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.

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