Sunday, June 10, 2007

No funds for boys from LA County living in Canada with a relative

SF: Court nixes foster care payments to children in other countries.
CBS: San Francisco, June 7, 2007.

The California Supreme Court ruled in San Francisco today that the state can't give foster care funds to California children who are being cared for in another country.

The court said unanimously that Congress didn't intend funds to be sent outside the United States when it set up a foster care component of the Aid to Families with Dependent Children welfare program.

The program is jointly funded by federal, state and local governments.

The court issued its ruling in the case of two Los Angeles County boys, now ages 9 and 10, who were sent by the county and a juvenile court judge to live with their grandmother in Saskatchewan, Canada, because their mother had drug problems and could not care for them.

A court-appointed lawyer for the children sought to have foster care funding sent to the grandmother, who is a member of a tribal group called Ahtahkakoop First Nation and lives on a tribal reserve.

The California high court said that federal laws establishing the foster care program require that a foster care home must be licensed by the state in which it is situated and be subject to state supervision.

Justice Ming Chin wrote that Congress's failure to provide rules for foreign placements indicates that "children placed in foreign care in other countries are simply not eligible for federal financial participation."

The court overturned a ruling in which a state appeals court said juvenile court judges had the power to order such payments in another country if it is in the best interests of the children.


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