Senators introduce bipartisan legislation that will help provide pre- and post- adoption support services, including mental health treatment, to help adoptive families stay strong

WASHINGTON– During National Adoption Month, U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Roy Blunt (R-MO), co-chairs of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption, introduced legislation to support adoptive families. The senators reintroduced their bipartisan bill – the Supporting Adoptive Families Act – that will help provide pre- and post-adoption support services, including mental health treatment, to help adoptive families stay strong.

“Minnesotans have a long and proud tradition of adoption, providing loving homes to children from all around the globe,” Klobuchar said. “Our bipartisan Supporting Adoptive Families Act will help provide families with counseling and support throughout the adoption process to ensure a smooth and successful transition for children and their parents.”

“Every child deserves a loving family and the stability of a permanent home,” Blunt said. “This bill will provide families additional tools and support services to help them achieve a successful adoption. I’ll continue advocating for policies that will help ensure adoption remains a viable option for families who are able to give children a safe, caring home.”

The Supporting Adoptive Families Act would help 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 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.

As Co-Chairs of the Congressional Adoption Caucus, Klobuchar and Blunt have been leaders in the fight to give every child a permanent home. Earlier this month, they encouraged Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Lynn Johnson, to raise awareness for National Adoption Month, which began November 1st. In August, Klobuchar and Blunt introduced legislation to improve the intercountry adoption process. The bipartisan Intercountry Adoption Advisory Committee Act provides the Secretary of State the authority to establish an Intercountry Adoption Advisory Committee within the Bureau of Consular Affairs to focus on coordinating the development, refinement, and implementation of policies and programs on intercountry adoption. In June, they sent a letter urging the Bureau of Consular Affairs at the U.S. Department of State (DOS) to ensure that the dialogue between the DOS, Congress, and the Adoption Service Providers (ASPs) continues and that members and experts in the adoption community are consulted in efforts to develop and implement policies that advance intercountry adoption.