New Help for Children Raised by Grandparents and Other Relatives: Questions and Answers About the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008

Release Date: January 26, 2009
File Format: pdf

The bipartisan Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act (P.L. 110-351), signed into law by President Bush on October 7, 2008, represents the most significant federal reforms for abused and neglected children in foster care in more than a decade.

The act's numerous improvements are all intended to achieve better outcomes for children who are at risk of entering or have spent time in foster care. This act will help hundreds of thousands of children and youth in foster care by promoting permanent families for them through relative guardianship and adoption and improving education and health care. Additionally, the bill will extend federal support for youth to age 21 and increase their opportunities for success when they finally leave care. This act also will offer many American Indian children important federal protections and support for the first time.

These reforms represented significant first steps, but there is additional work to be done.  These reforms will mean little to children unless and until they are effectively implemented so as to truly benefit children. 

The New Help for Children Raised by Grandparents and Other Relatives: Questions and Answers About the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008, is intended to help ensure full and prompt implementation of the improvements in the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act for children being raised by grandparents and other relatives. It was prepared by an informal coalition of organizations, many of whom have been working individually and together for years to support children being raised by grandparents and other relatives. In this guide, the supporting organizations have answered a number of questions posed to them by persons interested in implementing the new act.

This Guide was a collaborative effort of 18 organizations, including: Center for Law and Social Policy, Children's Defense Fund, Alliance for Children and Families/United Neighborhood Centers of America, American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law, Annie E. Casey Foundation/Casey Family Services, Casey Family Programs, Center for the Study of Social Policy, ChildFocus, Child Welfare League of America, Children and Family Research Center - School of Social Work at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Family Violence Prevention Fund, Generations United, GrandFamilies of America, National Association of County Human Services Administrators, National Center for State Courts, National Foster Care Coalition, North American Council on Adoptable Children, Voices for America's Children.

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For brief summaries on the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act and how it will improve the lives of children and youths in foster care, please see: