First Focus Campaign for Children sent the following letter to Rep. Karen Bass supporting her bill, the 21st Century Children and Families Act (H.R. 5856).

Excerpt From the Letter:

Every child needs a family in order to reach their full potential. Having permanent, safe, loving connections with responsive adults helps children weather life’s hardships and develop resilience and confidence that they can draw upon into adulthood. Too many children in foster care have gone without this type of connection for too long.

On average there are about 100,000 children and youth in foster care whose parents have had their parental rights terminated and these children are considered legally available for adoption. The average time these children spend waiting to be adopted is three (3) years. Unfortunately, about 20% of these youth — or 20,000 children — age out of foster care every year without getting connected to a family who will provide that safe, loving, forever connection for them. Too many children in foster care who have had their connection to their family of origin legally terminated are then left to languish in the system. This nightmare is disproportionately the reality of Black and Native American children, children with disabilities, and children who are Two Spirit or LGBTQ+ who are in foster care. First Focus Campaign for Children applauds your commitment to reducing the number of children who “age out” of foster care and who grow up without a legal family.

The 21st Century Children and Families Act will (1) decrease the number of children in foster care who become legal orphans by updating policies related to the termination of parental rights and (2) increase the pool of supportive adults who can give children a permanent family.

Read the full letter here.