This act requires parents that wish to delegate their parental powers for more than one year to file a petition through the juvenile court system in order to allow the court to assess if the new parents will be able to adequately care for the child. Previously physical custody could be signed over through a power of attorney document, which required no state oversight. The act also closes a loophole in the states advertising laws, making it illegal to advertise that a child is up for adoption over the internet.

In a ruling that may have implications for other states, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the law strongly supported by Florida Gov. Rick Scott that would have required drug testing for applicants of the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, the federal welfare program known as TANF.

In a unanimous ruling (see the text here) on Dec. 3, 2014, the panel of judges said it was unconstitutional to force applicants to surrender their rights to receive assistance.

ANCHORAGE, ALASKA—Strict adherence to the American principle of separation of powers should not stop members of the three branches of state government from coming together to improve child welfare and juvenile justice services to vulnerable children. That was the feeling at a panel discussion Aug. 13 at the CSG National and CSG West Annual Conference moderated by Nevada Supreme Court Justice Nancy Saitta.

Children often are a voiceless population, left to navigate the incredibly complex child welfare system—from family and juvenile courts to child protective services—depending on that system to provide the protection they need to survive and thrive. This workshop highlighted three state multibranch efforts to enhance services to children and families, provide protection for children and pave the way for future generations to escape cycles of violence, poverty and neglect.

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In response to reports that adopted children were being placed in the care of abusive adults, Wisconsin legislators have adopted a first-in-the-nation measure that cracks down on a practice sometimes referred to as “re-homing.”

Stateline Midwest ~ May 2012

Tackling an issue that many of them viewed as the most important policy priority of 2012, Nebraska lawmakers have adopted a series of reforms to a child-welfare system mired in controversy and turmoil.

Child maltreatment is a tragic, but common, problem in the United States. As a result, there are nearly 2,000 tragic child deaths a year. Under the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, states can transparently investigate and report such cases and publicly disclose deaths stemming from child maltreatment. Some states have recently amended statutes to improve transparency regarding the reporting of fatal or near-fatal child maltreatment cases.

This Act prohibits, to the extent allowed by federal law, requiring a private child-placing agency to perform, assist, counsel, recommend, consent to, refer, or participate in any placement of a child for foster care or adoption when the proposed placement would violate the agency’s written religious or moral convictions or policies. This Act prohibits, to the extent allowed by federal law, requiring a private child-placing agency to perform, assist, counsel, recommend, consent to, refer, or participate in any placement of a child for foster care or adoption when the proposed placement would violate the agency’s written religious or moral convictions or policies. 

All states but North Dakota experienced an increase in participation in the SNAP program between May 2010 and May 2011; 21 states had a double digit annual growth in the number of people depending on SNAP benefits. SNAP program costs are projected by CBO to decline as the economic recovery takes hold more fully. Every $1 spent on SNAP benefits generates $1.79 in total economic activity, according to the USDA. 

The number of poor children has been on the rise for the past 10 years, although those increases vary across state and racial and ethnic lines.  Higher childhood poverty rates mean bigger costs to states, including future health and criminal justice expenses.  

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