May 19,2008

Grassley to introduce legislation to help special needs children in foster care get permanent homes


Monday, May 19, 2008

What: News Conference to announce the introduction of the Improved AdoptionIncentives and Relative Guardianship Support Act of 2008, and highlightenhanced permanency opportunities for children in foster care

Where: 215 Dirksen Building, the hearing room of the Senate Committee on Finance

When: Tuesday, May 20, 2008, 11 am (ET)

Description: Iowa families from Des Moines, Waverly, Iowa City, Ankeny and Cedar Rapidswill be at this Capitol Hill press conference to share their experiences and expresstheir support for legislation that Senator Grassley will introduce to extend andimprove the Adoption Incentive Program. This program was created 10 years agoto promote greater permanence for children in foster care by encouraging states tofinalize adoptions of children from foster care. It provides incentives foradoptions of children in foster care with special needs. Congress needs toreauthorize the Adoption Incentive Payments Program fund this year.The bill that Senator Grassley will introduce on Tuesday would increasepayments to states for finalizing adoptions for children with special needs, createan additional payment for states that exceed the states’s highest rate of alladoptions from foster care, make all children with special needs eligible forfederal adoption assistance (current law limits assistance to children removedfrom very low income families), and establish a new pathway for permanence byallowing states to receive federal reimbursement for payments made to legalrelative guardians caring for children who would otherwise by in foster care.

Senator Grassley has long advocated changes to public policy that promoteadoption and match children in foster care with safe, permanent and lovingfamilies. He co-authored the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997, whichestablished the Adoption Incentive Program. He authored provisions in theDeficit Reduction Act of 2005 that increased the federal funding stream forprograms designed to help keep troubled families together, improve child supportcollection and distribution, boost direct child support payments, and promoteresponsible fatherhood and health marriages. Senator Grassley also worked tosecure federal funding for grants to train judges, attorneys and legal personnel inchild welfare cases. He has protected federal funding for Social Services BlockGrants that help fund child welfare services. In 2001, as Chairman of thetax-writing committee in the Senate, Senator Grassley sponsored tax incentivesthat promote adoptions. Also in 2006, Senator Grassley convened the firstFinance Committee hearing on child welfare in over a decade and co-authored theChild and Family Services Improvement Act of 2006, which includedreauthorization of the Promoting Safe and Stable Families Act, improvements instate child welfare systems and establishment of a monthly caseworker standard.