Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Roy Blunt, R-Mo., co-chairs of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption, introduced two bills Tuesday in honor of National Foster Care Month.
The Supporting Adoptive Families Act would help prevent children from entering the foster care system by providing additional pre- and post-adoptive support services. The Safe Home Act would address cases in which adopted children have been given away by their adopted parents without going through the child welfare system by defining such conduct as a form of child abuse and neglect.
"National Foster Care Month is an important time to recommit ourselves to ensuring that every child has a safe, loving home," Klobuchar stated in a news release. "These bills will help provide families with counseling and support throughout the adoption process to ensure a smooth and successful transition for children and their parents and protect children from abuse and neglect."
The Supporting Adoptive Families Act is intended to prevent children from entering the foster care system through the provision of pre- and post-adoptive support services. Specifically, the bill promotes:
- Training and counseling on behavioral issues, including issues relating to emotional, behavioral, or developmental health needs;
- Peer-to-peer mentoring and support groups that permit a newly adoptive parent to communicate and learn from more experienced adoptive parents, including programs that enhance communication between adoptive parents with children of similar geographic, ethnic, or cultural backgrounds;
- Treatment services specialized for adopted children, including psychiatric residential services, outpatient mental health services, social skills training, intensive in-home supervision services, recreational therapy, suicide prevention, and substance abuse treatment; and
- Crisis and family preservation services, including crisis counseling and a 24-hour emergency hotline for adoptive parents.
The bill also directs the U.S. secretary of Health and Human Services to award grants to eligible entities to develop and implement state-sponsored post-adoption mental health service programs for all adopted children.