Assessing the Context of Permanency and Reunification in the Foster Care System. Appendix A. State Matrix (6)

12/01/2001

State Organizational Structure Foster Care Population Permanency Options (in order of preference) Reunification Defined Provider Type Changes After ASFA and Recent Permanency Initiatives Reunification Programs Recommended for Review
Alabama State-administered system. There are separate state-level units for foster care, independent living program, therapeutic foster care, family preservation and reunification. Estimated number of children in foster care: 5,200 1) Returning home to parent 
2) Relative custody 
3) Adoption 
4) Long term foster care
Reunification is defined as return child to a parent, but could also be considered return to a relative. Reunification services are provided by both private and public providers. Changes: 
ASFA has served as an impetus to address foster care issues and focus efforts on getting children home or in a permanent placement sooner.

Initiatives: 
May start offering guardianship in the future.

Expedited substance abuse services.
Arizona State-administered system. The State is divided into 6 districts that cover all 15 counties in the State. Estimated number of children in foster care: 5,600 1) Return to parent 
2) Adoption 
3) Adoption by relative 
4) Guardianship (subsidized or non-subsidized)
5) Permanent guardianship 
6) Long-term foster care 
7) Independent living
Reunification is considered as return to parent or original guardian from whom the child was taken. Some direct reunification services are provided through the public providers but about 70% of services are provided by private providers. Changes: Upon removal there is a petition filed and court hearing for all parties; Parents are held more accountable with shortened timeframes.

Initiatives: 
Subsidized guardianship; instituting a central office foster home recruiter position; instituting a Permanency Planning Coordinator to focus on statewide permanency for children.

None.
California State-supervised, County-administered child welfare system. Estimated number of children in foster care: 112,800 1) Reunification 
2) Adoption 
3) Guardianship* 
*relative guardianship is preferred to non-relative adoption. Non-relative guardianship is least preferred. 
Preferential consideration is given to relatives for both placement and permanency.
Reunification is defined as reunifying the child with parents from whose care the child was removed.

California does include relatives in all aspects of case planning.

Reunification services are provided by both public and private providers. Changes: 
Only minor modifications were required to meet ASFA safety requirements and reunification provisions. The State incorporated all ASFA requirements into AB2773; Concurrent planning was in practice prior to ASFA.

Initiatives: 
KinGap and the 1997 Governor's Adoption Initiative.

California does not have statewide specific reunification programs; reunification is generally covered by a unit serving child welfare services. 
Programs: 
1) Santa Clara County's use of the Family Group Decision-Making model in reunification maintenance programs. 
2) Santa Clara and San Mateo counties' wraparound initiative in reunification services.
Colorado State-supervised, county-administered child welfare system, through 63 counties statewide. Estimated number of children in foster care: 8,000 Not in any preference order: 
Reunification with family; In Kind (kinship care); Adoption; Independent living services.
Reunification is defined as return from place of removal. Reunification services are provided by both public and private providers, although services are considered privatized. Changes: 
The State is promoting the retention of foster parents and obtaining adoptive homes.

ASFA pushed the State to rework the contract with Mental Health due to the capitated rate for Medicaid

Working to expand their expertise in adoption with an increase in adoptive services.

Initiatives: None provided.

None.
Connecticut State-administered child welfare system.

The State is made up of 5 regional offices and 9 sub-offices.

Estimated number of children in foster care: 6,700 1) Reunification 
2) Adoption 
3) Relative placement 
4) Permanent foster care 
5) Independent living

Connecticut also has subsidized guardianship.

Reunification is defined as return to parent from whom the child was taken. Reunification services are provided by both public and private service providers. Changes: 
The State adopted ASFA legal mandates and reporting structure required by federal government.

Initiatives: 
Concurrent planning.

Subsidized guardianship.

None.
Florida State-administered system that is slowly switching to a community-based, privatized system. Some counties are privatized, others are just starting to move toward privatization. Estimated number of children in foster care: 26,300 1) Reunification 
2) Adoption 
3) Custody to relative 
4) Custody to foster parent 
5) Independent living 
6) Long-term foster care
Reunification is defined as returning the child to any family member (i.e., parent, aunt, grandmother, etc). Reunification services are provided by both public and private services providers, but some counties are using only private providers. Changes: 
ASFA has made an enormous change towards emphasizing safety.

Initiatives: 
Current initiatives include simplifying the guardianship procedures; adding staff for recruitment and retention of foster parents; reduction in caseloads; and a relative caregiver program.

1) Pensacola, FL, program servicing first-time children in foster care. 
2) Jacksonville, FL, program that serves adolescent children.
Georgia State-supervised, county-administered system.

159 counties and 14 field coordinators who directly supervise the county directors.

Estimated number of children in foster care: 9,900 Options not ranked.

While reunification is still a priority, stronger emphasis is being put on adoption to prevent children from lingering in care.

Reunification is defined as return to the family members that the child was living with or person who was the child's prior custodian. Reunification services are primarily provided by private providers. Public agency workers act as case managers who make the referrals to services. Changes: 
Under ASFA, the state has moved a lot of children with goals of reunification to adoption. 
Using concurrent planning, using foster families for adoptive families, expanding use of foster parents to work with birth parents. 
Developed staff training on doing a good family assessment early. 
Training in family conferencing.

Initiatives: 
First Placement, Best Placement (7 statewide sites). 
Family-to-Family implemented in 5 counties. 
Looking at ways to provide more support for relative caregivers.

1) Mothers making a Change: a substance abuse treatment program for foster care families. 
2) Healthy Grandparents.
Iowa State-administered system.

The State is made up of 5 regions and numerous areas.

Estimated number of children in foster care: 4,200 1) Keeping children in home 
2) Reunification 
3) Adoption 
4) Subsidized guardianship 
5) Kinship placement or family custody
Reunification is defined as being with the child's biological parents or household of origin. Services are almost always provided through private providers. The public agency oversees and manages but very seldom provides direct services. Changes: Most requirements per ASFA were made through similar state revisions prior to ASFA. 
The state updated its case monitoring system so workers receive reminders on the timeframe of cases.
State made arrangements to widen the geographical area on adoption and set up an adoption web site. 
Initiatives: 
New mediation-work initiative that helps parties work out differences during TPR. 
Small grant initiative to provide support for grandparents as caregivers.
Woodbury County's use of Casey Family-to-Family elements in their foster care services.
Kentucky State-supervised, locally administered system.

Day-to-day oversight of contracts are done by local staff.

Estimated number of children in foster care: 3,500 1) Return home
2) Adoption 
3) Placement with relative 
4) Planned permanent living arrangement (long term foster care)

The State places an emphasis on kinship care and placing children with relatives.

No definition given. Reunification services are provided by private providers. Changes: 
ASFA has affected all aspects of child services. As a result they have gone from a family-driven system to a child-driven system. 
Regional managers are judged by contract outcomes based on the 7 ASFA outcomes. 
Initiatives: 
Working with Edna McConnell Clark Foundation to develop safety nets with community services. 
Preparing to work with Casey on Family-to-Family.
1) Bluegrass Comprehensive Care Mental Health Resources. 
2) Kentucky Baptist Homes for Children.
Massachusetts State-administered system.

The State has a central office and is divided into 6 regional offices and 29 area offices.

Estimated number of children in foster care: 13,000 1) Return home
2) Adoption 
3) Subsidized guardianship 
4) Kinship placement
The state defines as a child returned to the parents or to the persons from whom the child was removed. Reunification services are provided by both public and private providers. Changes: 
ASFA has pushed them to require agencies to decide on permanency sooner and engage relatives sooner. 
The state passed the Massachusetts Adoption Bill, incorporating the permanency hearing, parent notification, and other aspects of ASFA.

Initiatives: 
The State is piloting a permanency mediation initiative focused on the TPR process.

Family Reunification Network in the Boston Region.
Michigan State-administered system. Estimated number of children in foster care: 15,700 1) Return home
2) Adoption* 
3) Guardianship**
4) Long-term foster care***

*the current state climate supports putting more resources into adoption than reunification and other options.

**Michigan does a limited number of guardianships.

***LTFC is used as an option for some older teens.

Reunification is defined as return to parent, and also includes relative placements. Nearly all reunification services are provided by private providers. Changes: 
Michigan statutes addressing ASFA-type changes preceded ASFA.

Initiatives: 
Foster care permanency reimbursement pilot in Wayne County that uses a performance-based system.

Title IV-E Waiver implemented last October.

Implemented family group decision making pilot in 7 counties.

None
Minnesota County-administered, state-supervised system Estimated number of children in foster care: 8,600 1) Return home
2) Adoption 
3) Relative given legal custody 
4) Long-term foster care

Transfer of legal custody to a relative is the same as legal guardianship, which does not include TPR.

Return to the home in which the child was removed.

Returning child to non-custodial parent may also be considered reunification, but placing a child with another relative would be placement with relative, not reunification.

Services are primarily delivered by contracted private agencies.

Public agency provides investigation, case planning, and attend court hearings.

The state has broken down its budget differently due to adoption promotion and support. Change in budget has provided impetus for permanency project that might otherwise not have been funded. Olmstead County social services reunification programs.
Missouri State-administered system.

The State has 115 field offices in 114 counties and the City of St. Louis.

Estimated number of children in foster care: 12,500 1) Return home
2) Adoption 
3) Independent living 
4) Long term foster care
Reunification is defined as return child home to parent or family of origin. Reunification services are provided by both public and private providers. Changes: 
The biggest change has been the timeliness of TPR and adoption through the courts.

There has been an enhancement of the use of guardianship and kinship care and a heavy emphasis in the use of these placement options.

The State passed the 1998 Juvenile Court Dispositional Hearing to a Permanency Hearing which adopted ASFA criteria for case review processes.

Initiatives: 
Kincare.

Subsidized guardianship.

Grandparents as guardians.

Family Reunion Services Programs in St. Louis and Kansas City.
New Hampshire State-administered system managing 12 districts.

Districts are staffed with state workers. Reunification services are delivered at the district level.

Estimated number of children in foster care: 1,600 1) Reunification 
2) Adoption 
3) Guardianship with relative 
4) Guardianship with non-relative, long-term foster care.
Reunification is defined as return to parent(s). Reunification services are provided by both public and private providers. Changes: 
State has identified backlog cases which need TPR and that number has increased. In response, state has enlarged its adoption unit and staff to meet the needs of TPR cases.

Initiatives: 
State has hired a new adoption recruiter.

None.
New Jersey State-administered system.

Each of the state's 21 counties has a district office from which direct services are provided.

Estimated number of children in foster care: 9,200 1) Return to birth parent 
2) Family placement 
3) Adoption 
4) Legal guardianship 
5) Independent living and long-term foster care

The option of long term foster care is currently being reconsidered as an option.

Reunification is defined as "family reunification" and includes all family, not just birth parents. Reunification services are primarily provided by private providers, but the system is publicly run. Changes: 
ASFA sensitized the state for the need to increase collaboration between child welfare, the courts, and other agencies to be organized and work together toward expediting permanency.

Initiatives: 
Fost-Adopt program is new statewide initiative modeled after the federal Adoption Opportunity Act.

Family Group Conferencing is being implemented by the State.

Birthparent Support Program providing support to parents in the foster care system.

Contracting out services to increase visitation in foster care.

1) Birth Parent Support Program. 
2) Court Mediation Program in Essex County.
New York State-supervised, county-administered child welfare system.

The state has 58 local districts from which services are delivered.

Estimated number of children in foster care: 53,600 1) Reunification 
2) Adoption 
3) Independent living 
4) Adult custodial care
Reunification is defined as return to the person who has legal rights as a child's parent or guardian. Reunification services are provided by both public and private providers. Changes: 
The State places more emphasis on child safety and faster permanency. The state is also more willing to consider the use of concurrent planning, although it is not presently used for cases.

Initiatives: 
Adoption initiatives taking place in NYC to curtail children being released for adoption but not adopted.

1) Anadoga County's Dunbar Center.

2) Family Resolution Program - Genessee County, NY.

3) Monroe County DSS.

North Carolina State-supervised, county- administered system.

There are 100 counties and each has a county department of social service office and county board responsible for administrating child welfare services.

Estimated number of children in foster care: 11,300 1) Reunification 
2) Adoption 
3) Guardianship with a relative 
4) Guardianship with non-relative 
5) Custody with a relative 
6) Emancipation
Reunification is defined as the return of the child to the parent from whom the child was removed. Reunification services are provided by both public and private providers. Changes: 
None provided.

Initiatives: 
Title IV-E state waiver.

Families for Kids - Second Generation.

1) Families for Kids Program in Buncombe County.

2) Families for Kids Program in Cleveland County.

Ohio Ohio is a state-supervised, county-administered system.

The state has 88 counties and each county child welfare system runs independently.

Estimated number of children in foster care: 18,800 1) Reunification 
2) Legal guardianship/ placement with a relative 
3) Adoption 
4) Other planned permanent living arrangement
Reunification is defined as return home to the parent or person the child was living with before going into custody. Reunification services are provided by public and private providers, depending on the county. Changes: 
State is working with counties to define ASFA provisions such as compelling reasons.

State law was changed to meet ASFA mandates.

There is more emphasis on permanency decisions.

Initiatives: 
Public Children Services Association guide to effective partnerships between substance abuse and child welfare.

1) Lucas County Community Advocacy and Parenting Programs.

2) Trumble County Reunification Services.

Oregon State-administered system.

Each county has an agency branch office to service children and families.

Oregon's Services to Children and Families Agency handles CPS, foster care and adoption cases only; a separate state agency deals with family preservation.

Estimated number of children in foster care: 7,300 1) Reunification 
2) Adoption 
3) Guardianship 
4) Permanent foster or long-term foster care
Reunification is defined as return to the family, including birth parents or grandparents. Reunification services are provided through both public and private providers. Changes: 
Significant policy changes moving toward the practice changes for reunification and permanency plans for children. Most changes took place prior to ASFA.

Court burdened due to unfunded nature of ASFA.

Initiatives: 
Title IV-E assisted guardianship program.

Services bolstered to support post-adoption population.

None.
Pennsylvania State-supervised, county-administered system.

Pennsylvania has a very strong county system, made up of 67 counties. There are also 4 regions, each with a regional office that conducts licensing of the agencies.

Estimated number of children in foster care: 23,000 1) Reunification 
2) Kinship placement 
3) Adoption 
4) Independent living/long-term foster care
Reunification is defined as return to the home the child came from. Approximately 200 private service providers operate in the state. Services are provided through these private agencies. Changes: 
ASFA has compelled the state to provide more intensive services and coordinate with providers of substance abuse services to families.

Initiatives: 
The state is looking into legal custodianship, including a subsidized component.

Statewide Adoption Network.

None.
Tennessee State-administered system with 12 regions, serving 95 counties. Each region has an administrator that reports to the state. Estimated number of children in foster care: 9,100 1) Return to parent or caregiver 
2) Placement with relative 
3) Adoption 
4) Emancipation or permanent foster care
Reunification is defined as return to the person the child was removed from. Reunification services are primarily provided by private agencies. Changes: 
Focused on ensuring reunification and permanency within ASFA timeframes. Worked with CWLA to develop a 3-year plan to help reduce caseload and workload, develop training curriculum, and enhance concurrent planning policy.

Initiatives: 
Independent adoption contracts to expedite adoptions among other processes for adoption.

Kinship care initiative to enable relatives to care for children without state custody.

Managed Care Initiative.

Child and family services program for therapeutic visitation.
Texas State-administered system.

The state is divided into 11 regions, each having its own county structure that mirrors the state's.

Estimated number of children in foster care: 17,100 1) Family reunification 
2) Permanent placement with relative or close family friend 
3) Adoption by non-relative 
4) Alternative long-term care 
5) Adult living
Reunification is defined as returning the child home to the parents. Reunification services are provided through both public and private providers. Changes: 
None provided.

Initiatives: 
None provided.

None recommended.
Utah State-administered system, with 7 regions throughout the state.

The regions have some autonomy but state supervises and approves.

Estimated number of children in foster care: 2,500 1) Return home
2) Kinship care 
3) Adoption 
4) Guardianship 
5) Long-term foster care and independent living
No information provided. Reunification services are primarily provided through public providers, although some private providers are used. Changes: 
Court system has gotten quicker in expediting cases.

Initiatives: 
Concurrent planning.

None.
Washington State-administered system, divided into 6 regions with an administrator in each region. Estimated number of children in foster care: 9,000 1) Return home
2) Adoption 
3) Permanent custody 
4) Guardianship
Reunification is defined as returning the child to persons from whom he or she was taken at the time of placement. Reunification services are provided by private providers under contract. Changes: 
Shortened the timeline for permanency decisions.

Initiatives: 
Concurrent planning.

Reviewing plans for strengthening kinship care.

Remove barriers to guardianship

None.
Wisconsin County-administered system, through the 71 counties in the state.

The only exception is that in 1998 the state assumed responsibility for child welfare in Milwaukee as a result of an ACLU lawsuit.

Estimated number of children in foster care: 10,000 1) Reunification with the family 
2) Adoption 
3) Sustaining care (long-term foster care)

No information provided.

Reunification services are provided through public providers (the county agency). In Milwaukee, both public and private agencies provide reunification services.

Changes: 
ASFA has forced services to become more intense due to time limitations.

State bill passed in response to ASFA.

Initiatives: 
State is conducting a statewide intensive foster and adoptive parent recruitment campaign.

Concurrent planning.

None recommended.

6.  Data for the State Matrix come from discussions with state administrators except for information on the foster care population in each state. Foster care data come from the Adoption and Foster Care and Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) annual database, FY 1998. Data from the 1999 Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) Yearbook, State Agency Survey (1998) was used when AFCARS data was unavailable. Most CWLA data is for the year 1996. Foster care figures are rounded to the nearest 100.