Kerkman bill on child welfare signed by governor

From left, Julie Majerus od the Dept. of Children and Families (DCF), Rep. Kerkman and her son, Evan, Alison Morrell, staff for Rep. Kerkman, Fredi Bove of DCF, Gov. Walker, DCF Secretary Eloise Anderson, and Senator Mary Lazich. /Submitted photo

Critical children and families legislation sponsored by state Rep. Samantha Kerkman was signed into law Monday by Gov. Scott Walker.

This important legislation is necessary for Wisconsin to retain $1.3 million in federal money for its child welfare program. Senate Bill 502 passed unanimously in the Senate and Assembly.

“I’m proud that this important legislation has become law,” said Kerkman (R- Randall). “Not only have we secured our full amount of federal money for child welfare, but more importantly, we have made some significant improvements to our state’s child welfare system. The provisions of SB 502 will help streamline the process by which foster children find a permanent, loving home.”

Kerkman and Sen. Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) introduced companion bills, Assembly Bill 599 and Senate Bill 502, at the request of the Department of Children and Families. This legislation allows Wisconsin to comply with federal regulations and implements proven best practices to achieve permanency for foster children. The provisions of this legislation ensure that Wisconsin remains eligible for the entire $13.1 million the federal government sends to Wisconsin to administer its child welfare program.

SB 502:

  • Allows social workers to engage in concurrent planning, a form of case management that involves simultaneous activities moving toward more than one possible permanency outcome.
  • Establishes trial reunification as a placement option. Trial reunification can occur when a child has been placed in out of home care, but is returned to the parents for a specified period of time to determine if reunification is the best option for the family.
  • Defines the guidelines for use of other planned permanent living arrangements (OPPLA) in cases in which reunification or adoption are not determined to be the best option for a child.

One Comment

  1. eileene says:

    Thank YOU Rep Kerkman!!! We appreciate all of the hard work that you do!!

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