U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.) praised the passage of the Uninterrupted Scholars Act (USA), which gives child welfare workers in Missouri and across America the tools they need to make school transitions smoother for children in foster care.
Blunt cosponsored the bipartisan legislation with U.S. Senators Mary L. Landrieu (La.) and Chuck Grassley (Iowa). The companion bill -- which was cosponsored by U.S. Representatives Karen Bass (Calif.), Michele Bachmann (Minn.), and Jim McDermott (Wash.) -- unanimously passed the U.S. House of Representatives earlier this week.
"This bill is an important step to help improve educational opportunities for children who are in foster care by streamlining access to their school records," said Blunt. " As a former educator, I know that investing in students' successes is one of the greatest investments that we can make, which is why I will continue fighting for our children's future in Missouri and nationwide. I hope the president will sign this bill into law as soon as possible."
Children and youth in foster care are among the most educationally at risk nationwide. By making changes to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), this legislation improves educational opportunities by allowing child welfare agencies access to the education records of children within their care, while also preserving the educational privacy rights granted to students under current federal law. As a result, the bill will help ensure children in foster care are immediately enrolled in school and have access to the resources to succeed academically.
Last year, Blunt hosted R.J. Sloke as a summer intern in his Washington, D.C. office as part of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute's Foster Youth Internship Program. As a young man, Sloke faced challenges retaining his academic credits after spending years in different schools while in foster care. Today, Sloke is an Army Reservist, attended Mineral Area College in Park Hills, Mo., and is the father to a young daughter of his own.