Friday, February 15, 2008

Key House Leader Introduces Broad Child Welfare Reform Bill

On February 14, Representative Jim McDermott (D-WA), chairman of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support (which has jurisdiction over the nation’s child welfare system) introduced The Invest in KIDS Act, which seeks the first comprehensive reform of the U.S. child welfare system in nearly 30 years.

“Every American kid deserves a safe home and a secure life, and in the case of vulnerable children, it is up to us to make sure that happens,” McDermott said.

The legislation (HR 5466) would:

• provide additional funding to help states in their efforts to strengthen families and protect vulnerable children;
• make all foster children eligible for assistance for the first time (only 43% of foster children received federal aid in 2006);
• provide assistance to states to improve and retain their child welfare workforce;
• eliminate the aging out of foster kids at age 18 by extending support to the age of 21; and,
• provide financial support to grandparents and other relatives who want to care for foster children.

These critical changes would provided needed support that help vulnerable children have permanent families, and ensure that those families have the support they need.

Children can't wait. The time for reform is now.

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