GREAT NEWS! The Foster Care Omnibus Bill, SB1339, patroned by Senator Reeves, passed both the House and Senate today! This now just needs to be signed by the Governor before it will be enacted into law. We also know that the bill has funding in both the Senate and House current versions of the budget.
As a refresher, this bill is a result of the JLARC report that came out in December about the foster care system in Virginia. This bill incorporates many of the recommendations from that report to improve our system to better serve our children and youth in foster care. We are grateful to see that Virginia has used this report as an opportunity to make some important and necessary improvements.
Among other things, this bill will allow Virginia Department of Social Services to assume temporary control of a local board of social services if it is failing to provide foster care services in compliance with the law or is posing a substantial risk to a child under its supervision. The law will require a confidential hotline to receive reports and complaints from foster parents and others. It also requires the Virginia Department of Social Services to establish caseload standards that limit the number of cases that can be assigned to each foster care caseworker. The full bill can be found here.
Thank you to Senator Reeves for carrying this bill, Senator Howell for carrying the corresponding budget amendment and to all of the members of the General Assembly who unanimously voted to pass this bill! We will post an update once this bill gets signed by the Governor.