June 4, 2012 - Issue: Vol. 158, No. 82 — Daily Edition112th Congress (2011 - 2012) - 2nd Session
NATIONAL FOSTER CARE MONTH; Congressional Record Vol. 158, No. 82
(Senate - June 04, 2012)
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[Pages S3689-S3690] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] NATIONAL FOSTER CARE MONTH Mr. BROWN of Ohio. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent the HELP Committee be discharged from further consideration of S. Res. 462 and the Senate proceed to its immediate consideration. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered. The clerk will report. The bill clerk read as follows: A resolution (S. Res. 462) recognizing National Foster Care Month as an opportunity to raise awareness about the challenges faced by children in the foster care system, acknowledging the dedication of foster care parents, advocates, and workers, and encouraging Congress to implement policy to improve the lives of children in the foster care system. There being no objection, the Senate proceeded to consider the resolution. Mr. BROWN of Ohio. Madam President, I further ask the resolution be agreed to, the preamble be agreed to, the motions to reconsider be laid upon the table, with no intervening action or debate, and any statements relating to the measure be printed in the Record. The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered. The resolution (S. Res. 462) was agreed to. The preamble was agreed to. The resolution, with its preamble, reads as follows: S. Res. 462 Whereas National Foster Care Month was established more than 20 years ago to bring foster care issues to the forefront, highlight the importance of permanency for every child, and recognize the essential role that foster parents, social workers, and advocates have in the lives of children in foster care throughout the United States; Whereas all children deserve a safe, loving, and permanent home; Whereas the primary goal of the foster care system is to ensure the safety and well-being of children while working to provide a safe, loving, and permanent home for each child; Whereas there are approximately 408,000 children living in foster care; Whereas there were approximately 254,000 youth that entered the foster care system in 2010, while over 107,000 youth were eligible and awaiting adoption at the end of 2010; Whereas children in foster care experience an average of 3 different placements, which often leads to disruption of routines and the need to change schools and move away from siblings, extended families, and familiar surroundings; Whereas youth in foster care are much more likely to face educational instability with 65 percent of former foster children experiencing at least 7 school changes while in care; [[Page S3690]] Whereas children of color are more likely to stay in the foster care system for longer periods of time and are less likely to be reunited with their biological families; Whereas foster parents are the front-line caregivers for children who cannot safely remain with their biological parents and provide physical care, emotional support, education advocacy, and are the largest single source of families providing permanent homes for children leaving foster care to adoption; Whereas children in foster care who are placed with relatives, compared to children placed with nonrelatives, have more stability, including fewer changes in placements, have more positive perceptions of their placements, are more likely to be placed with their siblings, and demonstrate fewer behavioral problems; Whereas an increased emphasis on prevention and reunification services is necessary to reduce the number of children that are forced to remain in the foster care system; Whereas more than 27,900 youth ``age out'' of foster care without a legal permanent connection to an adult or family; Whereas children who age out of foster care may lack the security or support of a biological or adoptive family and frequently struggle to secure affordable housing, obtain health insurance, pursue higher education, and acquire adequate employment; Whereas foster care is intended to be a temporary placement, but children remain in the foster care system for an average of 2 years; Whereas volunteers, guardians, mentors, and workers in the child-protective-services community play a vital role in improving the safety of the most valuable youth and work hard to increase permanency through reunification, adoption, and guardianship; Whereas due to heavy caseloads and limited resources, the average tenure for a worker in child protection services is just 3 years; Whereas on average, 8.5 percent of the positions in child protective services remain vacant; Whereas States, localities, and communities should be encouraged to invest resources in preventative and reunification services and postpermanency programs to ensure that more children in foster care are provided with safe, loving, and permanent placements; Whereas Federal legislation over the past 3 decades, including the Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980 (Public Law 96 272), the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 (Public Law 105 89), the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 (Public Law 110 351), and the Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act (Public Law 112 34) provided new investments and services to improve the outcomes of children in the foster care system; Whereas May is an appropriate month to designate as National Foster Care Month to provide an opportunity to acknowledge the child-welfare workforce, foster parents, advocacy community, and mentors for their dedication, accomplishments, and positive impact they have on the lives of children; and Whereas much remains to be done to ensure that all children have a safe, loving, nurturing, and permanent family, regardless of age or special needs: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the Senate-- (1) recognizes National Foster Care Month as an opportunity to raise awareness about the challenges faced by children in the foster care system, acknowledging the dedication of foster care parents, advocates, and workers, and encouraging Congress to implement policy to improve the lives of children in the foster care system; (2) encourages Congress to implement policy to improve the lives of children in the foster care system; (3) supports the designation of May as National Foster Care Month; (4) acknowledges the special needs of children in the foster care system; (5) recognizes foster youth throughout the United States for their ongoing tenacity, courage, and resilience while facing life challenges; (6) acknowledges the exceptional alumni of the foster care system who serve as advocates and role models for youth who remain in care; (7) honors the commitment and dedication of the individuals who work tirelessly to provide assistance and services to children in the foster care system; and (8) reaffirms the need to continue working to improve the outcomes of all children in the foster care system through parts B and E of title IV of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) and other programs designed to-- (A) support vulnerable families; (B) invest in prevention and reunification services; (C) promote adoption and guardianship in cases where reunification is not in the best interests of the child; (D) adequately serve those children brought into the foster care system; and (E) facilitate the successful transition into adulthood for children that ``age out'' of the foster care system. ____________________