U.S. Senators Roy Blunt (Mo.) and Amy Klobuchar (Minn.), Co-Chairs of the Congressional Adoption Caucus, encouraged Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary of Administration for Children and Families (ACF) Lynn Johnson and Department of State Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs Carl Risch to raise awareness for National Adoption Month, which begins today, November 1.
As Co-Chairs of the Congressional Adoption Caucus, Blunt and Klobuchar have been leaders in the fight to give every child a permanent home. In May 2019, they introduced the Supporting Adoptive Families Act to support adoptive families and to help provide pre- and post- adoption support services, including mental health treatment, to help adoptive families stay strong.
In February 2019, they introduced legislation to improve the intercountry adoption process. The bipartisan Intercountry Adoption Advisory Committee Act provides the Secretary of State the authority to establish an Intercountry Adoption Advisory Committee within the Bureau of Consular Affairs to focus on coordinating the development, refinement, and implementation of policy and programs on intercountry adoption. Last year, they sent a letter urging the Bureau of Consular Affairs at the U.S. Department of State to ensure that the dialogue between the DOS, Congress, and the Adoption Service Providers (ASPs) continues and that members and experts in the adoption community are consulted in efforts to develop and implement policies that advance intercountry adoption.
The full text of the letter:
Dear Assistant Secretary Johnson and Assistant Secretary Risch:
As Co-Chairs of the Congressional Adoption Caucus, we urge you to take action to raise awareness of the importance of adoption as National Adoption Month begins. During this month, we encourage the Department of Health and Human Services and Department of State to highlight and advocate for much-needed support and resources for foster youth and children waiting to be adopted both domestically and internationally, as well as for the people working to find children loving and permanent homes.
Like so many, we share the belief that every child should have a safe home and a loving family. With countless children in the world without a permanent home, including over 437,300 children in foster care across the country – 125,400 of those children waiting for adoption – we urge HHS and DOS to help these children find permanent homes through adoption from the foster care system, domestic private agencies, intercountry adoption, and family guardianship.
With the help of HHS and DOS, we can continue to increase awareness and build support for those who provide the resources, services, and partnerships that help better the lives of our children. All children deserve much more than just a roof over their heads and a bed to sleep in – every child deserves a loving home, a nurturing family, and a brighter future.