Wbasny Chapters

2019-2020 – A.1436C / S.222C

Position Statement

A.1436C (Epstein) / S.222C (Benjamin)

Support

WBASNY supports this bill, the purpose of which seeks to improve the reporting of the status of youth placed in foster care and separated from their parents pursuant to a contract, grant or other agreement with the federal government.

As the Justification in the Memorandum of Support for the Assembly Bill points out, the federal Office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) have separated unaccompanied immigrant children from their parents many of whom are transported to foster care settings in the state. This bill requires the Commissioner of Social Services to submit quarterly public and transparent reports setting forth, among other things, the number of children in foster care settings, why they were placed there, the status of the children’s mental health or educational needs, the number of foster families and other residential options available, and what efforts have been made to increase the number of foster families.

A transparent report will serve to aid the Legislature and the public in having adequate information about the number of youth in placement versus a prior period and whether additional services or additional foster families are needed to assure the best outcomes for these children. It also serves as an accounting mechanism to demonstrate whether there is a need for increased foster families so that Social Services can take action to address the need.

WBASNY strongly supports this new bill as there are no current provisions in the law which assure that the vast amount of children being displaced from their parents are adequately cared for in the state’s foster care system.