Congresswoman Terri Sewell
Bill introduced by Reps. Sewell and Smucker keeps foster youths with relatives
Washington, D.C. – On Tuesday, bipartisan foster care legislation introduced by Congresswoman Terri Sewell (D-AL) and Congressman Lloyd Smucker (R-PA) passed the full House of Representatives by a vote of 382 to 19. The Reducing Barriers for Relative Foster Parents Act makes it easier for foster children to be placed in the home of a family member by encouraging states to update their foster care systems to promote such placements. Children raised by relatives experience increased stability, greater safety and permanency, and better behavioral and mental health outcomes.
In an op-ed jointly released today, Reps. Sewell and Smucker made the following statement:
“For the children in our foster care system, these changes could mean the difference between finding a permanent loving home with their family or continued instability. Updating foster care standards will also provide foster parents and human resource caseworkers with consistent and coherent licensing standards that put the well-being of our children first. The Reducing Barriers for Relative Foster Parents Act is an opportunity for both parties to work together to address these challenges with a commonsense solution that helps keep families together.”
“When it comes to finding loving homes for children, there are no Republicans or Democrats — just mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles, and sons and daughters who believe each child should have a bed to be tucked into at night in a loving home.”
As a Member of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Resources, Rep. Sewell regularly addresses issues relating to child welfare and the foster care system. This May, Rep. Sewell hosted a foster youth from Birmingham in Congress as part of Foster Youth Shadow Day, a program which gives young people who have interacted with the foster care system the chance to follow a Member of Congress for the day, learning about representative government while sharing their understanding and experiences about foster care with Members.