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I Have Grave Concerns about HB 1333 – the Kinship Guardianship Assistance Program

Del. Chris Peace has touted his support of HB 1333, which is purported to offer certain payments to near kin of teenage (mostly) foster children who cannot be adopted or reunited with parents.  At first it sounds wonderful.  BUT…

Here’s JLARC (Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission)’s bill report and here is the actual summary:

HB 1333 establishes the Kinship Guardianship Assistance Program (KinGAP), which enables approved relative foster parents to continue receiving support (maintenance and services) payments after a child has exited foster care to the custody of the relative until the child turns 18. Both reunification and adoption must be ruled out as appropriate permanency options before KinGAP participation can be considered. Currently, youth who exit foster care to a relative do not receive support payments after exit.
The program is intended to increase permanency rates (i.e., the share of foster care youth who exit the system due to reunification, adoption, or transfer of legal custody to a relative) by reducing the number of children in relative placements who remain in foster care until age 18 for financial reasons; that is, because maintenance and service payments would be discontinued if the child exited. Under HB 1333, kinship guardianship would be a formal permanency option similar to reunification and adoption.
As of January 2018, 35 states and the District of Columbia have enacted kinship guardianship assistance programs in accordance with the federal Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008.
Here’s my questions and concerns:
  • If near kin are to take in foster teens shouldn’t the court or Social Services (DSS) ALREADY determine if the near kin is financially able to support the teen?
  • In fact, it would seem to me that DSS would not even place a child in a home without reasonable assurance that the child would be supported financially.
  • What about the original parents?  If rights were terminated, there are NO parents to reach for child support.  Taxpayers get stuck with a bill?  Again?

Now the JLARC report tries to pooh-pooh the costs:

For the purposes of the state budget, the fiscal impact represents the sum of total federal and general fund costs.
FY19: $182,889 ($54,570 federal funds, $128,319 general funds)
FY20: $365,778 ($109,140 federal funds, $256,638 general funds)
FY21 and subsequent years: $453, 403 ($130,968 federal funds, $322,435 general funds)
Just practically sweeping up change on the floor of the House from the way it sounds.  Only a handful of kids will be affected.  Nothing to see here.  Here is what Del. Peace said about this bill in the Peace Progress:
  Another bill to strengthen families and to provide increased positive outcomes for children in foster care is House Bill 1333.  I am Chief Co-Patron of HB 1333, a bill to create the Kinship Guardianship Assistance program (KinGAP).  KinGAP will assist in providing kinship guardianship assistance payments on behalf of children to grandparents and other relatives who have assumed legal guardianship of the children. This program provides another means for children to exit the foster care system when adoption is not the best option, yet still providing a permanent placement for the child.  Through KinGAP, trauma is reduced, children will no longer wonder where they belong or if someone is going to show up at the door and move them to a new placement.  Through KinGAP, children maintain a relationship with family even if their parents cannot parent them.
It’s my opinion but, yes relative placements are great – and are preferred to termination of residual parental rights.  That’s the law!  But this is really a new subsidy program – yes started in the Swamp on the Potomac with the federal law cited above.  But two more questions:
  • Will the federal money continue?
  • What strings are attached?

Ronulus Magnus II (Cong. Ron Paul) once said in a debate – if you subsidize something, you get more of it.  I think the costs will skyrocket and “kin” will game this system for all kinds of abuse.  If they are truly loving near kin, they’ll do it without any extra funds.  They’ll sacrifice to help this needy child.  Until my questions are answered, I’d recommend a NO vote on all these “Kinship Guardianship” bills.

PS:  I understand HB 1333 was passed out of the subcommittee 3 of Health, Welfare and Institutions with undetermined amendments but then referred to Appropriations.  In the meantime, I have emailed Del. Peace with some of my concerns.  Maybe you should too.

 

About Elwood Sanders

Elwood "Sandy" Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia's first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)

8 Responses to “I Have Grave Concerns about HB 1333 – the Kinship Guardianship Assistance Program”

  1. T Morrow says:

    Chris Peace is a LIBERAL DEMOCRAT who runs for office as a Republican with Middle Resolution Pac money. look up Peace’s VPAP rap sheet for donations and see just how much Middle Resolution Pac founders have spent keeping Peace elected and in ffice for their personal wealth agendas like Peace’s Air B and B bill for their rental income. Huge Joyce and Frank Bradley et al. Folks in Henrico County living in nice safe subdivisions are just now waking up to the safety concerns and crime risks Peace subjected them to when Peace passed Air B and B and put hotels in their neighborhoods. Now the county is scrambling to undo them with zoning.

    Same Delegate Peace who appoints the judges in Hanover and then earns his living as court appointed legal counsel by his appointed judges. No way that juvie judge in Hanover should be sitting on a bench.

    When the low information voters wake up and read this article perhaps they will find a conservative to primary Peace in 2019 and put a true statesman in that office representing Hanover instead of a Rino.

    • Sandy Sanders
      Twitter:
      says:

      Air B&B is a concept that is not going away; Del. Peace sought to legalize so the taxes would be paid on these efforts. So I support Peace on this.

      As for the “juvie judge”, you can’t just attack a person like that without a lot more than that – and the place to go is your delegate and senator. They can make a judge not be reappointed if needed. But that needs to be for good solid reasons or few lawyers will move to the bench.

      Thanks for coming by and commenting, T. Morrow.

      Sandy

  2. Freddy Boisseau says:

    You have two articles denouncing this bill, so I am posting my comments on both.

    I do not know Del. Pence or his voting record. I just want to comment on this bill because I believe that people’s understandable knee-jerk reaction to extending the welfare state has gotten in the way of them thinking deeply about what I believe is the true issue here.

    See my wife and I were someone that could have benefitted from this type of bill when we took in her niece and nephew at the ages of 5 and 3. Not that I wanted help from the government, and was not happy having to take what little help we did. Mainly using Medicaid as a supplemental insurance to mainly cover the counseling that they needed after years of abuse and neglect. I even pushed back against the money my wife’s father, the kid’s grandfather gave us to help take care of the children.

    We took on that responsibility and thus we should have been the primary caregivers and funding. We with the help of family made it work, and I totally agree that is the way it should be. But I also believe that if the family can not do it or are not available to do it, more of us that can, should step up and take care of these children in need and bare the cost without government help. Personally, I like not having to deal with the government and them putting their noses into everything.

    The problem is there are a lot of families that would love to take in their family members, but for many reasons, one of them being lack of funds are unable to do so. Yet if these children go into foster care the state will send money to those that take them in. And while the great majority are people that truly care about the children, there are many disadvantages to the foster system.

    The most obvious in this case is that while they try to keep siblings together, that is always not possible. Even when they do, these kids will most likely lose contact with those family members that still love them, unlike if they were placed with those same family members. I know that because we took in my wife’s niece and nephew they were able to maintain contacts with their grandparents, uncles, and aunts, and in the long run that helped them.

    So instead of looking at it as expanding a program, that we all agree should not be the business of government, but in today’s world, it unfortunately is. Ask yourself this question, would you rather pay to place these kids with a loving family member willing to take on the burden and that will keep the extended family together, or would you rather pay to place them with a stranger, and leave them without the stabilizing influence an loving extended family could provide.

    Because really when you get right down to it, in most cases you are going to pay to place these kids with someone. I would prefer that they are placed with their family, if at all possible, instead of strangers. And to me, this bill is trying to make it more likely that they will be placed with their family, by giving the family the some of the same support that we would give the stranger.

  3. Harris Goldberg says:

    I don’t believe for a minute that any FAMILY of a neglected or abused child would allow that child to go to a STRANGER’s HOME for a lack of funds. The CHILDREN qualify for MEDICAID which is Welfare and probably Free school LUNCH.

    YOU Freddy support a NANNY STATE. That’s not REPUBLICAN. YOU can clothe a child for pennies at a Good Will Store and feed them Oatmeal and peanut butter sandwiches and white beans and cornbread for a few dollars a day. And you can’t provide a loving home for a desperate child without being compensated monetarily? Shame on you. Give up cable, your daily Starbucks, the new car, and GOP dues, movies, and eating out and you can care for a child. You will be a better person for it.

    • Freddy Boisseau says:

      I am sorry you do not accept what I say at face value. But if I had not been in the picture, my wife’s niece and nephew would have no other option. She could not have taken care of them by herself and no other family member was in the position to do so. Her father was too old, her mother was barely capable of caring for herself. The kid’s mothers side was filled with a history of abuse both physical and sexual. So that would not have worked. And I know of other situations that were worse, and the children did end up in foster care instead of with a family member. So get off your high horse and see what other people have to deal with.

      Regarding your comment of how to make it work. Been there done that. That was how my mom managed to raise me and my brother after my father left us. A choice see made to keep from going on the government dole.

      I am sorry the world is not a black and white as you would like it to be. Reality is a bunch of grays and the choices are not as easy as you make them out to be.

      • Sandy Sanders
        Twitter:
        says:

        Might be against my better judgment but I will wade in. I appreciate Freddy’s thoughtful comment and can see his side of it. But I still think this is a program that will blow up – costwise – and also be abused. Seems better to bring the near kin into the fostering program and then can pay them if needed. Harris was a bit less sensitive than was necessary.

        I still say NO without more information than I have received. I am eager to hear Del. Peace’s side of it.

        Sandy

        Sandy

        • Freddy Boisseau says:

          Sandy,
          Thank you.

          Personally, I would recommend that anyone in the situation my wife and I were in that they involve the government in the process as little as possible. That is especially true when money is involved because they will just make things worse.

          But I also believe that if a child can not remain in the care of their parents, the next best thing is to place them with another family member. And if to make that happen, if a little tax money, that would have gone to a foster family anyways, is directed to them, I am okay with that.

          In an ideal world, the government-run foster care system and money attached to it would be unnecessary, but it is not an ideal world sorry to say.

        • Can go to the Shannon article on the same topic here for a defense of the program from Del. Peace. I think I would still vote no.

          Sandy

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