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April 01, 2015

Adoption and Foster Care Reporting System

The ABA expressed support this month for adding education-related data information to the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS), which includes case-level information from state and tribal agencies under Title IV-E of the Social Security Act on all children in foster care and those who have been adopted with Title IV-E agency involvement. A notice of proposed rulemaking published Feb. 9 would update AFCARS requirements to include changes made by enactment of the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 and the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act of 2014. In comments submitted April 10 to the Administration for Children and Families in the Department of Health and Human Services, the ABA said that “maintaining key educational data is essential to monitoring states’ compliance with the education requirements of the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act and – even more important – to ensure that the educational needs of children in foster care are being met.” The addition of education-related data to AFCARS “marks tremendous progress, and it will surely lead to improved data that can be used to inform and improve states’ practices and policies and enable them to measure and track the educational progress of children in care,” the ABA comments stated.  The comments also pointed out that several of the data elements are already being collected in many jurisdictions and should not create an unnecessary burden for child welfare professionals. The ABA recommended several changes in the proposal dealing with school enrollment, educational level, and educational stability, and special education.

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