September 22,2008

Baucus, Grassley Applaud Senate Passage of Bill to Support Foster Children, Boost Adoptions

Bill championed by Finance leaders now heads to the President’s desk

Washington, DC – Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Ranking Member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) today hailed Senate passage of the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act, which will move children from foster care to adoptive homes, allow more children to be cared for by their own relatives and in their own communities, and create opportunities for older children aging out of the foster care system. Baucus and Grassley championed the adoption provisions in the Finance Committee, and worked with House Members to create the bipartisan, bicameral bill passed in the Senate today. The legislation, which was passed by the House of Representatives on Tuesday, now heads to the President’s desk. Baucus and Grassley said today that they hope the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act can become law before current adoption incentives expire on September 30.

“Thousands of children – especially children with special needs and older children – will beable to move from foster care to adoptive homes under this bill,” Baucus said.“Grandparents and other relatives will receive the support and resources they need to foster a child in their own family. And, Indian Tribes will finally have the same access to federal foster care and adoption dollars that states currently receive. This legislation willpave a path to success for countless children in foster care who only dream of theseopportunities today. I look forward to seeing this very important bill become law.”

“Children in foster care are some of the most vulnerable members of our society.Improving their options for a permanent home has long been a priority of mine,” Grassley said. “I’m glad my colleagues and I were able to work together on this bipartisan,bicameral compromise. This package includes a number of provisions from my bill, the Improved Adoption Incentives and Relative Guardianship Support Act of 2008, which the Senate Finance Committee marked up earlier this month. The bill that passed tonight represents the most significant and far-reaching child welfare reform measure to pass the Congress in a decade. The sooner we get these changes into law, the faster children andfamilies will experience a better foster care and adoption system.”

The lawmakers’ proposal makes changes to adoption and foster care policies that will benefit children and families throughout the system. The Fostering Connections to Success andIncreasing Adoptions Act of 2008 will:

  • provide support to relatives – generally grandparents, aunts and uncles – so they are more able to provide care for children in their own families,
  • create opportunities for children aging out of foster care so they are able to pursue education or vocational training after the age of 18,
  • allow more Native American children to receive foster care in their own communities by providing Tribes with the same direct access to federal funding for foster care and adoption services that states currently receive, and
  • reauthorize and improve the Adoption Incentives program and allow more families to receive adoption assistance, particularly for adoption of older children and children with special needs.

The Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 is fully offset by granting the Treasury Department authority to invest excess operating cash in repurchase agreements, and clarifying the definition of a child for tax purposes, among other provisions.

A summary of the legislation can be found in the printer-friendly version of this release.

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