Children; Governor and DSS to develop and implement plan to reduce number in foster care. (HB718)

Introduced By

Del. Chris Peace (R-Mechanicsville) with support from co-patrons Del. Mamye BaCote (D-Newport News), Del. Jackson Miller (R-Manassas), and Del. Brenda Pogge (R-Williamsburg)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Foster care; plan to reduce.  Requires the Governor and the General Assembly to develop and implement a plan to reduce the number of children in foster care by 25 percent within 10 years. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Passed


01/12/2010Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/13/10 10100572D
01/12/2010Referred to Committee on Health, Welfare and Institutions
01/20/2010Assigned HWI sub: #2
01/24/2010Impact statement from DPB (HB718)
01/26/2010Subcommittee recommends reporting with amendment(s) (7-Y 0-N)
01/28/2010Reported from Health, Welfare and Institutions with substitute (22-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
01/28/2010Committee substitute printed 10104546D-H1
01/29/2010Read first time
01/29/2010Impact statement from DPB (HB718H1)
02/01/2010Read second time
02/01/2010Committee substitute agreed to 10104546D-H1
02/01/2010Engrossed by House - committee substitute HB718H1
02/02/2010Read third time and passed House (91-Y 6-N)
02/02/2010VOTE: --- PASSAGE (91-Y 6-N) (see vote tally)
02/03/2010Read third time and passed House BLOCK VOTE (98-Y 0-N)
02/03/2010Constitutional reading dispensed
02/03/2010Referred to Committee on Rehabilitation and Social Services
02/26/2010Reported from Rehabilitation and Social Services (15-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
03/01/2010Constitutional reading dispensed (40-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
03/02/2010Read third time
03/02/2010Passed Senate (40-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
03/10/2010Bill text as passed House and Senate (HB718ER)
03/10/2010Signed by Speaker
03/11/2010Impact statement from DPB (HB718ER)
03/12/2010Signed by President
04/07/2010G Approved by Governor-Chapter 192 (effective 7/1/10)
04/07/2010G Acts of Assembly Chapter text (CHAP0192)


This bill was discussed on the floor of the General Assembly. Below is all of the video that we have of that discussion, 1 clip in all, totaling 45 seconds.


Trisha Martin writes:

The idea of this bill sounds great...nobody likes to see children in the foster care system. However, this bill does nothing to try to keep families together by offering education, financial support, drug rehabilitation to parents or any of the other basic reasons that children are taken from their biological parents' care. I would like to hear the basic ideas of the governor and DSS before giving them power to reduce the number of children in our foster care system. As an advocate for children, I would like to see that their rights for human bonds with their families are respected.

Susan Lawrence writes:

Keeping children with their birth families really should be our ultimate goal in Virginia. A plan to reduce foster care by 25% by 2020 is embarrassing. Most of Virginia's foster children are in residential placements costing Virginia $600 a day. (Check this link quickly because I'm sure it will be blocked soon - it's the clearest description of costs for residential in Virginia)

What if we instead used that funding, already committed to residential placements, and imagined what we could do with $600 a day per child to keep them in their homes? Preferably home of origin, but even foster or adoptive homes? All of sudden Virginia has the funding for desperately needed CSA/FAPT services to keep children in their communities. $600 a day would pay for a private child psychiatrist to follow the child around all day. $600 would pay for in home mentor services, well used by top notch providers like People Places of Staunton. $600 (and truly, it is more like $800 for most placements) could pay for a lot of alcohol and drug rehab, parent training, etc. or just somebody to work 1:1 with the family to identify their individual needs vs. what the community offers. CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) is another top notch organization that costs NOTHING to evaluate family situations and identify and help implement needed services. $600 -$800 a day could keep a family together rather than forcing a child into the horror that is Virginia foster care/residential care. Look at your children and grandchildren - how would it impact them to have a stranger come in and take them away from everything they know for even one day, much less, their entire childhood. If we could wean legislators off the lobbyist supporting a fat, convoluted system that does little to help children stay in real families, we could fix this problem now and reduce foster care by 25% this year. Talk about saving money! Think of the budgetary implications of saving 50% of CSA funding, which would lower costs for licensing and everything else that costs to oversee residential placements, which is really what most of Virginia foster care is. Think of the green jobs provided in localities by flooding the localities with even just 50% of that $600 a day used for residential. If you allowed every locality $300 a day per child for a year that they bring back from residential, the localities would be banging down the door and trying to elect that person for the next governor. It's really not that complicated, the funding is already there being wasted on residential services through CSA and Medicaid.

If you are like me and want the facts and scientific proof - read this:
MIT Sloan School of Management professor has for the first time used the analytic tools of applied economics to show that children faced with two options - being allowed to stay at home or being placed into foster care - have generally better life outcomes when they remain with their families.

There is no study showing children are safer or get better in foster care or residential. In fact, more of them are injured and die after leaving their homes for state care. At least in their homes, even if they are being regularly molested and assaulted (which WILL happen in foster/residential care) there is a better chance of their being someone, an extended family member, a neighbor, parents of a friend, a teacher who is actually providing support to the child. Maybe not formal support, but loving and effective support just the same. I know and support the great foster parents we have in Virginia, but in Virginia safe, loving foster care is a fairy tale. Residential centers target foster children and it is easier for communities to continue to just lock the children up in residential for the crime of being a foster child. (Check out SB702) Virginia foster care is not usually the dream of a two parent home, private bedroom, a dog, a cat and loving supportive siblings. In Virginia it's placement, after placement in whatever home is open the night you move with a trash bag full of your clothes and personal items, until the child mentally falls apart and is shipped off to residential. If you wanted a plan to destroy a needy child, Virginia has perfected such a plan through CSA/FAPT services, foster care and their joke of adoption assistance.