The passage on Monday of landmark federal child welfare reform legislation, The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act (H.R. 6893), will make it possible for more children in Arizona and across the nation to leave foster care quickly and safely to join permanent families.
“Arizona’s Congressional delegation can be proud of this vital legislation that will give more security to the 9,700 Arizona children and youth currently in foster care and those children who will follow in their footsteps.” said Dana Wolfe Naimark, president and chief executive officer of Children’s Action Alliance.
The legislation implements many of the core recommendations articulated four years ago by the Pew Commission on Children in Foster Care, including promoting permanent families for foster children through adoption and guardianship with relatives and extending important federal protections to American Indian children.
Additionally, this new legislation gives states federal funding to continue support up to the age of 21 for young people in foster care who are pursuing education, training, or work. It also improves the consistency of education and health care for children who are being moved from place to place while waiting for a permanent family.
“As a grandmother caring for two children who would otherwise be in foster care, I am thrilled that Congress has taken this critical step to support kinship caregivers who provide safe, nurturing homes for the children they love,” said Janice Allen, an Arizona grandmother. “Visiting our Congressional delegation in April in support of this legislation has proven to me and my grandchildren that our voices do indeed make a difference at the highest levels of government.”
Lupe Tovar, an alumna from foster care in Tucson commented, “From my own experience in foster care and from mentoring other foster youth, I know the many challenges that my younger brothers and sisters from care face when finding the support, safety and security they need to grow into successful, healthy adults in the community. It is exciting to see real action from Congress that will help improve the lives of my brothers and sisters who will be impacted by the foster care system.”
Children’s Action Alliance is a non-profit, non-partisan research, policy and advocacy organization dedicated to improving the well-being of Arizona’s children and families. For more information, visit www.azchildren.org.
The Pew Commission on Children in Foster Care, a national, nonpartisan panel established by The Pew Charitable Trusts, undertook a year-long comprehensive assessment of the nation’s foster care system and developed practical child-centered solutions to improve outcomes for foster care. See http://www.kidsarewaiting.org/