Bacon, Bass, Langevin and Mullin Introduce Legislation to Offer Stability to Foster Youth
Washington, July 1, 2021
Washington, DC - Reps. Don Bacon (NE-02) Karen Bass (CA-37), Jim Langevin (RI-2) and Markwayne Mullin (OK-02) today introduced the Foster Care Stabilization Act, which seeks to improve pre-placement services for children placed in foster care, especially those in emergency situations that may lack basic supplies, like clothing or other incidentals. All four representatives are co-chairs of the bipartisan Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth.
Reports have shown that some social workers are placing children in homes out of desperation so those children will not end up sleeping in the child welfare offices. Unfortunately, some children also end up in shelters for a long period of time. For those children in the foster care system, there is an urgent need for a stronger quality of care. For example, additional quality clothing, food, and the necessary equipment to sleep and live day-to-day are needed in systems. It is important to ensure all children needing placement services have access to these items to reduce trauma in the younger generation.
The Foster Care Stabilization Act ensures children in the foster care system have their basic needs and supplies. The bill authorizes $3,000,000 total for the HHS to award three demonstration grants for three years to foster care stabilization agencies. Funding would specifically be used to hire more personnel necessary to provide emergency relief to foster care youth. Additionally, it would be used to purchase clothing and other necessities a foster youth would need. It would support and prevent occurrences of child abuse and neglect and promote any other emergency assistance needed for safety and self-sufficiency of foster youth. It is modeled after a successful program in Nebraska between the Foster CARE Closet and NE DHHS, who created the Intake CARE Center.
“Children who are sent into the foster care system do not get to make their own choice and it’s unfortunate there are so many children who have gone to unstable homes,” said Rep. Bacon. “The Foster Care Stabilization Act will help to reduce trauma that children experience in the foster care system because it would help them receive daily needs such as clothing, food, and safety—things that many of us take for granted but mean so much to a child.”
“Children most often enter foster care with no warning and only the clothes they are wearing. When a child is placed in the child welfare system, they become our responsibility. We need to act like it,” said Rep. Bass. “The Foster Care Stabilization Act would ensure that a child removed from their home has essential items of their own and trained staff available to support them. I urge my colleagues to support this bipartisan bill.”
“Our foster care system is woefully under resourced, which is causing children to be placed in homes out of desperation, without enough clothes or supplies,” said Rep. Langevin. “Every single one of the 400,000 kids living in foster care today deserve a loving, permanent home, with plenty of clothing and supplies — a challenging goal the COVID-19 pandemic has only made more difficult. Our bill seeks to improve pre-placement services for kids in foster care by providing emergency relief to ensure they have the necessary clothes, food, and support.”
“Too often, children who enter the foster care system don’t have access to basic necessities like food and clothing, let alone the support systems they need,” said Rep. Mullin. “I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing this legislation that will help make sure these children have the resources they need and set them up for success in the future.”
“As a former foster child, adopted youth, foster parent and now adoptive parent I have seen how crucially important the first hours of the foster care experience can affect the well-being and outcomes of traumatized children,” said Leigh Esau with the Foster Care Closet. “I thank Rep. Bacon and the Congressional Foster Care Caucus for introducing this legislation because it is a wise investment that will change outcomes for kids, across the nation. It gives kids hope, dignity and safety.”