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Grassley introduces Foster Youth Stamp Act

Grassley-090507-18363- 0032From Press Release

 

U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), co-chair of the Senate Caucus on Foster Youth, has introduced the Families for Foster Youth Stamp Act.  This bipartisan legislation provides for the issuance and sale of a semi-postal stamp by the United States Postal Service to support effective programs targeted at improving permanency outcomes for youth in foster care.

The bill would direct the postal service to sell a “semi-postal” stamp, which are stamps sold at a special premium to raise money for certain causes, and then transfer a portion of the proceeds to the Department of Health and Human Services to support the Adoption Opportunities Program.

“More than 400,000 kids are in foster care,” Grassley said.  “Placing them in a loving, permanent home is one of the ultimate goals of foster care policy work.  A stamp for sale is a way for the many people all over the country who care about these kids to take a concrete step to help.”

Part of the stamp sale proceeds would be directed to the Adoption Opportunities Program coordinated through the Department of Health and Human Services.  While the program funds a variety of services, the bill would direct that these special funds are geared toward programs and activities “that specifically target improvement in permanency outcomes for youth in foster care through adoption, guardianship, or kinship care.”

First enacted in 1978, the Adoption Opportunities Program requires the Department of Health and Human Services to have an administrative structure that allows for centralized planning across all departmental programs and activities affecting foster care and adoption.  It requires the department to support adoption recruitment activities, including through a “national adoption information exchange” and to support a national resource center on special needs adoptions.

The program provides discretionary funds for projects designed to eliminate barriers to adoption and help find permanent families for children who would benefit from adoption, particularly children with special needs.  The funds, routed through the Administration for Children and Families, are used for a variety of services, including: increasing the placements in adoptive families of minority and older children; support the placement of children in kinship care arrangements, pre-adoptive, or adoptive homes; post-legal adoption services for families who have adopted children with special needs; and data gathering and analysis, adoption training and technical assistance, research of adoption outcomes, and efforts to eliminate interjurisdictional adoption barriers.