A new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation examines several aspects of the foster care system in North Carolina. Photo: Istock/Getty Images
Members of the House Health committee advanced a bill Tuesday that attempts to help children in North Carolina’s foster care system, and those at risk of entering it.
“We have to do better than this,” said Rep. Kristin Baker (R-Cabarrus), one of the primary sponsors of House Bill 860.
Baker said her bill is focused on “intervention and prevention;” that is, intervening to help kids already in the foster system, and preventing those at risk of entering it. The proposal would do that by directing the Department of Health and Human Services to create, and establish requirements for, a “trauma-informed standardized assessment” for children in foster care.
“It’s meeting the child where they are, understanding how trauma has informed their current responses, and then utilizing that to go forward with them,” said Baker, who is also an M.D.
The assessment would be implemented statewide. It would be used in both foster care settings and before children enter the system. Children between ages 4 and 17 would need to be assessed within 10 days of being referred; individuals between ages 18 and 21 could be assessed, as well.
Each child on a Medicaid children and families specialty plan would also be assessed, per the bill.
The proposal also would direct the Division of Health Benefits to implement “in-lieu-of” services under the Medicaid state plan to address gaps in care of children receiving foster care services. That plan would have to identify best practices that support children in foster care being reunited with their family in a timely manner, and identifying short-term residential treatment options that serve children with serious needs that divert them from higher level placement options.
Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.