Tuesday, September 13, 2005
Schiff Introduces Foster Care Bill
WASHINGTON, DC - Today Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA) introduced the "Fostering our Future Act," a bill that will strengthen America's foster care system.
A 2004 Pew Commission report found that nearly 20 percent of the 500,000 children in foster care wait over 5 years for a safe, permanent family. The doubling of the foster care population since the early 1980s has created enormous child welfare caseloads and taxed the capacity of the system. The result is a growing population that is more likely to be homeless and unemployed throughout their lives.
This legislation includes provisions that support foster care court systems while demanding accountability. Specifically, the bill:
- Improves the capability to analyze caseloads and track results
- Funds training programs for court personal, attorneys and child welfare advocates
- Provides loan forgiveness to full-time dependency attorneys who agree to remain in their jobs for at least three years
- Calls for a GAO study to compare state procedures and establish best practices
"This nation has an obligation to our most vulnerable children that we are not meeting," said Schiff. "Substantial reforms of the foster care system have been recommended by the Pew Commission and Congress would be wise to take those up."
"I applaud Congressman Schiff's efforts to improve our nation's foster care system," said Miriam Krinsky, Executive Director of the Children's Law Center of Los Angeles. "Too many children languish needlessly in foster care. This bill provides desperately needed support for the legal process and other critical components of our child welfare safety net."
In the Senate the "We Care Kids Act" (S. 1679) was introduced by Senators Mike DeWine and John Rockefeller and contains provisions similar to Schiff's bill.
Congressman Schiff has introduced a "Kids First" agenda of initiatives to improve education, safety, and health care for our children. He is the co-founder of the Democratic Study Group on National Security and a member of both the House Judiciary and International Relations committees. He represents California's 29th Congressional District, which includes the communities of Alhambra, Altadena, Burbank, East Pasadena, East San Gabriel, Glendale, Monterey Park, Pasadena, San Gabriel, South Pasadena and Temple City.