Thursday, August 2, 2007

Action Needed on Guardianship Legislation

A new report from the Government Accountability Office confirms that children of color are over-represented in care and highlights that the federal government needs to act to address this disparity.

As the leaders of the House Ways and Means Committee note in a press release, the report recommends subsidized guardianship as one solution to the problem since so many foster children of color are in the care of relatives. Congressman Charles Rangel explains, “Every foster child dreams of a permanent home. For far too many African American children, this is a dream deferred. We need to work to reduce barriers to permanency for all foster children, but such an effort is particularly necessary for Black children. The GAO report highlights several reforms that might make a positive difference, including providing federal assistance for relatives providing permanent homes for foster children."

The time for action is now. States currently get federal support for foster care and adoption but not for guardianship. Subsidized guardianship is an important permanency option because it allows children and youth to have a permanent, legal family when termination of parental rights is not possible or is not the right option for a particular family.

About 20,000 children have lived for a year or more with relatives in foster care, but they cannot leave the system because they do not have any other options. A court has ruled that reunification with the parents or adoption is not feasible. The caregivers often cannot afford to give up the financial assistance that helps them meet these children’s needs. Subsidized guardianship would provide them with permanence now!

NACAC is asking you to contact your U.S. senators and your representative in support of subsidized guardianship. There are two pending bills that would make subsidized guardianship a reality, and provide other necessary support to kinship caregivers. Please contact your represe today to ask them to sign on as co-sponsors of the Kinship Caregiver Support Act (Senate Bill 661 or House Resolution 2188).

Take Action Today!

CALL: A call is best, and all members of Congress can be reached by calling 202-224-3121.

WRITE: Mailing addresses for senators are: The Honorable [Senator’s name], U.S. Senate, Washington, DC 20510. For representatives, address your letter to: The Honorable [Representative’s name], U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, DC 20515.

To find your Representative’s direct address, phone number, or e-mail, visit For Senators, go to

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