March 20,2018

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Sam Offerdahl (202) 224-4515 

Wyden Presses Trump Administration to Take Action to Prevent Sex Trafficking

Washington, D.C. – Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, today pressed the Trump administration to take action to better understand how to prevent sex trafficking of young people in foster care.

Wyden called on the Trump administration to reconsider its delay of information reporting about victims of sex trafficking and other critical information about children in foster care. Wyden raised concerns about the information delay at a hearing to consider the nomination of Lynn Johnson to be Assistant Secretary for Family Support at the Health and Human Services Department.

Wyden called the information crucial to providing more support for victims of sex trafficking and improving oversight of foster care across the country.

“Everybody wants foster kids to be safe and well cared-for,” Wyden said. “But by torpedoing this information, the Trump administration is standing in the way of helping some of the most vulnerable kids in the country. In order to do a better job of keeping foster kids out of the world of sex trafficking, and promote other key policy objectives, lawmakers, advocates and the public need better information.”

Congress passed the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families law in 2014, which required the federal government to gather information from states about victims of sex trafficking in America’s foster care systems.

But the Trump administration is delaying the reporting of that information and other key information about children in foster care for two years. The administration also started a process to rewrite reporting requirements issued in 2016 to update the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS), which include the sex trafficking information. AFCARS has not been updated since 1993.

If confirmed, Johnson would become the head of the Administration for Children and Families, and would be responsible for overseeing child welfare, including the collection of information required by the Preventing Sex Trafficking law.

Wyden wrote to HHS Secretary Alex Azar last month pressing him to stop delaying the collection of this information and instead work to improve the lives of children in the foster care system who experienced sex trafficking. The department rejected Wyden’s request and issued the delay.

Read Wyden’s full remarks here.