The new proposed regulations, which the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services collected public comment on for several months this summer and fall, don’t include a square-footage requirement or a minimum number of bedrooms — rules that many states have enforced for years. Instead, they talk about “sleeping spaces” that apartment-dwelling foster families might carve out of their living rooms.
The suggested standards also propose that states not require foster parents to own a car, as long as they have access to reliable public transportation. That change would make it easier for city residents to become foster parents.
Many of the suggested rules are more flexible, and will enable more foster families to get licensed while protecting the safety and well-being of children who’ve already been traumatized, said Ana Beltran, special adviser for Generations United, a Washington-D.C. based advocacy and research group.
“Standards will be more focused on common-sense safety requirements, rather than standards based on some suburban, middle-class ideal of a home, that’s not necessarily the best home for a child,” said Beltran, whose group suggested some of the changes to HHS…