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Source: United States Senator for Iowa Chuck Grassley

WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), along with Sens. Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pension (HELP), Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Tina Smith (D-MN), released a report from the Government Accountability Office showing that the Department of Education can do more to support students in foster care.
Federal law states that when children are brought into foster care or change placements, the state must ensure they remain in the school in which they are enrolled at the time of each placement so long as it is in the child’s best interest. The evidence is clear that new placements and disruptions can jeopardize students’ academic achievement. The report shows significant state- and district-level challenges to implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) provisions meant to address this issue and concludes that the Department of Education can do more to support the state education and child welfare agencies tasked with collaborating to ensure students stay in their school of origin. The report recommends that the Department of Education take common-sense steps to provide states with the information and resources they need to ensure a stable education for students in foster care.

“Foster children regularly face greater challenges than their peers. Uprooting them from the stability of their schools, friends and teachers is an unnecessary challenge that can be prevented in many circumstances,” Grassley said. “All children deserve our support during their academic careers. Helping our kids in foster care to stay in the same school when possible is something we can and must do.” 

The full report is available HERE.

Grassley is the co-founder and co-chair of the Senate Caucus on Foster Youth and has been working to improve the lives of foster children and families for more than two decades. In 2008, Grassley introduced the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act, which provided additional federal incentives for states to move children from foster care to adoptive homes. That legislation also made it easier for foster children to be permanently cared for by their own relatives, and to stay in their home communities.

Grassley was also a key supporter of the Family First Prevention Services Act, a bipartisan child welfare reform bill that passed as part of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018. Family First authorizes federal child welfare money to be spent on services for families at risk of losing their children to in effort to prevent kids from being placed in foster care in the first place.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which passed in 2017, preserved the Adoption Tax Credit, making it easier for families who want to adopt children in foster care to do so. Also in 2017, Grassley introduced the Strong Families Act of 2017, legislation to prevent child abuse and improve maternal and child health.

In 2011, Grassley worked to reauthorize grants that support families who struggle with substance abuse, and that improve the well-being of children who are not in their homes or are likely to be removed because of parental substance abuse. His bill, the Building Capacity for Family Focused Residential Treatment Act, was signed into law as part of a bipartisan, bicameral effort to reduce opioid addiction.

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