Klobuchar and Blunt are co-chairs of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Roy Blunt (R-MO), co-chairs of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption, introduced two bills today 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—many of which have resulted in the mistreatment of these children—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 said. “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.”
“There are over 400,000 children in the U.S. and many more across the world in need of a permanent home,” Blunt said. “By increasing support services available to families before and after they welcome a child into their home, and classifying rehoming as a form of child abuse, these bipartisan bills will help ensure more safe and successful adoptions.”
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. In April, Klobuchar and Blunt led a letter to the Secretaries of Homeland Security and State regarding the Administration’s decision to close the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) international offices expressing concern over the potential negative impact these closures would have on processing intercountry adoptions and asked that the Departments take action to ensure that adoptive children waiting to join permanent families in the United States are not hurt by the decision. In February, 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. Last 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.