Sending Office: Honorable James R. Langevin
Sent By:
Kerry.McKittrick@mail.house.gov

Bipartisan Request for Adoption Opportunities Funding

Deadline: COB TODAY

FY19 Signers: Bass, Brownley, Cárdenas, Cicilline, Cohen, Courtney, Danny Davis, Susan Davis, DeGette, Delaney, DeSaulnier, Espaillat, Faso, Gomez, Hastings, Huffman, Jackson Lee, Kuster, Lamborn, Langevin,
Lawrence, Lipinksi, Sean Patrick Maloney, Marino, McNerney, Moulton, O’Rourke, Pearce, Veasey

Dear Colleague,

We invite you to join us in sending the following letter to appropriators requesting $50 million in funding for the Adoption Opportunities program in the Fiscal Year 2019 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill. In FY17, Adoption
Opportunities was funded at $39,025,671.

On any given day, over 437,000 children are living in foster care across the country, many of whom are awaiting adoption by a loving, caring family.  Unfortunately, the older children are when they enter the child welfare system, the more likely they are
to age out of foster care without a family. In 2016, 20,532 children aged out of the foster care system. Already at a disadvantage, these children end up without a network of support, especially in times of crisis.

The Adoption Opportunities program supports permanent solutions for youth in foster care. It supports child-focused recruitment efforts, encourages the adoption of older children, as well as minorities and children with special needs, and provides postadoption
support to families. Investing in these services not only improves the quality of life for children, it results in long-term government and societal savings. The Annie E. Casey Foundation estimates that for every young person who ages out of the foster care
system, taxpayers and communities will pay $300,000 in social costs over that person’s lifetime. Finding permanent families for these youth will ensure better outcomes and substantial savings.

If you would like to co-sign the letter, or if you would like additional information, please contact Kerry McKittrick with Congressman Langevin at
kerry.mckittrick@mail.house.gov or (202) 225-2735 or Michael Perry with Congressman Marino at
michael.perry@mail.house.gov or (202) 225-3731.

Sincerely,

 

JIM LANGEVIN                                                                                        TOM MARINO

Member of Congress                                                                                  Member of Congress

 

Dear Chairman Cole and Ranking Member DeLauro:

We respectfully request that you include $50 million in funding for the Adoption Opportunities program in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations bill. In FY17, the Adoption Opportunities Program was funded
at $39,025,671. We urge you to expand this funding to support permanent solutions for youth in foster care and help them find their “forever family” when they cannot safely return home.

On any given day, over 437,000 children are living in foster care across the country, many of whom are awaiting adoption by a loving, caring family. Unfortunately, the older children are when they enter the child welfare system, the more likely they are
to age out of foster care, leaving too many youth without a legal family once they exit the custody of the state. In 2016, 20,532 children aged out of the foster care system. Already at a disadvantage, these children often end up with no support network to
which they can turn in times of crisis.

The outcomes of youth who exit foster care on their own, rather than with a family, are extremely discouraging. Two in five youth who age out of foster care will experience episodes of homelessness, and half will not graduate high school by age 19. Additionally,
four in five young women will be pregnant by age 21, and only half of youth who age out of care will be employed at age 24. Failure to secure permanent families for youth in foster care results in substantial societal costs.

It is the goal of every child welfare agency to find a permanent placement for each child in foster care. The Adoption Opportunities program encourages the adoption of older children, as well as minorities and children with special needs, and provides postadoption
support to families. Regrettably, many states face budget constraints that limit the number of caseworkers they can hire and the number of training programs available to them. This increased caseload means that each foster youth receives less attention and
fewer resources. Far too many children linger in the very child welfare system intended to help them find permanency. Additional funds to reduce caseloads would allow caseworkers to devote more time to the in-depth care necessary to find true permanency for
each child.

In addition to more manageable caseloads, caseworkers need training in evidence-based practices proven to lead to higher rates of permanency for youth in foster care. Providing training in child-focused recruitment, which is funded by Adoption Opportunities,
will help ensure that state child welfare agencies are aware of all the options that they can use to find permanent placements. These programs have shown promising results — often caseworkers are able to find previously unidentified adoptive parents, such
as relatives, fictive kin, or former foster parents.

When children are in the custody of the state, we have a moral responsibility to care for them as we would our own children. The Annie E. Casey Foundation estimates that for every young person who ages out of the foster care system, taxpayers and communities
will pay $300,000 in social costs over that person’s lifetime. Investing in services to help find permanent families for youth in foster care will improve their quality of life and result in long-term societal and economic savings.

The evidence is clear that children who are adopted – at any age – have better life outcomes than those who age out of foster care. More importantly, every child deserves to have a family. Therefore, we respectfully urge you to fund Adoption Opportunities
at $50 million in Fiscal Year 2019.

Sincerely,

 

Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information: Appropriations, Family Issues

icon eDC logo e-Dear Colleague version 2.0