House Committee Hears Testimony on Moul’s Child Welfare Bills

HARRISBURG – Rep. Dan Moul (R-Adams/Franklin), vice chairman of the House Children and Youth Committee, testified before that committee today on two child welfare bills he is sponsoring that will improve outcomes for displaced children being served by county Children and Youth services agencies.

House Bill 2499 would require county social service agencies or their contracted providers to conduct on-going efforts to locate relatives of children who have been removed from their homes and/or are accepted for services by the county Children and Youth Agency.  Once relatives of the displaced children have been identified, attempts will be made to engage those family members to work with child welfare officials in the planning and delivery of services for the child and, potentially, the placement of the child.

“It is always better for the child to be placed in the home of a loving relative,” said Moul.  “I firmly believe that if certain practices are properly implemented, we can build networks of support around the children and families who become involved with the child welfare system.  These networks of support not only have the potential to create better, more stable outcomes for children, but they can also help taxpayers avoid bearing the burden of costly, long-term placements for some children.

“My bill will require that counties engage in family finding for a child, when a child is accepted for services by the county Children and Youth Agency,” said Moul.  “Family finding will occur at least annually, and can be discontinued only if the child’s involvement with the agency is terminated, or if family finding no longer serves the best interest or is a safety threat to the child.”

Moul also testified on House Bill 2500, which will phase-in a requirement that county agencies offer all families receiving Children and Youth services the opportunity to engage in family conferencing and planning sessions.  Family conferencing is voluntary and brings together key members of a child’s support network to determine how they will work together to meet the needs of the child.  It serves to strengthen the family and corrects problems that contributed to the child becoming involved with a Children and Youth Agency.
“When children must be removed from their homes, it is often a very traumatic experience for the child, particularly when they are placed in institutions,” said Moul.  “This legislation will help to ensure that, when possible, these children will be placed in the care of loving family members who have an interest in them and their well-being and can provide some stability.”

State Representative Dan Moul
91st District, Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Donna Pinkham

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