Friday, April 4, 2014

Families for Foster Youth Stamp Act

From: The Honorable John Conyers, Jr.

Bill: H.R. 2149
Date: 4/4/2014

April 4, 2014

We invite you to join us as a cosponsor of H.R. 2149, “Families for Foster Youth Stamp Act of 2013.” This bipartisan legislation will set aside funding from postage stamp sales to support programs that improve permanency outcomes for youth in foster care.

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.  However, there are more than 26,200 youth that annually “age out” of foster care without a legal permanent connection to their parents, extended family members, siblings or other significant adult. In today’s society, most young people depend on their families for emotional and financial support until they have the capacity to support themselves. Unfortunately, foster youth who age out often struggle to secure affordable housing, obtain health insurance, pursue higher education, acquire adequate employment and are more likely to experience violence, homelessness, mental illness, and other poor health outcomes.  Additionally, they are more likely to be incarcerated, abuse substances and experience unplanned pregnancy.

Clearly, foster youth are better served when placed in permanent care such as adoption, legal guardianship, reunification with birth family or placement with a fit and willing relative.  No teenager should have to exit foster care alone.  To ensure this, our legislation will provide additional resources to the Adoption Opportunities Program and the State Court Improvement Program. The Adoption Opportunities Program is a grant program that provides discretionary funds for projects designed to eliminate barriers to adoption and help find permanent families for children who would benefit from adoption.  The State Court Improvement Program provide grants to state court systems  to improve the quality of legal representation for youth, reducing caseloads, updating systems to be more efficient, and overall steps to improve the court’s role in achieving safe, stable and permanent homes for children.

We urge you to cosponsor H.R. 2149 and help improve permanency outcomes for youth in foster care. 

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