Fostering Connections Resource Center

For Youth & Families

An Introduction to the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008

You may be wondering how the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 (PL 110-351) will help children, youth and families like you who are involved with the child welfare system in the United States. This law made many important changes that will help more children leave foster care more quickly and safely to permanent families with relatives or adoptive parents when children cannot return to their parents. The law provides support for young people at age of 18 and older as they begin the transition from foster care to adulthood. In addition, Tribes will have the opportunity to receive direct federal support to strengthen services that address child welfare needs in their communities.

Sounds great, but how does the law accomplish all that?

The Fostering Connections law requires states to enact the changes through new state laws (your state's legislature) and regulatory changes (by the executive branch agency responsible for administering child welfare in your state). The federal agency that oversees child welfare services in the US, the Children's Bureau, is responsible for sending the states "guidance' or instructions about how to implement the various provisions of the law. The states are required to implement certain changes immediately, while others will roll out over the next few years. Some of the changes are optional and will be implemented only if the state chooses to do so.

The specifics

The law made significant changes to the laws and policies related to these child welfare-related issues or services (please click for more information):

  • Adoption
  • Education
  • Health
  • Kinship/Guardianship
  • Older Youth
  • Tribal