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Resolution Regarding Reasonable Efforts and Foster Care

WHEREAS, for several years the NAACP has been receiving numerous complaints about injustice, fraud, and the destruction of families involved with Child Protective Services, foster care, and the child welfare system; and

WHEREAS, the child welfare system costs $22 billion annually with California being the largest overall participant in and consumer of child welfare system funds; and

WHEREAS, children of color are disproportionately represented in the child welfare system and African American children represent the largest segment within the child welfare system across the country; and

WHEREAS, the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 established special adoption bonuses for a county to be paid $4,000 - $6,000 for each child whose family rights are terminated and the child is adopted out of the home; and

WHEREAS, several other monetary incentives from the federal government exist which reimburse state and county child welfare systems higher amounts to remove children from homes rather than equal or additional funds to keep a family intact; and

WHEREAS, state and federal laws governing child welfare mandate that, unless specific circumstances exist, "reasonable efforts" must be attempted or made to preserve the family and discourage the removal of children from the home; and

WHEREAS, from 1996 through 2003 Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) has been billed at least $1.2 billion which was used to reimburse local and state governments for providing out-of-home foster care.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the NAACP demands that poverty should not be an indicator of abuse or neglect; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that Congress mandate that Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) be utilized to provide "reasonable efforts" to families and avoid the destruction of the family; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the NAACP urges Congress to promulgate a set of definitions and standards of what constitutes reasonable efforts that all states must comply with; and

BE IT FlNALLY RESOLVED, that Congress be called upon to pass legislation which mandates proof be submitted to jurisdictional courts that "reasonable efforts" have been offered or attempted for a family to avoid the removal of children from their home.

Derrick Lewis - Youth & College Hero

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