H.R.2604 - Help Separated Families Act of 2013113th Congress (2013-2014)
Summary: H.R.2604 — 113th Congress (2013-2014)
Introduced in House (06/28/2013)
Help Separated Families Act of 2013 - Amends part E (Foster Care and Adoption Assistance) of title IV of the Social Security Act to: (1) require state child protection standards to ensure that the immigration status alone of a parent, legal guardian, or relative shall not disqualify the parent, legal guardian, or relative from being a placement for a child; and (2) require the state procedures for criminal records checks to require the state to accept foreign identification documents as sufficient identification for purposes of initiating a criminal records check or a fingerprint-based check.
Requires the state plan for foster care and adoption assistance to notify relatives seeking placement of a child that their immigration status will not be questioned, except to the extent necessary in determining eligibility for relevant services or programs.
Includes as a compelling reason for a state not to file for termination of parental rights in foster care cases the removal of an otherwise fit and willing parent from the United States or the parent's involvement in an immigration proceeding (including detention). Requires a state (or local agency), before filing to terminate parental rights, to make reasonable efforts to notify any parent of the child who has been removed from the United States, and any adult relative of the child, including through the diplomatic or consular offices of the country to which the parent was removed, and to reunify the child with any such parent or relative.
Directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to develop and disseminate to state, county, and local child welfare agencies best practice guidance on specified activities that takes into account the best interest of the child, including a preference for family unity whenever appropriate.
Requires a state plan for foster care and adoption assistance to require the state to: (1) ensure that the case manager for a separated child is capable of communicating in the native language of the child and the family, or that an interpreter is provided at no cost; (2) coordinate with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to make every effort to ensure that parents who wish for their child to accompany them to their country of origin are given adequate time and assistance to obtain a passport, visa, and all relevant documents and other information; and (3) preserve the privacy and confidentiality of certain information in specified ways.