Foster Care & Adoption
Congressmember Karen Bass is one of the lead legislators in Congress when it comes to our child welfare system.
During her first term, she founded the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth to protect and promote the welfare of all children in foster care. The Caucus also develops transformative legislation overhauling the nation's foster care system as well as serve as a key advocacy arm within government for the needs of foster children all across the country.
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This legislation will allow youth to access Chafee services until age 27, extend the moratorium on ‘aging out’ of foster care, and enable youth who left care during the pandemic to re-enter care. It will also ensure that any direct financial assistance received through the Chafee program cannot be used to determine eligibility for other federal benefits.
The requests in this letter were suggested, and are supported, by the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition and the National Indian Health Board (NIHB). The letter was joined by 19 of their colleagues in Congress.
“The children in our child welfare system are our responsibility,” said Rep. Bass. “Due to this pandemic, it is now more critical than ever that Tribes have access to the reliable federal funding that states enjoy to protect and preserve families. I urge my colleagues to support this important piece of legislation.”
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.
Youth enrolled in Medicaid/CHIP have access to oral health care but the use of oral care services varies by state and many foster youth fall through the cracks of care because states often treat oral health care coverage as optional. Tooth decay is the most common chronic condition among US children. The Foster Youth Dental Act seeks to improve continuity of oral health care services for current and eligible former foster youth by increasing the eligibility age, expanding the covered oral health treatment, and providing incentives for dental providers to serve eligible youth.
“Today marks one year since the World Health Organization declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic,” said Rep. Karen Bass. “Around that time, it was common to hear that covid-19 would be a great equalizer. The thought was that no one had ever been exposed to the disease before, so everyone was vulnerable. But data gathered over the past year has revealed that to be untrue. One of our most vulnerable populations, young people in the child welfare system, have been impacted disproportionately by this pandemic.
“This pandemic has exposed the most vulnerable populations in our country – especially the nearly half a million young people in our child welfare system and those who ‘age out’ of foster care every year. This bill will provide emergency temporary supports and flexibilities for older foster youth, grandparents raising grandchildren & other kinship families, home visiting for at-risk pregnant & parenting families, foster care prevention services, and other child welfare services through the end of 2021.
Youth enrolled in Medicaid/CHIP have access to oral health care but the utilization of oral care services varies by state and many foster youth fall through the cracks of care because oral health care is often treated as optional coverage. Tooth decay is the most common chronic condition among US children. The Foster Youth Dental Act seeks to improve continuity of oral health care services for current and eligible former foster youth by expanding the age requirement and providing incentives for dental providers to serve eligible youth.
While the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth and their colleagues in Congress continue to advocate for federal COVID-19 relief for transition-age foster youth, they also encourage Governors to support these young people as they manage their state responses to the pandemic.
Read the letter here or below.
Read the full letter here or below.