05.22.06

Schiff, Hart Introduce Bipartisan Fostering Our Future Act

Washington, DC – In recognition of National Foster Care Month, Representatives Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Melissa Hart (R-PA) today announced they have coauthored the bipartisan Fostering our Future Act, (H.R. 3758) a bill that will strengthen America’s foster care system.

“This nation has an obligation to our most vulnerable children that we are not meeting,” said Schiff.  “Substantial reforms of the foster care system have been recommended by the Pew Commission and Congress should act now to ensure a better outcome for our children.”

“It is clear that the current foster-care system is not serving our children as well as it should,” said Congresswoman Melissa Hart.  “We must act now to provide the resources and support these children need to be placed with loving and safe families.”

A 2004 Pew Commission report found that nearly 20 percent of the 500,000 children in foster care wait over 5 years for a safe, permanent family.  The doubling of the foster care population since the early 1980s has created enormous child welfare caseloads and taxed the capacity of the system.  The result is a growing population that is more likely to be homeless and unemployed throughout their lives.

To help solve these foster care problems this legislation includes provisions that support foster care court systems while demanding accountability.  Specifically, the bill:

  • Provides loan forgiveness to full-time dependency attorneys who agree to remain in their jobs for at least three years;
  • Requires a GAO study to compare state procedures and establish best practices;
  • States courts should enable children and parents to participate in their own proceedings; 
  • States judicial leadership should use performance data to ensure accountability and allocate resources wisely;
  • Calls on law schools, bar association, and law firms to help build the pool of qualified dependency attorneys.

Congressman Schiff has introduced a "Kids First" agenda of initiatives to improve education, safety, and health care for our children.  He is the co-founder of the Democratic Study Group on National Security and a member of both the House Judiciary and International Relations committees.  He represents California’s 29th Congressional District, which includes the communities of Alhambra, Altadena, Burbank, East Pasadena, East San Gabriel, Glendale, Monterey Park, Pasadena, San Gabriel, South Pasadena and Temple City.

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