Grassley Floor Speech Recognizing National Foster Care Month
Floor Speech of Sen. Chuck Grassley
Recognizing National Foster Care Month
Delivered Thursday, May 25, 2017
I rise today to thank my colleagues for unanimously supporting a resolution recognizing May as National Foster Care Month.
National Foster Care Month has been recognized for over 20 years as a time to celebrate the voices of foster youth and to bring awareness to the challenges that they face.
During this month, organizations in Iowa and across the country have been working to support and recognize youth in foster care.
Nationally, there are over 425,000 children in foster care. In Iowa alone, almost 4,000 kids entered foster care in 2015.
I salute all those who work tirelessly to support these children.
This includes foster parents, who open their hearts and homes to children who need support.
This also induces social workers, advocates, and alumni of the foster care system, who inform lawmakers and the public, and fight to secure better outcomes for kids in care.
As stated in our resolution, Congress must continue to work towards real solutions for these children, who often face trauma, abuse, and neglect, both before and after they are removed from their parents’ care.
We must work to ensure that all children, no matter their circumstances, have a permanent, loving home, and consistent, caring adults in their lives.
With legislation such as the Fostering Connections Act of 2008, and the Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act of 2011 we’ve made some progress.
These laws provided new investments and services to improve the outcomes for children in the foster care system.
But our work is not done. Over 20,000 young people aged out of the foster care system in 2015 with no legal permanent connection to a family.
This impacts their ability to pursue higher education, find employment and stable housing, and prepare for the future.
While in care, children experience an average of 3 different placements. 65% of kids in foster care change schools 7 or more times.
This constant uncertainty compounds the trauma of neglect and abuse, and makes it hard for these kids to make connections to their communities.
Through my work on the Senate Caucus on Foster Youth, I’ve had the opportunity to hear firsthand what children in foster care need.
They need love, support, safety, and permanency. They need a family.
Moving forward, Congress must continue to work to find better solutions and secure better outcomes for youth in foster care.
Once again, I thank my colleagues for supporting this resolution. It is important that this month, and all year long, we continue to support the goals of National Foster Care Month.