Home > 106th Congressional Bills > H.R. 1802 (ih) To amend part E of title IV of the Social Security Act to provide States with more funding and greater flexibility in carrying out programs designed to help children make the transition from foster care to self-sufficiency, and for other pu...

H.R. 1802 (ih) To amend part E of title IV of the Social Security Act to provide States with more funding and greater flexibility in carrying out programs designed to help children make the transition from foster care to self-sufficiency, and for other pu...


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106th CONGRESS

  1st Session

                               H. R. 1802

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 AN ACT

   To amend part E of title IV of the Social Security Act to provide 
   States with more funding and greater flexibility in carrying out 
programs designed to help children make the transition from foster care 
              to self-sufficiency, and for other purposes.
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  
106th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                H. R. 1802

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 AN ACT


 
   To amend part E of title IV of the Social Security Act to provide 
   States with more funding and greater flexibility in carrying out 
programs designed to help children make the transition from foster care 
              to self-sufficiency, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.

    (a) Short Title.--This Act may be cited as the ``Foster Care 
Independence Act of 1999''.
    (b) Table of Contents.--The table of contents of this Act is as 
follows:

Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.
              TITLE I--IMPROVED INDEPENDENT LIVING PROGRAM

            Subtitle A--Improved Independent Living Program

Sec. 101. Improved independent living program.
               Subtitle B--Related Foster Care Provision

Sec. 111. Increase in amount of assets allowable for children in foster 
                            care.
Sec. 112. Preparation of foster parents to provide for the needs of 
                            children in State care.
                    Subtitle C--Medicaid Amendments

Sec. 121. State option of Medicaid coverage for adolescents leaving 
                            foster care.
                Subtitle D--Adoption Incentive Payments

Sec. 131. Increased funding for adoption incentive payments.
                     TITLE II--SSI FRAUD PREVENTION

          Subtitle A--Fraud Prevention and Related Provisions

Sec. 201. Liability of representative payees for overpayments to 
                            deceased recipients.
Sec. 202. Recovery of overpayments of SSI benefits from lump sum SSI 
                            benefit payments.
Sec. 203. Additional debt collection practices.
Sec. 204. Requirement to provide State prisoner information to Federal 
                            and federally assisted benefit programs.
Sec. 205. Rules relating to collection of overpayments from individuals 
                            convicted of crimes.
Sec. 206. Treatment of assets held in trust under the SSI program.
Sec. 207. Disposal of resources for less than fair market value under 
                            the SSI program.
Sec. 208. Administrative procedure for imposing penalties for false or 
                            misleading statements.
Sec. 209. Exclusion of representatives and health care providers 
                            convicted of violations from participation 
                            in social security programs.
Sec. 210. State data exchanges.
Sec. 211. Study on possible measures to improve fraud prevention and 
                            administrative processing.
Sec. 212. Annual report on amounts necessary to combat fraud.
Sec. 213. Computer matches with Medicare and Medicaid 
                            institutionalization data.
Sec. 214. Access to information held by financial institutions.
     Subtitle B--Special Benefits For Certain World War II Veterans

Sec. 251. Establishment of program of special benefits for certain 
                            World War II veterans.
                           Subtitle C--Study

Sec. 261. Study of denial of SSI benefits for family farmers.
                        TITLE III--CHILD SUPPORT

Sec. 301. Narrowing of hold harmless provision for State share of 
                            distribution of collected child support.
                    TITLE IV--TECHNICAL CORRECTIONS

Sec. 401. Technical corrections relating to amendments made by the 
                            Personal Responsibility and Work 
                            Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996.

              TITLE I--IMPROVED INDEPENDENT LIVING PROGRAM

            Subtitle A--Improved Independent Living Program

SEC. 101. IMPROVED INDEPENDENT LIVING PROGRAM.

    (a) Findings.--The Congress finds the following:
            (1) States are required to make reasonable efforts to find 
        adoptive families for all children, including older children, 
        for whom reunification with their biological family is not in 
        the best interests of the child. However, some older children 
        will continue to live in foster care. These children should be 
        enrolled in an Independent Living program designed and 
        conducted by State and local government to help prepare them 
        for employment, postsecondary education, and successful 
        management of adult responsibilities.
            (2) About 20,000 adolescents leave the Nation's foster care 
        system each year because they have reached 18 years of age and 
        are expected to support themselves.
            (3) Congress has received extensive information that 
        adolescents leaving foster care have significant difficulty 
        making a successful transition to adulthood; this information 
        shows that children aging out of foster care show high rates of 
        homelessness, non-marital childbearing, poverty, and delinquent 
        or criminal behavior; they are also frequently the target of 
        crime and physical assaults.
            (4) The Nation's State and local governments, with 
        financial support from the Federal Government, should offer an 
        extensive program of education, training, employment, and 
        financial support for young adults leaving foster care, with 
        participation in such program beginning several years before 
        high school graduation and continuing, as needed, until the 
        young adults emancipated from foster care establish 
        independence or reach 21 years of age.
    (b) Improved Independent Living Program.--Section 477 of the Social 
Security Act (42 U.S.C. 677) is amended to read as follows:

``SEC. 477. INDEPENDENT LIVING PROGRAM.

    ``(a) Purpose.--The purpose of this section is to provide States 
with flexible funding that will enable programs to be designed and 
conducted--
            ``(1) to identify children who are likely to remain in 
        foster care until 18 years of age and to help these children 
        make the transition to self-sufficiency by providing services 
        such as assistance in obtaining a high school diploma, career 
        exploration, vocational training, job placement and retention, 
        training in daily living skills, training in budgeting and 
        financial management skills, substance abuse prevention, and 
        preventive health activities (including smoking avoidance, 
        nutrition education, and pregnancy prevention);
            ``(2) to help children who are likely to remain in foster 
        care until 18 years of age receive the education, training, and 
        services necessary to obtain employment;
            ``(3) to help children who are likely to remain in foster 
        care until 18 years of age prepare for and enter postsecondary 
        training and education institutions;
            ``(4) to provide personal and emotional support to children 
        aging out of foster care, through mentors and the promotion of 
        interactions with dedicated adults; and
            ``(5) to provide financial, housing, counseling, 
        employment, education, and other appropriate support and 
        services to former foster care recipients between 18 and 21 
        years of age to complement their own efforts to achieve self-
        sufficiency and to assure that program participants recognize 
        and accept their personal responsibility for preparing for and 
        then making the transition from adolescence to adulthood.
    ``(b) Applications.--
            ``(1) In general.--A State may apply for funds from its 
        allotment under subsection (c) for a period of five consecutive 
        fiscal years by submitting to the Secretary, in writing, a plan 
        that meets the requirements of paragraph (2) and the 
        certifications required by paragraph (3) with respect to the 
        plan.
            ``(2) State plan.--A plan meets the requirements of this 
        paragraph if the plan specifies which State agency or agencies 
        will administer, supervise, or oversee the programs carried out 
        under the plan, and describes how the State intends to do the 
        following:
                    ``(A) Design and deliver programs to achieve the 
                purposes of this section.
                    ``(B) Ensure that all political subdivisions in the 
                State are served by the program, though not necessarily 
                in a uniform manner.
                    ``(C) Ensure that the programs serve children of 
                various ages and at various stages of achieving 
                independence.
                    ``(D) Involve the public and private sectors in 
                helping adolescents in foster care achieve 
                independence.
                    ``(E) Use objective criteria for determining 
                eligibility for benefits and services under the 
                programs, and for ensuring fair and equitable treatment 
                of benefit recipients.
                    ``(F) Cooperate in national evaluations of the 
                effects of the programs in achieving the purposes of 
                this section.
            ``(3) Certifications.--The certifications required by this 
        paragraph with respect to a plan are the following:
                    ``(A) A certification by the chief executive 
                officer of the State that the State will provide 
                assistance and services to children who have left 
                foster care because they have attained 18 years of age, 
                and who have not attained 21 years of age.
                    ``(B) A certification by the chief executive 
                officer of the State that not more than 30 percent of 
                the amounts paid to the State from its allotment under 
                subsection (c) for a fiscal year will be expended for 
                room or board for children who have left foster care 
                because they have attained 18 years of age, and who 
                have not attained 21 years of age.
                    ``(C) A certification by the chief executive 
                officer of the State that none of the amounts paid to 
                the State from its allotment under subsection (c) will 
                be expended for room or board for any child who has not 
                attained 18 years of age.
                    ``(D) A certification by the chief executive 
                officer of the State that the State will use training 
                funds provided under the program of Federal payments 
                for foster care and adoption assistance to provide 
                training to help foster parents, workers in group 
                homes, and case managers understand and address the 
                issues confronting adolescents preparing for 
                independent living, and will, to the extent possible, 
                coordinate such training with the independent living 
                program conducted for adolescents.
                    ``(E) A certification by the chief executive 
                officer of the State that the State has consulted 
                widely with public and private organizations in 
                developing the plan and that the State has given all 
                interested members of the public at least 30 days to 
                submit comments on the plan.
                    ``(F) A certification by the chief executive 
                officer of the State that the State will make every 
                effort to coordinate the State programs receiving funds 
                provided from an allotment made to the State under 
                subsection (c) with other Federal and State programs 
                for youth (especially transitional living youth 
                projects funded under part B of title III of the 
                Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act of 
                1974), abstinence education programs, local housing 
                programs, programs for disabled youth (especially 
                sheltered workshops), and school-to-work programs 
                offered by high schools or local workforce agencies.
                    ``(G) A certification by the chief executive 
                officer of the State that each Indian tribe in the 
                State has been consulted about the programs to be 
                carried out under the plan; that there have been 
                efforts to coordinate the programs with such tribes; 
                and that benefits and services under the programs will 
                be made available to Indian children in the State on 
                the same basis as to other children in the State.
                    ``(H) A certification by the chief executive 
                officer of the State that the State will ensure that 
                adolescents participating in the program under this 
                section participate directly in designing their own 
                program activities that prepare them for independent 
                living and that the adolescents accept personal 
                responsibility for living up to their part of the 
                program.
                    ``(I) A certification by the chief executive 
                officer of the State that the State has established and 
                will enforce standards and procedures to prevent fraud 
                and abuse in the programs carried out under the plan.
            ``(4) Approval.--The Secretary shall approve an application 
        submitted by a State pursuant to paragraph (1) for a period 
        if--
                    ``(A) the application is submitted on or before 

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