March 24, 2023

NICWA Submits Comments on Separate Licensing Standards for Relative Foster Family Homes

On February 14, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) submitted a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) on Separate Licensing Standards for Relative or Kinship Foster Family Homes. ACF is proposing rule changes to allow state and tribal child welfare agencies to adopt one set of licensing or approval standards for all relative or kinship foster family homes that is different from the standards used for non-relative foster homes. This will remove current barriers for relatives and kin to care for their relative children and have access to more financial resources that support child safety and healthy development. 
 
Currently, the federal regulation requires agencies to use the same licensing or approval standards for all families. The rule would give agencies flexibility on how “relative” and “kin” are defined with regard to licensing standards and also ensure that eligible children receive the same amount of foster care payments regardless of whether the child is placed in a relative, kinship, or unrelated foster family home. 
 
NICWA’s comments focus on the impact of the notice of public rulemaking for American Indian and Alaska Native children.

Action

We encourage Indian Country and allies working with Native children and families to file comments in support of this proposed regulation change. NICWA recognizes the importance of placing American Indian and Alaska Native children in relative homes when they can’t remain at home, whether they are in tribal or state care.
 
You can view NICWA’s comments and a sample comments letter that can be adapted to your personal experience, tribal community, or organization.
 
The deadline to submit public comments online is April 17, 2023.

For more information

NICWA Director of Public Policy and Advocacy
desimmons@nicwa.org

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