President Trump was in the process of signing an executive order that would make various improvements to the nation’s child welfare system. These measures were needed at least partially due to difficulties caused by the coronavirus pandemic, although some of the areas that were reformed had dealt with longstanding problems.
Child protection agencies will get federal help and have more options for working with families
The Secretary of Health and Human Services said that this move is the first part of a series of bold reforms that will ultimately help protect children around the country. Some of the goals of this action include targeting and limiting any mistreatment of children quickly and effectively, helping children find new families through better adoption programs, and more resources to work with families who are at risk so that they do not lose custody of their children. This should decrease the total number of children who end up separated from their families and in various welfare programs, which can be traumatic.
A law professor who was interviewed by the news source said that most of these proposals sound good in theory, but it will take time to see how much of an actual difference the new reforms make in practice. He added that families should be optimistic about the current secretary for human services, as he has been working hard on these issues for over three years, and he does seem to have a legitimate desire for change rather than playing political games.
These reforms can essentially be divided into three categories, which include new kinds of partnerships, more resources for care, and additional federal oversight related performance and following regulations.
The partnerships will be strengthened at the state and local level as communities will have access to new ways of improving family relationships. Some of these programs will include abuse prevention, support services for families in need, and oversight of states to ensure that they have enough families available to adopt or provide foster services as needed. This should help children by limiting the time they spend waiting for administrative and bureaucratic decisions to be made.
Caregivers now have access to new sources of funding through grants and other programs that were authorized under the order. Health and Human Services will set aside funding for training related to domestic violence and family trauma as well. The guardianship programs for children will be revamped, and there will be more services available to young people who become adults and age out of foster care. These young people will get assistance with finding employment, higher education, or other issues that become crucial as they enter adulthood.
The third main area of reform is related to more federal oversight to make sure programs actually comply with rules and spend their funding appropriately. There are various federal statutes that have regulations related to child care and custody issues. However, it is difficult at times to make sure programs and foster families that are governed by these rules actually follow them. The Department of Health and Human Services will ensure compliance through funding oversight and controls. Some federal money will also be used towards legal services if attorneys are required to sort out problems in the courtroom.
A legal professional who deals with children’s rights and related issues was pleased to see the inclusion of funding for legal representation. His research has consistently shown over the years that families have much better outcomes when parents have access to adequate legal representation. This can help families make appropriate decisions in various situations, rather than being deterred by the fact that legal services can be expensive at times. However, some of the details regarding how the government will intervene and pay for these services still needed to be sorted out.
Recent data shows that over 400,000 children in the U.S. are in some kind of foster care placement, with about 120,000 eligible for adoption at any given time. Politicians who worked on these reforms are optimistic that the total number of children entering the system should decrease with new measures in place.
Child custody issues and the government
There are multiple layers to each state’s child custody system. Parents may have to battle each other for custody in the local family courts, while the state can get involved when parents have issues with crime and substance abuse. In any of these situations, legal representation is crucial to secure the best possible outcome for the family.
Learn more about family law issues
An attorney who focuses on divorces, child support, custody, alimony, and all other issues that fall under the umbrella of family law can speak with you. To get help in the Tampa Florida area, contact The Law Offices of Yeazell and Sweet.