Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Al Franken (D-MN), and Gary Peters (D-MI) today announced bipartisan legislation to streamline the process of placing children in foster homes across state lines. States currently use antiquated paper-based administrative systems that are unnecessarily slow, differ state-by-state, and lack adequate transparency measures for children being placed in foster or adoptive homes in other states. The Modernizing the Interstate Placement of Children in Foster Care Act would provide resources for states to adapt one standardized electronic centralized interstate system, known as the National Electronic Interstate Compact Enterprise (NEICE), which would help expedite the placement of children in foster care or adoption across state lines. The NEICE system has already proven to be effective in the five states and District of Columbia which are currently using the program, reducing the time it takes to place a child in a home across state lines by a month and a half and creating more transparency by giving states a platform to exchange data quickly and securely.
“Thousands of children in New York and across the country urgently need a loving home, but often child welfare agencies don’t explore the option of placing them with a foster family out of state because of long paperwork processing delays,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “The patchwork of outdated paper-based systems currently used to connect children with foster or adoptive homes across state lines is unnecessarily burdensome and time-consuming, forcing children to wait far too long to get into the safe, stable homes they need. Our bipartisan legislation would address this problem by giving states the resources necessary to switch over to a modern, standardized electronic system that will help them work more efficiently with one another to ensure all children have the opportunity to be placed securely and quickly in homes across state borders.”
“Far too frequently, foster children face long delays when getting placed in a safe living environment,” said Senator Al Franken. “And that’s often because a child who needs to move to another state—to live with a relative, adoptive parent, or foster family—gets held up by bureaucracy. Our bipartisan bill will cut red tape and speed up the process for placing foster children in loving, safe homes.”
“Children deserve the support of a loving family, but thousands of kids spend as many as three years in foster care waiting to be adopted,” said Senator Gary Peters. “I’m proud to join my colleagues to introduce legislation expanding the NEICE system to every state. This legislation will help facilitate the placement foster youth with families across state borders, make processing more efficient, and most importantly, help children find their forever families that much sooner.”
This legislation is cosponsored by U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), U.S. Representative Todd Young (R-IN), and U.S. Representative Danny David (D-IL). Specifically, this legislation provides temporary funding for states to adapt the NEICE system. All states would be required to join the NEICE system by 2022 in order to standardize the interstate adoption process nationwide.