Bipartisan Foster Care Legislation Passes Committee
Washington, D.C. – On Thursday, bipartisan foster care legislation introduced by Congresswoman Terri Sewell (D-AL) and Congressman Lloyd Smucker (R-PA) passed the full House Committee on Ways and Means. The Reducing Barriers for Relative Foster Parents Act makes it easier for foster children to be placed in the home of a family member by encouraging states to update their foster care systems to promote such placements. Children raised by relatives experience increased stability, greater safety and permanency, and better behavioral and mental health outcomes.
“We need to do everything in our power to make the foster care system family-friendly, and the Reducing Barriers for Relative Foster Parents Act takes an important step in that direction,” said Rep. Sewell. “Today’s vote in the Ways and Means Committee sent a strong message that helping our foster youth find permanent and loving homes is a bipartisan priority with strong support on both sides of the aisle. I was proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation with Rep. Smucker, and I look forward to our bill receiving a vote on the House floor.”
“Every child deserves a loving home,” said Rep. Smucker. “In 2015, more than 670,000 American children – and more than 16,000 in Pennsylvania – spent time in foster care. There are countless family members of foster children who are willing and eager to accept these children into their home. We should be making that process easier for family members – not tying them up in bureaucratic red tape that extends the amount of time children spend in foster care. I am proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation with Rep. Sewell and will work with her to pass this bill out of the House.”
As a Member of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Resources, Rep. Sewell regularly addresses issues relating to child welfare and the foster care system. This May, Rep. Sewell hosted a foster youth from Birmingham in Congress as part of Foster Youth Shadow Day, a program which gives young people who have interacted with the foster care system the chance to follow a Member of Congress for the day, learning about representative government while sharing their understanding and experiences about foster care with Members.
Rep. Terri A. Sewell (D-AL) is serving her fourth term representing Alabama’s 7th Congressional district. She sits on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and was recently appointed to the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. Sewell is a Chief Deputy Whip and serves on the prestigious Steering and Policy Committee of the Democratic Caucus. She is also a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, and serves as Vice Chair of the Congressional Voting Rights Caucus, and Vice Chair of Outreach for the New Democrat Coalition.