The Bill Spill

We spill the tea on the latest bills being put forth or enacted impacting the child welfare system in Virginia and nationally.

This month’s Bill Spill shines a light on three bills that have found their way all the way to Governor Youngkin’s desk for approval.

SB 39

Senate Bill 39 presents kinship care as a form of foster care prevention. This bill is being sponsored by our own board member Senator Favola.

The bill outlines specific criteria for a child to be considered eligible for the foster care prevention program and allows for the placement of the child with a ran adult who is related to the child by blood, marriage, adoption, or fictive kin. The bill does this by establishing a Foster Care Prevention Program that details and enforces:

  • that certain authority be given to the relative
  • provisions for financial assistance
  • the creation of a safety placement agreement between the guardian, relative, and local board
  • a process for ending the proposed placement

HB 453

Currently, kinship care applicants who have been convicted of certain felony drug offenses have to wait 10 years to become eligible as a kinship foster care parent. House Bill 453 would change the current law by altering the time frame from 10 years to five years. In addition, the bill would create an exception of misdemeanor assault and battery (if not in relation to a minor) and have these applicants wait just five years of the date of conviction.

HB 777

House Bill 777 ascertains that if a child is moved due to a kinship care arrangement, that child maintains the ability to continue to go to school in the same school division where they previously lived. This bill would ensure that a child’s schooling would not be disrupted and ultimately contribute to more consistency for the child. The bill also extends certain provisions pertaining to continuity of public school enrollment for students in foster care to students who have transitioned out of foster care and whose custody has been transferred to a parent or guardian, or who have been emancipated.