Text: H.R.4864 — 116th Congress (2019-2020)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (10/28/2019)

 
[Congressional Bills 116th Congress]
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[H.R. 4864 Introduced in House (IH)]

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116th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                H. R. 4864

     To develop and implement policies to advance early childhood 
  development, to provide assistance for orphans and other vulnerable 
       children in developing countries, and for other purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                            October 28, 2019

Mr. Castro of Texas (for himself, Mr. Fitzpatrick, Mrs. Watson Coleman, 
 Mr. Cisneros, and Ms. Moore) introduced the following bill; which was 
              referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
     To develop and implement policies to advance early childhood 
  development, to provide assistance for orphans and other vulnerable 
       children in developing countries, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Global Child Thrive Act of 2019''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    Congress finds the following:
            (1) According to a 2019 report from the United Nations 
        Inter-Agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation entitled 
        ``Levels & Trends in Child Mortality'', the total number of 
        deaths among children younger than 15 years of age dropped by 
        56 percent between 1990 and 2018, from approximately 14,200,000 
        to approximately 6,200,000.
            (2) According to a 2016 article published in The Lancet 
        entitled ``Early childhood development: the foundation of 
        sustainable development''--
                    (A) an estimated 250,000,000 children in low-income 
                and middle-income countries suffer suboptimal 
                development due to poverty and stunting alone; and
                    (B) children who do not meet developmental 
                milestones are expected to lose about 25 percent of 
                their average yearly income once they become adults.
            (3) According to a report from the United Nations 
        Children's Fund (UNICEF), entitled ``The State of the World's 
        Children 2016: A fair chance for every child'', nearly 
        250,000,000 of the world's 650,000,000 primary school age 
        children do not master basic literacy and numeracy.
            (4) According to a 2018 report from the World Health 
        Organization entitled ``Nurturing Care for early childhood 
        development''--
                    (A) the environment in which a child grows has a 
                profound impact on future learning, behavior, and 
                health; and
                    (B) a country's economic diversity and growth could 
                be improved by investment in early childhood 
                development.
            (5) According to a 2017 UNICEF report entitled ``UNICEF's 
        Programme Guidance for Early Childhood Development'', nurturing 
        care, which is key to early childhood development, consists of 
        a core set of interrelated components, including--
                    (A) behaviors, attitudes, and knowledge about 
                caregiving, including health, hygiene care, and 
                feeding;
                    (B) stimulation, such as talking, singing, and 
                playing;
                    (C) responsiveness, such as early bonding, secure 
                attachment, trust, and sensitive communication; and
                    (D) safety, including routines, protection from 
                violence, abuse, neglect, harm, and environmental 
                pollution.
            (6) According to a 2016 report published in The Lancet 
        entitled ``Advancing Early Childhood Development: From Science 
        to Scale''--
                    (A) nurturing care from parents, relatives, and 
                other caregivers and services are formative experiences 
                for young children;
                    (B) programs promoting nurturing care can improve 
                early childhood development outcomes; and
                    (C) children who do not receive nurturing care 
                display negative development outcomes, such as greater 
                sensitivity to the effects of stress or behavioral 
                problems, especially children who do not receive 
                nurturing care before their second birthday.
            (7) According to the ``United States Government Action Plan 
        on Children in Adversity, A Framework for International 
        Assistance: 2012-2017'', children who live without protective 
        family care, in abusive households, on the streets, or in 
        institutions, or who are trafficked, are participating in armed 
        groups, or are being exploited for their labor are more likely 
        to be exposed to violence, exploitation, abuse, and neglect.
            (8) According to a 2017 UNICEF report entitled ``Early 
        Moments Matter for every child'', violence, abuse, neglect, and 
        traumatic experiences produce toxic stress that limits neural 
        connectivity in developing brains.
            (9) According to a 2014 working paper from the National 
        Scientific Council on the Developing Child at Harvard 
        University entitled ``Excessive Stress Disrupts the 
        Architecture of the Developing Brain''--
                    (A) situations that produce toxic stress increase 
                the production of cortisol in a child's brain, which 
                disrupts its healthy development; and
                    (B) chronic stress can potentially affect the 
                expression of genes that regulate the stress response 
                across the life course.
            (10) According to a 2018 article in the North Carolina 
        Medical Journal entitled ``Adverse Childhood Experiences 
        (ACEs): An Important Element of a Comprehensive Approach to the 
        Opioid Crisis'', adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are 
        traumatic or stressful experiences, including emotional, 
        physical, or sexual abuse, domestic violence, household 
        substance abuse, household mental illness, parental separation 
        or divorce, and the incarceration of a household family member.
            (11) According to a 2016 report in Development and 
        Psychopathology entitled ``Childhood Adversity and Epigenetic 
        Regulation of Glucocorticoid Signaling Genes: Associations in 
        Children and Adults''--
                    (A) children and adults are at risk of developing 
                psychiatric disorders and other medical conditions if 
                they have had an adverse childhood experience (ACE); 
                and
                    (B) adults who have had numerous ACEs die nearly 20 
                years earlier, on average, than adults who have not had 
                numerous ACEs.

SEC. 3. SENSE OF CONGRESS.

    It is the sense of Congress that--
            (1) it is time to build on the reduction in preventable 
        child deaths worldwide achieved by focusing new efforts and 
        attention on--
                    (A) saving children's lives; and
                    (B) supporting the healthy development of 
                children's brains;
            (2) methods of delivering parent training and education on 
        nurturing care, such as the Center for Disease Control and 
        Prevention's Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home 
        Visiting programs, could help other countries realize greater 
        gains in early childhood development;
            (3) negative early childhood experiences can obstruct 
        lifelong health and opportunity;
            (4) well-developed and inquisitive children are the global 
        leaders of tomorrow;
            (5) countries will only be able to reach and exceed their 
        development goals if their youngest children get a strong 
        start; and
            (6) focused cross-sectoral coordination for promoting early 
        childhood development is essential for the efficiency, 
        effectiveness, and sustainability of all early childhood 
        development initiatives.

SEC. 4. ASSISTANCE TO IMPROVE EARLY CHILDHOOD OUTCOMES GLOBALLY.

    Chapter 1 of part I of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 
U.S.C. 2151 et seq.) is amended--
            (1) in section 135(f)(1) (22 U.S.C. 2152f(f)(1)), by 
        striking ``2006 and 2007'' and inserting ``2020 through 2025''; 
        and
            (2) by adding at the end the following:

``SEC. 137. ASSISTANCE TO IMPROVE EARLY CHILDHOOD OUTCOMES GLOBALLY.

    ``(a) Definitions.--In this section:
            ``(1) Appropriate congressional committees.--The term 
        `appropriate congressional committees' means--
                    ``(A) the Committee on Appropriations of the 
                Senate;
                    ``(B) the Committee on Foreign Relations of the 
                Senate;
                    ``(C) the Committee on Appropriations of the House 
                of Representatives; and
                    ``(D) the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House 
                of Representatives.
            ``(2) Children.--The term `children' means persons who are 
        younger than 18 years of age.
            ``(3) Deinstitutionalization.--The term 
        `deinstitutionalization' means the process of transitioning 
        from a child care protection system that relies on residential 
        care to a system that primarily supports family-based care.
            ``(4) Early childhood development.--The term `early 
        childhood development' means the development and learning of a 
        child younger than 8 years of age, including physical, 
        cognitive, social, and emotional development and approaches to 
        learning that allow a child to reach his or her full 
        developmental potential.
            ``(5) Early childhood development program.--The term `early 
        childhood development program' means a program that ensures 
        that every child has the conditions for healthy growth, 
        nurturing family-based care, development and learning, and 
        protection from violence, exploitation, abuse, and neglect, 
        including--
                    ``(A) a health, clean water, sanitation, and 
                hygiene program that serves pregnant women, children 
                younger than 5 years of age, and the parents of such 
                children;
                    ``(B) a nutrition program, combined with 
                stimulating child development activity;
                    ``(C) age appropriate cognitive stimulation, 
                especially for newborns, infants, and toddlers, 
                including an early childhood intervention program for 
                children experiencing at-risk situations, developmental 
                delays, disabilities, and behavioral and mental health 
                conditions;
                    ``(D) an early learning (36 months and younger), 
                preschool, and basic education program for children 
                until they reach 8 years of age or complete primary 
                school; and
                    ``(E) a child protection program, with an emphasis 
                on the promotion of permanent, safe, and nurturing 
                families, rather than placement in residential care or 
                institutions, including for children with disabilities.
            ``(6) Inclusive early childhood development.--The term 
        `inclusive early childhood development' means the full and 
        effective participation, accessibility, attendance, and 
        achievement of all children, especially children who are 
        excluded or at risk of being marginalized, such as children 
        with disabilities.
            ``(7) Relevant executive branch agencies and officials.--
        The term `relevant Executive branch agencies and officials' 
        means--
                    ``(A) the Department of State;
                    ``(B) the United States Agency for International 
                Development;
                    ``(C) the Department of the Treasury;
                    ``(D) the Department of Labor;
                    ``(E) the Department of Education;
                    ``(F) the Department of Agriculture;
                    ``(G) the Department of Defense;
                    ``(H) the Department of Health and Human Services, 
                including--
                            ``(i) the Centers for Disease Control and 
                        Prevention; and
                            ``(ii) the National Institutes of Health;
                    ``(I) the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator;
                    ``(J) the Chief Executive Officer of the Millennium 
                Challenge Corporation;
                    ``(K) the National Security Advisor; and
                    ``(L) the Director of the Peace Corps.
            ``(8) Residential care.--The term `residential care' means 
        care provided in any nonfamily-based group setting, including 
        orphanages, transit or interim care centers, children's homes, 
        children's villages or cottage complexes, group homes, and 
        boarding schools used primarily for care purposes as an 
        alternative to a children's home.
    ``(b) Statement of Policy.--It is the policy of the United States--
            ``(1) to support early childhood development in all child-
        focused international assistance programs, in partnership with 
        affected countries, other donor country governments, 
        international financial institutions, nongovernmental 
        organizations, faith-based organizations, international 
        organizations, multilateral organizations, and the private 
        sector; and
            ``(2) to encourage partner countries to lead early 
        childhood development initiatives that include incentives for 
        building local capacity for sustainable implementation by--
                    ``(A) scaling up the most effective, evidence-
                based, national interventions, including for the most 
                vulnerable populations and children with disabilities 
                and developmental delays, with a focus on adaptation to 
                country resources, cultures, and languages;
                    ``(B) designing, implementing, monitoring, and 
                evaluating programs in a way that enhances their 
                quality, transparency, equity, and accountability, 
                increases sustainability, and improves child and family 
                outcomes in partner countries; and
                    ``(C) utilizing and expanding innovative public-
                private financing mechanisms.
    ``(c) Implementation.--
            ``(1) In general.--Not later than 1 year after the date of 
        the enactment of the Global Child Thrive Act of 2019, the 
        Administrator of the United States Agency for International 
        Development, on behalf of the President, shall direct relevant 
        Executive branch agencies and officials supporting young 
        children--
                    ``(A) to incorporate early childhood development 
                into current programming to be carried out during the 
                following 5 fiscal years; and
                    ``(B) to promote inclusive early childhood 
                development in partner countries.
            ``(2) Elements.--In carrying out paragraph (1), the 
        Administrator and relevant Executive branch agencies and 
        officials shall--
                    ``(A) build on the evidence and priorities outlined 
                in `Advancing Protection and Care for Children in 
                Adversity: A U.S. Government Strategy for International 
                Assistance 2019-2023', published in June 2019 (referred 
                to in this section as `APCCA');
                    ``(B) to the extent practicable, identify evidence-
                based strategic priorities, indicators, outcomes, and 
                targets, particularly emphasizing the most vulnerable 
                populations and children with disabilities and 
                developmental delays, to support inclusive early 
                childhood development;
                    ``(C) support the design, implementation, and 
                evaluation of pilot projects in partner countries, with 
                the goal of taking such projects to scale;
                    ``(D) support inclusive early childhood development 
                by supporting bureaus, working groups, and task forces 
                implementing relevant sector strategies and public 
                laws, including--
                            ``(i) the Global Water Strategy required 
                        under section 136(j) of the Foreign Assistance 
                        Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2152h(j));
                            ``(ii) the whole-of-government strategy 
                        required under section 5 of the Global Food 
                        Security Act of 2016 (22 U.S.C. 9304 note);
                            ``(iii) the Basic Education Strategy set 
                        forth in section 105(c) of the Foreign 
                        Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 2151c(c));
                            ``(iv) the U.S. Government Global Nutrition 
                        Coordination Plan, 2016-2021; and
                            ``(v) APCCA;
                    ``(E) focus on improving coordination with foreign 
                governments and international and regional 
                organizations with respect to official country policies 
                and plans for early childhood development, maternal, 
                newborn, and child health and nutrition care, basic 
                education plans, water, sanitation and hygiene, and 
                child protection plans;
                    ``(F) support strategies that--
                            ``(i) enable parents to care for their 
                        children;
                            ``(ii) prevent unnecessary family-child 
                        separation;
                            ``(iii) assist families with children with 
                        disabilities;
                            ``(iv) assist countries in planning and 
                        implementing deinstitutionalization programs; 
                        and
                            ``(v) promote nurturing, appropriate, 
                        protective, and permanent family care, while 
                        reducing the percentage of children living in 
                        residential care or on the street; and
                    ``(G) consult with governments, international 
                financial institutions, nongovernmental organizations, 
                local and international civil society groups, 
                multilateral organizations, the private sector, faith-
                based organizations, community-based organizations, 
                organizations run by people with disabilities, and 
                early childhood networks academic and professional 
                associations, and local field workers, as appropriate.
    ``(d) Annual Report on the Implementation of the Strategy.--The 
Special Adviser for Children in Adversity shall include, in the annual 
report required under section 5 of the Assistance for Orphans and Other 
Vulnerable Children in Developing Countries Act of 2005 (22 U.S.C. 
2152g), which shall be submitted to the appropriate congressional 
committees and made available to the public, a description of--
            ``(1) the progress made toward integrating early childhood 
        development interventions into current programming;
            ``(2) the efforts made by relevant Executive branch 
        agencies and officials to implement subsection (c), with a 
        particular focus on the activities described in such 
        subsection;
            ``(3) the progress achieved during the reporting period 
        toward meeting the goals, objectives, benchmarks, and 
        timeframes described in subsection (c); and
            ``(4) the progress achieved during the reporting period 
        toward meeting the goals, objectives, benchmarks, and 
        timeframes described in subsection (c) at the program level, 
        along with specific challenges or gaps that may require shifts 
        in targeting, financing, or timeframes in the following fiscal 
        year.
    ``(e) Interagency Task Force.--The Special Advisor for Children in 
Adversity shall regularly convene an interagency task force, which 
should--
            ``(1) provide intergovernmental and interagency 
        coordination, monitoring, evaluation, and reporting of the 
        activities carried out pursuant to this Act;
            ``(2) promote coordination on early childhood development 
        initiatives that include children with a variety of needs and 
        circumstances; and
            ``(3) establish a coordination mechanism within United 
        States Agency for International Development to oversee and 
        coordinate United States Government Early Childhood Development 
        programs, strategies, and partnerships across Federal 
        departments and agencies.''.

SEC. 5. SPECIAL ADVISOR FOR ASSISTANCE TO ORPHANS AND VULNERABLE 
              CHILDREN.

    Section 135(e)(2) of the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 (22 U.S.C. 
2152f(e)(2)) is amended--
            (1) by amending subparagraph (A) to read as follows:
                    ``(A) Coordinate assistance to orphans and other 
                vulnerable children among the relevant Executive branch 
                agencies and officials.''; and
            (2) in subparagraph (B), by striking ``the various offices, 
        bureaus, and field missions within the United States Agency for 
        International Development'' and inserting ``the relevant 
        Executive branch agencies and officials, partner governments, 
        multilateral institutions, the private sector, and 
        nongovernmental and civil society organizations''.

SEC. 6. RULE OF CONSTRUCTION.

    Nothing in the amendments made by sections 4 and 5 of this Act may 
be construed to restrict or abrogate any other authorization for United 
States Agency for International Development activities or programs.
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