One of the smartest things we can do is invest in the future of our children, and that starts by making sure each one has a loving and permanent family. That’s why I’m proud to have secured many priorities to protect and support vulnerable children and foster youth at home and abroad in the latest government funding bill.
This bill contains priorities I’ve been working on during the last year including: streamlining scholarship information for foster youth, strengthening domestic adoption family recruitment, urging Guatemala to finalize stalled adoptions and reduce redundancy while improving the welfare of children internationally.
As you know, adoption is an issue near and dear to my heart and I will continue to do everything I can to ensure every child has a permanent and loving family. Keep reading below to learn more about the important priories and funding I secured to help vulnerable children in this year's bill to fund the government.
Urge completion of transitional adoptions in Guatemala: After Guatemala suspended international adoptions in 2007, hundreds of children in the process of being adopted were denied homes. For more than six years, the children involved have languished in institutions, while loving families have been prohibited from providing them with a nurturing home. To urge Guatemala to resolve this, we’ve suspended funding for the Guatemalan armed forces until we can verify that open adoption cases are resolved. I hope to send the message that these children cannot wait any longer to be connected with the loving families that they deserve
Enable more foster youth to find college scholarships: There are a number of barriers that all children face to earn a college degree, including paying for that degree. Congress has created specific scholarship opportunities for former foster children, but too many of these youth have no idea that such resources exist. A provision I authored will add a box on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to give students the ability to indicate that they are foster youth. Now, information on scholarships and grants will be shared directly with them.
Secured $4 million to support child-recruitment programs: Many states are unable to focus on recruiting adoptive families for children, particularly those who are considered hard to place because of age, disability or other barriers. In this bill, I created a new pilot grant to enable states to initiate intensive and exhaustive child-focused recruitment programs. These programs would focus on moving foster youth eligible for adoption into permanent families at a higher rate than traditional recruitment strategies.
Please contact Sen. Landrieu at the office nearest you.