Release: February 28, 2012
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Jim McDermott (D-WA) formally launched the bipartisan Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth, which he will serve as the co-chair of along with Reps. Karen Bass (D-CA), Tom Marino (R-PA) and Michele Bachmann (R-MN). With more than 420,000 youth currently in our nation’s foster care system, the Caucus is committed to protecting and promoting the welfare of all children and youth in the system.
At today’s press conference for the official launch of the Caucus, Congressman McDermott stated, “This is Congress at its best, dealing on a bipartisan basis with a crucial issue. There are a lot of things here that are not going very well because of the partisanship, but the fact that you have Republicans and Democrats involved in this is a statement that children are really above the politics that goes on in this county. And, they ought to be.”
The Caucus has organized a listening and learning tour, with a future stop planned in the Seattle, to better understand the challenges facing all foster youth and develop policy recommendations for improving child welfare outcomes.
The launch of the Caucus follows McDermott’s consistent efforts to improve the nation’s child welfare programs and ensure that foster children are provided with the same services that all children need to succeed – a safe home, a caring family, a good education and access to health care. McDermott, who is a trained child psychiatrist, authored the bipartisan “Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act,” which was signed into law in 2008. The landmark law made important changes intended to promote safe placement of foster children with permanent families and improved outcomes for children in foster care.
“The Fostering Connections law was broadly designed to support new approaches to better meet the needs of foster children as they navigate their way to adulthood,” McDermott added.“The launching of the Foster Youth Caucus is especially important because it will help us focus on innovative programs that are succeeding in supporting children and their families in the current economic climate. As policymakers, we need to know what is and isn’t working so we can better help states and localities provide the right services to this vulnerable population."
Dr. William Bell, President and CEO of the Seattle-based Casey Family Programs participated in today’s launch of the Foster Youth Caucus. Dr. Bell provided valuable testimony to McDermott as he authored the Fostering Connections law. At the press conference today, he praised the Caucus’ bipartisan nature and continued focus on seeking to improve the lives of foster children.
Follow McDermott on Twitter: @RepJimMcDermott
McDermott Launches Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth
Release: February 28, 2012