President Trump signed an Executive Order titled “Executive Order on Strengthening the Child Welfare System for America’s Children”. The order seeks to advance America’s child welfare by focusing on three key areas of reform:
—Creating “robust partnerships” between state agencies and public, private, faith-based and community organizations. The goals include development of community-based, abuse-prevention and family support services and holding states accountable for recruiting an adequate number of foster and adoptive families through new data collection and technical assistance.
—Improving resources provided to caregivers and those in care. The order claims that HHS will increase the availability of trauma-informed training, support guardianship through funding and grants, and enhance support for kinship care and for those aging out of foster care.
—Improving federal oversight over key statutory child welfare requirements. One of the ways this proposal seeks to do this by directing HHS to advise states on the possible use of federal funds to support legal representation for parents and children.
While this Executive Order outlines ambitious goals, we will await more detailed information from HHS as to how exactly they will be achieved or what robust changes may actually be accomplished. No new money was directed to states in the order.