Barletta Backs Bills to Improve Foster Care System

Jun 21, 2017
Press Release
House Passes Slate of Bipartisan Bills to Strengthen Families

Barletta recently hosted Tasha Jenkins, a former foster youth, in his Washington office for Congressional Foster Youth Shadow Day.

WASHINGTON – Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11) yesterday voted for, and the U.S. House of Representatives passed, a slate of bills aimed at strengthening families and reforming the foster care system.

“For too many children, the dream of a permanent home can seem so far out of reach,” Barletta said.  “These bills send the message that every child should have the chance to be a kid in the safety of a loving family.”

In May, Barletta, a member of the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth, participated in Congressional Foster Youth Shadow Day by hosting Tasha Jenkins, a foster care alumnae, in his Washington, D.C. office.  Jenkins, who recently graduated from Bloomsburg University, spent part of the day attending congressional hearings with Barletta and meeting with his staff, and shared her personal story of growing up in the foster care system.

“Tasha’s powerful personal story about growing up in the foster care system really opened my eyes to the issues that thousands of foster youth face every day,” Barletta said.  “I’m thankful to have gotten to know her and hear her about her experiences.  It’s incredibly important that we continue to support solutions to improve foster care and find supportive families for the more than 400,000 young people in the system.”

The House passed five bills addressing the foster care system:

The Improving Services for Older Youth in Foster Care Act, H.R. 2847, maximizes the availability of support for older foster youth making the transition to adulthood by updating the Chafee Foster Care program, which provides assistance to youth who have aged out of foster care, from age 21 to 23.

The Reducing Barriers for Relative Foster Parents Act, H.R. 2866, helps states identify ways to make it easier to place more children with relatives, rather than with foster parents.

The Modernizing the Interstate Placement of Children in Foster Care Act, H.R. 2742, reduces the time and cost of placing foster children across state lines with a family member, foster parent, or adoptive parent by requiring states to implement the National Electronic Interstate Compact Enterprise (NEICE) system for exchanging information.

The Partnership Grants to Strengthen Families Affected by Parental Substance Abuse Act, H.R. 2834, strengthens regional partnership grants to more effectively help communities address the impacts of substance abuse on families.

The Supporting Families in Substance Abuse Treatment Act, H.R. 2857, allows children to remain with a parent who is in a residential-based family substance abuse treatment facility to support parent-child bonding and reduce substance abuse relapses.