voices are heard and their rights are protected. The Secretary shall also ensure collection of data regarding State use of Federal funds for this purpose. (b) Risk and Safety Assessments. (i) Within 18 months of the date of this order, the Secretary shall collect States’ individual standards for conducting risk and safety assessments required under section 106(b)(2)(B)(iv) of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (42 U.S.C. 5106(b)(2)(B)(iv)). (ii) Within 2 years of the date of this order, the Secretary shall outline reasonable best practice standards for risk and safety assessments, including how to address domestic violence and substance abuse. Sec. 6. Indian Child Welfare Act. Nothing in this order shall alter the implementation of the Indian Child Welfare Act or replace the tribal consultation process. Sec. 7. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this order shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect: (i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or the head thereof; or jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with EXECORD (ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals. VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:59 Jun 26, 2020 Jkt 250001 PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4705 Sfmt 4790 E:\FR\FM\29JNE0.SGM 29JNE0 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 125 / Monday, June 29, 2020 / Presidential Documents 38745 (b) This order shall be implemented consistent with applicable law and subject to the availability of appropriations. (c) This order is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person. THE WHITE HOUSE, June 24, 2020. [FR Doc. 2020–14077 Filed 6–26–20; 8:45 am] VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:59 Jun 26, 2020 Jkt 250001 PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4705 Sfmt 4790 E:\FR\FM\29JNE0.SGM 29JNE0 Trump.EPS</GPH> jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with EXECORD Billing code 3295–F0–P

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[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 125 (Monday, June 29, 2020)]
[Presidential Documents]
[Pages 38741-38745]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-14077]




                        Presidential Documents 



Federal Register / Vol. 85 , No. 125 / Monday, June 29, 2020 / 
Presidential Documents

___________________________________________________________________

Title 3--
The President

[[Page 38741]]

                Executive Order 13930 of June 24, 2020

                
Strengthening the Child Welfare System for 
                America's Children

                By the authority vested in me as President by the 
                Constitution and the laws of the United States of 
                America, it is hereby ordered as follows:

                Section 1. Purpose. Every child deserves a family. Our 
                States and communities have both a legal obligation, 
                and the privilege, to care for our Nation's most 
                vulnerable children.

                The best foster care system is one that is not needed 
                in the first place. My Administration has been focused 
                on prevention strategies that keep children safe while 
                strengthening families so that children do not enter 
                foster care unnecessarily. Last year, and for only the 
                second time since 2011, the number of children in the 
                foster care system declined, and for the third year in 
                a row, the number of children entering foster care has 
                declined.

                But challenges remain. Too many young people who are in 
                our foster care system wait years before finding the 
                permanency of family. More than 400,000 children are 
                currently in foster care. Of those, more than 124,000 
                children are waiting for adoption, with nearly 6 out of 
                10 (58.4 percent) having already become legally 
                eligible for adoption.

                More than 50 percent of the children waiting for 
                adoption have been in foster care--without the security 
                and constancy of a permanent family--for 2 years or 
                more. The need for stability and timely permanency is 
                particularly acute for children 9 years and older, 
                children in sibling groups, and those with intellectual 
                or physical disabilities.

                Even worse, too many young men and women age out of 
                foster care having never found a permanent, stable 
                family. In recent years, approximately 20,000 young 
                people have aged out of foster care each year in the 
                United States. Research has shown that young people who 
                age out of the foster care system are likely to 
                experience significant, and significantly increased, 
                life challenges--40 percent of such young people 
                studied experienced homelessness; 50 percent were 
                unemployed at age 24; 25 percent experienced post-
                traumatic stress disorder; and 71 percent became 
                pregnant by age 21. These are unacceptable outcomes.

                Several factors have contributed to the number of 
                children who wait in foster care for extended periods. 
                First, State and local child welfare agencies often do 
                not have robust partnerships with private community 
                organizations, including faith-based organizations. 
                Second, those who step up to be resource families for 
                children in foster care--including kin, guardians, 
                foster parents, and adoptive parents--may lack adequate 
                support. Third, too often the processes and systems 
                meant to help children and families in crisis have 
                instead created bureaucratic barriers that make it more 
                difficult for these children and families to get the 
                help they need.

                It is the goal of the United States to promote a child 
                welfare system that reduces the need to place children 
                into foster care; achieves safe permanency for those 
                children who must come into foster care, and does so 
                more quickly and more effectively; places appropriate 
                focus on children who are waiting for adoption, 
                especially those who are 9 years and older, are in 
                sibling groups, or have disabilities; and decreases the 
                proportion of young adults who age out of the foster 
                care system.

[[Page 38742]]

                Children from all backgrounds have the potential to 
                become successful and thriving adults. Yet without a 
                committed, loving family that can provide 
                encouragement, stability, and a lifelong connection, 
                some children may never receive the support needed to 
                realize that potential.

                This order will help to empower families who answer the 
                call to open their hearts and homes to children who 
                need them. My Administration is committed to helping 
                give as many children as possible the stability and 
                support that family provides by dramatically improving 
                our child welfare system.

                Sec. 2. Encouraging Robust Partnerships Between State 
                Agencies and Public, Private, Faith-based, and 
                Community Organizations. (a) In order to facilitate 
                close partnerships between State agencies and 
                nongovernmental organizations, including public, 
                private, faith-based, and community groups, the 
                Secretary of Health and Human Services (the 
                ``Secretary'') shall provide increased public access to 
                accurate, up-to-date information relevant to 
                strengthening the child welfare system, including by:

(i) Publishing data to aid in the recruitment of community support. Within 
1 year of the date of this order and each year thereafter, the Secretary 
shall submit to the President, through the Assistant to the President for 
Domestic Policy, a report that provides information about typical patterns 
of entry, recent available counts of children in foster care, and counts of 
children waiting for adoption. To the extent appropriate and consistent 
with applicable law, including all privacy laws, this data will be 
disaggregated by county or other sub-State level, child age, placement 
type, and prior time in care.

(ii) Collecting needed data to preserve sibling connections.

  (A) Within 2 years of the date of this order, the Secretary shall collect 
information from appropriate State and local agencies on the number of 
children in foster care who have siblings in foster care and who are not 
currently placed with their siblings.

  (B) Within 3 years of the date of this order, to support the goal of 
keeping siblings together (42 U.S.C. 671(a)(31)(A)), the Secretary shall 
develop data analysis methods to report on the experience of children 
entering care in sibling groups, and the extent to which they are placed 
together. The Secretary's analysis shall also assess the extent to which 
siblings who are legally eligible for adoption achieve permanency together.

(iii) Expanding the number of homes for children and youth.

  (A) Within 2 years of the date of this order, the Secretary shall develop 
a more rigorous and systematic approach to collecting State administrative 
data as part of the Child and Family Services Review required by section 
1123A of the Social Security Act (the ``Act'') (42 U.S.C. 1320a-2a). Data 
collected shall include:

(1) demographic information for children in foster care and waiting for 
adoption;

(2) the number of currently available foster families and their demographic 
information;

(3) the average foster parent retention rate and average length of time 
foster parents remain certified;

(4) a target number of foster homes needed to meet the needs of children in 
foster care; and

(5) the average length of time it takes to complete foster and adoptive 
home certification.

[[Page 38743]]

  (B) The Secretary shall ensure, to the extent consistent with applicable 
law, that States report to the Secretary regarding strategies for 
coordinating with nongovernmental organizations, including faith-based and 
community organizations, to recruit and support foster and adoptive 
families.

                    (b) Within 1 year of the date of this order, the 
                Secretary shall issue guidance to Federal, State, and 
                local agencies on partnering with nongovernmental 
                organizations. This guidance shall include best 
                practices for information sharing, providing needed 
                services to families to support prevention of children 
                entering foster care, family preservation, foster and 
                adoptive home recruitment and retention, respite care, 
                post-placement family support, and support for older 
                youth. This guidance shall also make clear that faith-
                based organizations are eligible for partnerships under 
                title IV-E of the Act (42 U.S.C. 670 et seq.), on an 
                equal basis, consistent with the First Amendment to the 
                Constitution.

                Sec. 3. Improving Access to Adequate Resources for 
                Caregivers and Youth. While many public, private, 
                faith-based, and community resources and other sources 
                of support exist, many American caregivers still lack 
                connection with and access to adequate resources. 
                Within 1 year of the date of this order, the Secretary 
                shall equip caregivers and those in care to meet their 
                unique challenges, by:

                    (a) Expanding educational options. To the extent 
                practicable, the Secretary shall use all existing 
                technical assistance resources to promote dissemination 
                and State implementation of the National Training and 
                Development Curriculum, including, when appropriate, in 
                non-classroom environments.
                    (b) Increasing the availability of trauma-informed 
                training. The Secretary shall provide an enhanced, web-
                based, learning-management platform to house the 
                information generated by the National Adoption 
                Competency Mental Health Training Initiative. Access to 
                this web-based training material will be provided free 
                of charge for all child welfare and mental health 
                practitioners.
                    (c) Supporting guardianship. The Secretary shall 
                provide information to States regarding the importance 
                and availability of funds to increase guardianship 
                through the title IV-E Guardianship Assistance Program 
                (42 U.S.C. 673), which provides Federal reimbursement 
                for payments to guardians and for associated 
                administrative costs. This information shall include 
                which States have already opted into the program.
                    (d) Enhancing support for kinship care and youth 
                exiting foster care. The Secretary shall establish a 
                plan to address barriers to accessing existing Federal 
                assistance and benefits for eligible individuals.

                Sec. 4. Ensuring Equality of Treatment and Access for 
                all Families. The Howard M. Metzenbaum Multiethnic 
                Placement Act of 1994 (the ``Multiethnic Placement 
                Act'') (Public Law 103-382), as amended, prohibits 
                agencies from denying to any person the opportunity to 
                become an adoptive or a foster parent on the basis of 
                race, color, or national origin (42 U.S.C. 
                671(a)(18)(A)); prohibits agencies from delaying or 
                denying the placement of a child for adoption or into 
                foster care on the basis of race, color, or national 
                origin (id. 671(a)(18)(B)); and requires agencies to 
                diligently recruit a diverse base of foster and 
                adoptive parents to better reflect the racial and 
                ethnic makeup of children in out-of-home care (id. 
                662(b)(7)). To further the goals of the Multiethnic 
                Placement Act, the Secretary shall:

                    (a) within 6 months of the date of this order, 
                initiate a study regarding the implementation of these 
                requirements nationwide;
                    (b) within 1 year of the date of this order, update 
                guidance, as necessary, regarding implementation of the 
                Multiethnic Placement Act; and

[[Page 38744]]

                    (c) within 1 year of the date of this order, 
                publish guidance regarding the rights of parents, 
                prospective parents, and children with disabilities 
                (including intellectual, developmental, or physical 
                disabilities).

                Sec. 5. Improving Processes to Prevent Unnecessary 
                Removal and Secure Permanency for Children. (a) Federal 
                Review of Reasonable Effort Determinations and 
                Timeliness Requirements.

(i) Within 2 years of the date of this order, the Secretary shall require 
that both the title IV-E reviews conducted pursuant to 45 CFR 1356.71 and 
the Child and Family Services Reviews conducted pursuant to 45 CFR 1355.31-
1355.36 specifically and adequately assess the following requirements:

  (A) reasonable efforts to prevent removal;

  (B) filing a petition for Termination of Parental Rights within 
established statutory timelines and court processing of such petition, 
unless statutory exemptions apply;

  (C) reasonable efforts to finalize permanency plans; and

  (D) completion of relevant required family search and notifications and 
how such efforts are reviewed by courts.

(ii) In cases in which it is determined that statutorily required timelines 
and efforts have not been satisfied, the Secretary shall make use of 
existing authority in making eligibility determinations and disallowances 
consistent with section 1123A(b)(3)(4) of the Act (42 U.S.C. 1320a-
2a(b)(3)(4)).

(iii) Within 2 years of the date of this order, the Secretary shall develop 
metrics to track permanency outcomes in each State and measure State 
performance over time.

(iv) Within 6 months of the date of this order, the Secretary shall provide 
guidance to States regarding flexibility in the use of Federal funds to 
support and encourage high-quality legal representation for parents and 
children, including pre-petition representation, in their efforts to 
prevent the removal of children from their families, safely reunify 
children and parents, finalize permanency, and ensure that their voices are 
heard and their rights are protected. The Secretary shall also ensure 
collection of data regarding State use of Federal funds for this purpose.

                    (b) Risk and Safety Assessments.

(i) Within 18 months of the date of this order, the Secretary shall collect 
States' individual standards for conducting risk and safety assessments 
required under section 106(b)(2)(B)(iv) of the Child Abuse Prevention and 
Treatment Act (42 U.S.C. 5106(b)(2)(B)(iv)).

(ii) Within 2 years of the date of this order, the Secretary shall outline 
reasonable best practice standards for risk and safety assessments, 
including how to address domestic violence and substance abuse.

                Sec. 6. Indian Child Welfare Act. Nothing in this order 
                shall alter the implementation of the Indian Child 
                Welfare Act or replace the tribal consultation process.

                Sec. 7. General Provisions. (a) Nothing in this order 
                shall be construed to impair or otherwise affect:

(i) the authority granted by law to an executive department or agency, or 
the head thereof; or

(ii) the functions of the Director of the Office of Management and Budget 
relating to budgetary, administrative, or legislative proposals.

[[Page 38745]]

                    (b) This order shall be implemented consistent with 
                applicable law and subject to the availability of 
                appropriations.
                    (c) This order is not intended to, and does not, 
                create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, 
                enforceable at law or in equity by any party against 
                the United States, its departments, agencies, or 
                entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any 
                other person.
                
                
                    (Presidential Sig.)

                THE WHITE HOUSE,

                    June 24, 2020.

[FR Doc. 2020-14077
Filed 6-26-20; 8:45 am]
Billing code 3295-F0-P