Home > 106th Congressional Bills > H.R. 4504 (rfs) To make technical amendments to the Higher Education Act of 1965. [Referred in Senate] ...

H.R. 4504 (rfs) To make technical amendments to the Higher Education Act of 1965. [Referred in Senate] ...


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108th CONGRESS
  2d Session
                                H. R. 4504

To improve protections for children and to hold States accountable for 
 the orderly and timely placement of children across State lines, and 
                          for other purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                              June 3, 2004

Mr. DeLay (for himself, Mr. Herger, Mr. Cramer, Ms. Pryce of Ohio, Mrs. 
Johnson of Connecticut, Mr. Camp, Mr. Lewis of Kentucky, Mr. Tom Davis 
 of Virginia, Mr. Cardoza, Mr. Murphy, and Ms. Norton) introduced the 
 following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Ways and Means

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
To improve protections for children and to hold States accountable for 
 the orderly and timely placement of children across State lines, 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.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Orderly and Timely Interstate 
Placement of Foster Children Act of 2004''.

SEC. 2. SENSE OF THE CONGRESS.

    (a) Finding.--The Congress finds that the Interstate Compact on the 
Placement of Children (ICPC) was drafted more than 40 years ago, is 
outdated, and is a barrier to the timely placement of children across 
State lines.
    (b) Sense of the Congress.--It is the sense of the Congress that 
the States should expeditiously revise the ICPC to better serve the 
interests of children and reduce unnecessary work, and that the 
revision should include--
            (1) limiting its applicability to children in foster care 
        under the responsibility of a State, except those seeking 
        placement in a residential facility primarily to access 
        clinical mental health services; and
            (2) providing for deadlines for the completion and approval 
        of home studies as set forth in section 4.

SEC. 3. ORDERLY AND TIMELY PROCESS FOR INTERSTATE PLACEMENT OF 
              CHILDREN.

    Section 471(a) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 671(a)) is 
amended--
            (1) by striking ``and'' at the end of paragraph (23);
            (2) by striking the period at the end of paragraph (24) and 
        inserting ``; and''; and
            (3) by adding at the end the following:
            ``(25) provide that the State shall have in effect 
        procedures for the orderly and timely interstate placement of 
        children; and procedures implemented in accordance with an 
        interstate compact approved by the Secretary, if incorporating 
        with the procedures prescribed by paragraph (26), shall be 
        considered to satisfy the requirement of this paragraph.''.

SEC. 4. HOME STUDIES.

    (a) Orderly Process.--
            (1) In general.--Section 471(a) of the Social Security Act 
        (42 U.S.C. 671(a)) is further amended--
                    (A) by striking ``and'' at the end of paragraph 
                (24);
                    (B) by striking the period at the end of paragraph 
                (25) and inserting ``; and''; and
                    (C) by adding at the end the following:
            ``(26) provides that--
                    ``(A) within 60 days after the State receives from 
                another State a request to conduct a study of a home 
                environment for purposes of assessing the 
                appropriateness of placing a child in the home, the 
                State shall, directly or by contract--
                            ``(i) conduct and complete the study; and
                            ``(ii) return to the other State a report 
                        on the results of the study, which shall 
                        address the extent to which placement in the 
                        home would meet the needs of the child;
                    ``(B) the State shall treat any report described in 
                subparagraph (A) that is received from another State 
                (or from a private agency under contract with another 
                State) as meeting any requirements imposed by the State 
                for the completion of a home study before placing a 
                child in the home, unless, within 7 days after receipt 
                of the report, the State determines, based on grounds 
                that are specific to the content of the report, that 
                making a decision in reliance on the report would be 
                contrary to the welfare of the child; and
                    ``(C) the State shall not impose any restriction on 
                the ability of a State agency administering, or 
                supervising the administration of, a State program 
                operated under a State plan approved under this part to 
                contract with a private agency for the conduct of a 
                home study described in subparagraph (A). ''.
            (2) Sense of the congress.--It is the sense of the Congress 
        that each State should--
                    (A) use private agencies to conduct home studies 
                when doing so is necessary to meet the requirements of 
                section 471(a)(26) of the Social Security Act; and
                    (B) give full faith and credit to any home study 
                report completed by any other State with respect to the 
                placement of a child in foster care or for adoption.
    (b) Timely Interstate Home Study Incentive Payments.--Part E of 
title IV of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 670-679b) is amended by 
inserting after section 473A the following:

``SEC. 473B. TIMELY INTERSTATE HOME STUDY INCENTIVE PAYMENTS.

    ``(a) Grant Authority.--The Secretary shall make a grant to each 
State that is a home study incentive-eligible State for a fiscal year 
in an amount equal to the timely interstate home study incentive 
payment payable to the State under this section for the fiscal year, 
which shall be payable in the immediately succeeding fiscal year.
    ``(b) Home Study Incentive-Eligible State.--A State is a home study 
incentive-eligible State for a fiscal year if--
            ``(1) the State has a plan approved under this part for the 
        fiscal year;
            ``(2) the State is in compliance with subsection (c) for 
        the fiscal year; and
            ``(3) based on data submitted and verified pursuant to 
        subsection (c), the State has completed a timely interstate 
        home study during the fiscal year.
    ``(c) Data Requirements.--
            ``(1) In general.--A State is in compliance with this 
        subsection for a fiscal year if the State has provided to the 
        Secretary a written report, covering the preceding fiscal year, 
        that specifies--
                    ``(A) the total number of interstate home studies 
                requested by the State with respect to children in 
                foster care under the responsibility of the State, and 
                with respect to each such study, the identity of the 
                other State involved; and
                    ``(B) the total number of timely interstate home 
                studies completed by the State with respect to children 
                in foster care under the responsibility of other 
                States, and with respect to each such study, the 
                identity of the other State involved.
            ``(2) Verification of data.--In determining the number of 
        timely interstate home studies to be attributed to a State 
        under this section, the Secretary shall check the data provided 
        by the State under paragraph (1) against complementary data so 
        provided by other States.
    ``(d) Timely Interstate Home Study Incentive Payments.--
            ``(1) In general.--Except as provided in paragraph (2) of 
        this subsection, the timely interstate home study incentive 
        payment payable to a State for a fiscal year shall be $1,000, 
        multiplied by the number of timely interstate home studies 
        attributed to the State under this section during the fiscal 
        year.
            ``(2) Pro rata adjustment if insufficient funds 
        available.--If the total amount of timely interstate home study 
        incentive payments otherwise payable under this section for a 
        fiscal year exceeds the total of the amounts made available 
        pursuant to subsection (h) for the fiscal year, the amount of 
        each such otherwise payable incentive payment shall be reduced 
        by a percentage equal to--
                    ``(A) the total of the amounts so made available; 
                divided by
                    ``(B) the total of such otherwise payable incentive 
                payments.
    ``(e) 2-Year Availability of Incentive Payments.--Payments to a 
State under this section in a fiscal year shall remain available for 
use by the State through the end of the next fiscal year.
    ``(f) Limitations on Use of Incentive Payments.--A State shall not 
expend an amount paid to the State under this section except to provide 
to children or families any service (including post-adoption services) 
that may be provided under part B or E. Amounts expended by a State in 
accordance with the preceding sentence shall be disregarded in 
determining State expenditures for purposes of Federal matching 
payments under sections 423, 434, and 474.
    ``(g) Definitions.--In this section:
            ``(1) Home study.--The term `home study' means a study of a 
        home environment, conducted in accordance with applicable 
        requirements of the State in which the home is located, for the 
        purpose of assessing whether placement of a child in the home 
        would be appropriate for the child.
            ``(2) Interstate home study.--The term `interstate home 
        study' means a home study conducted by a State at the request 
        of another State, to facilitate an adoptive or relative 
        placement in the State.
            ``(3) Timely interstate home study.--The term `timely 
        interstate home study' means an interstate home study completed 
        by a State if the State provides to the State that requested 
        the study, within 30 days after receipt of the request, a 
        report on the results of the study.
    ``(h) Limitations on Authorization of Appropriations.--
            ``(1) In general.--For grants under subsection (a), there 
        are authorized to be appropriated to the Secretary $10,000,000 
        for fiscal year 2005.
            ``(2) Availability.--Amounts appropriated under paragraph 
        (1) are authorized to remain available until expended.''.
    (c) Repealer.--Effective October 1, 2008, section 473B of the 
Social Security Act is repealed.

SEC. 5. REQUIREMENT TO CHECK CHILD ABUSE REGISTRIES; OPT-OUT 
              ELIMINATED.

    Section 471(a)(20) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 
671(a)(20)) is amended--
            (1) in subparagraph (A), by striking ``unless an election 
        provided for in subparagraph (B) is made with respect to the 
        State,''; and
            (2) by striking subparagraph (B) and inserting the 
        following:
                    ``(B) provides that the State shall--
                            ``(i) check any child abuse and neglect 
                        registry maintained by the State for 
                        information on any prospective foster or 
                        adoptive parent and on any other adult living 
                        in the home of such a prospective parent, and 
                        request any other State in which any such 
                        prospective parent or other adult has resided 
                        in the preceding 5 years, to enable the State 
                        to check any child abuse and neglect registry 
                        maintained by such other State for such 
                        information, before the prospective foster or 
                        adoptive parent may be finally approved for 
                        placement of a child, regardless of whether 
                        foster care maintenance payments or adoption 
                        assistance payments are to be made on behalf of 
                        the child under the State plan under this part;
                            ``(ii) comply with any request described in 
                        clause (i) that is received from another State; 
                        and
                            ``(iii) have in place safeguards to prevent 
                        the unauthorized disclosure of information in 
                        any child abuse and neglect registry maintained 
                        by the State, and to prevent any such 
                        information obtained pursuant to this 
                        subparagraph from being used for a purpose 
                        other than the conducting of background checks 
                        in foster or adoptive placement cases;''.

SEC. 6. COURTS ALLOWED ACCESS TO THE FEDERAL PARENT LOCATOR SERVICE TO 
              LOCATE PARENTS IN FOSTER CARE OR ADOPTIVE PLACEMENT 
              CASES.

    Section 453(c) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 653(c)) is 
amended--
            (1) by striking ``and'' at the end of paragraph (3);
            (2) by striking the period and inserting ``; and''; and
            (3) by adding at the end the following:
            ``(5) any court which has authority with respect to the 
        placement of a child in foster care or for adoption, but only 
        for the purpose of locating a parent of the child.''.

SEC. 7. CASEWORKER VISITS.

    (a) Purchase of Services in Interstate Placement Cases.--Section 
475(5)(A)(ii) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 675(5)(A)(ii)) is 
amended by striking ``or of the State in which the child has been 
placed'' and inserting ``of the State in which the child has been 
placed, or of a private agency under contract with either such State''.
    (b) Increased Visits.--Section 475(5)(A)(ii) of such Act (42 U.S.C. 
675(5)(A)(ii)) is amended by striking ``12'' and inserting ``6''.

SEC. 8. HEALTH AND EDUCATION RECORDS.

    Section 475 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 675) is amended--
            (1) in paragraph (1)(C)--
                    (A) by striking ``To the extent available and 
                accessible, the'' and inserting ``The''; and
                    (B) by inserting ``the most recent information 
                available regarding'' after ``including''; and
            (2) in paragraph (5)(D)--
                    (A) by inserting ``a copy of the record is'' before 
                ``supplied''; and
                    (B) by inserting ``, and is supplied to the child 
                at the time the child leaves foster care if the child 
                is leaving foster care by reason of having attained the 
                age of majority under State law'' before the semicolon.

SEC. 9. RIGHT TO BE HEARD IN FOSTER CARE PROCEEDINGS.

    (a) In General.--Section 475(5)(G) of the Social Security Act (42 
U.S.C. 675(5)(G)) is amended--
            (1) by striking ``an opportunity'' and inserting ``a 
        right'';
            (2) by striking ``and opportunity'' and inserting ``and 

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