More than 5,500 children in foster care in Pennsylvania are age 14 or older, and House Bill 1866 outlines the steps county child-welfare agencies must take to help them make a smooth transition to adulthood with support from caregivers or family members.
Kari King, president and CEO of Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, said it is important to spell out the details.
“And it really tries to make much clearer what those county offices need to do to better support these youths,” King explained. “Some of those provisions are working with the youth on what’s called a permanency plan. So, really working with that child to say, you know, ‘What are your goals? What do you want to see as kind of the outcome?’ “
The bill passed in October with bipartisan support. After the governor signs the measure, it will take effect in 60 days. King added the bill was introduced by state Rep. Karen Boback, R-Luzerne County. It requires counties do more to improve their data collection and document family-finding efforts, increase teens’ opportunities for permanency and help them maintain supportive adult connections.