March 22,2010

Grassley, Landrieu-led Caucus Urges Foster Youth Views in Education Program Re-authorization

WASHINGTON – The Senate Caucus on Foster Youth, led by Sen. Chuck
Grassley and Sen. Mary Landrieu, is urging legislators who will begin re-authorization of
federal education programs to hear from foster youth in the process.

“There’s nothing like first-hand knowledge to educate lawmakers about the policy
decisions they’ll make,” Grassley said. “Foster youth are the experts on what it’s like to
deal with the challenges of attending school while in foster care. Their views could help
to improve the experience for the next generation of kids.”

“Foster youth have the power to influence legislation as evidenced by our success
in pass of the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act,” Landrieu
said. “Children who had spent time in our broken foster care system were invaluable
during that process. What has been made clear to me is that we must empower youth to
educate Congress about their unique experiences in foster care and the obstacles they
face. They help us make better policy decisions.”

Grassley and Landrieu, joined by 10 other members of the Caucus on Foster
Youth, wrote to the chairman and ranking member of the Health Education Labor and
Pensions Committee, which recently began holding hearings on the reauthorization of the
Elementary and Secondary Education Act. The caucus requested that the committee
“invite youth in foster care to one of these hearings to testify about their experiences in
the nation’s educational system, and their suggestions for reform.” Reforms could
include better record-keeping, more of an effort to keep students in the same school when
their foster home changes, and better coordination between school personnel and child
welfare agencies in developing strategies to help these youths.

The caucus members’ letter is posted with this news release at