The bipartisan Find and Protect Foster Youth Act has passed the Senate. The bill was led by Senators John Cornyn (R-TX), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV). The legislation is designed to create a “feedback loop” between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services of Children and Families and the states to share information concerning missing and runaway foster youth.
According to Sen. Cornyn’s press release, tens of thousands of foster children have been reported missing in the last two decades. 1,600 went missing in the state of Texas alone in the 2021 fiscal year.
The Find and Protect Foster Youth Act would increase and improve the communication between states and federal agencies and will require the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) to provide a report to Congress concerning missing foster youth.
Sen. Cornyn mentioned that this bill will help “ensure vulnerable children remain in a safe home.
“Foster youth are some of the most at-risk children for trafficking, substance abuse, and other forms of exploitation,” said Cornyn. “No child should fall through the cracks of the Texas foster care system, and our bill will improve reporting and standard practices for state social service agencies to ensure vulnerable children remain in a safe home.”
Sen. Stabenow, co-chair of the Senate Caucus on Foster Youth said that this issue is not a partisan one.
“Too many of our foster youth face difficult experiences and go missing while in foster care. That’s unacceptable and must change,” said Sen. Stabenow. “Making sure our children have a safe place to call home isn’t a partisan issue. I am pleased to partner with Senators Cornyn and Grassley on this bipartisan legislation.”
Moreover, Sen. Grassley, founder and co-chair of the caucus said foster kids are at a greater risk of going missing or even being trafficked.
“A fundamental purpose of foster care is to keep kids safe,” said Sen. Grassley. “Sadly, cracks and roadblocks in the current system leave children susceptible to exploitation. These children are at greater risk of going missing and being trafficked. For this to happen to even one child is unacceptable. I’m encouraged by the Senate’s support for this bill, which would help states and federal agencies to better coordinate on their work to protect kids in foster care.”
Senator Cornyn is also a member of the Senate Caucus on Foster Youth.