KLOBUCHAR INTRODUCES BILL TO HELP MORE CHILDREN FIND HOMES THROUGH INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION AND CHILD WELFARE EFFORTS

WASHINGTON, D.C. – (RealEstateRama) — The United Nations Children’s Fund estimates that 13 million children across the globe have lost both parents and as many as eight million children are living in institutional care; Despite the clear need for more permanent homes for these children, the number of international adoptions in the U.S. has decreased by 72 percent since 2004

The bipartisan Vulnerable Children and Families Act would help more children living without families or in institutional care find permanent homes by enhancing U.S. diplomatic efforts around international child welfare and ensuring that intercountry adoption in the U.S. becomes a more viable and fully-developed option

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Roy Blunt (R-MO), co-chairs of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption, have introduced a bill that would help more children find homes through international adoption and child welfare efforts. The United Nations Children’s Fund estimates that 13 million children across the globe have lost both parents and as many as eight million children are living in institutional care. Despite the clear need for more permanent homes for these children, the number of international adoptions in the U.S. has decreased by 72 percent since 2004. The bipartisan Vulnerable Children and Families Act would help more children living without families or in institutional care find permanent homes by enhancing U.S. diplomatic efforts around international child welfare and ensuring that intercountry adoption in the U.S. becomes a more viable and fully-developed option.

“As Hennepin County attorney and as the Senate co-chair of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption, and from a state with a strong tradition of adoption, I know the power of adoption,” Klobuchar said. “We can and must do more to provide vulnerable children, especially those who have been in institutional care, with the opportunity to be adopted into safe and nurturing homes. This bipartisan legislation will strengthen our relationships with nations across the world, while also making a difference in the lives of many families.”

Representative Kay Granger (R-TX) plans to introduce the House companion bill.

The Vulnerable Children and Families Act would:

Ensure that international child welfare and efforts to provide permanent and safe homes for vulnerable children are a central part of international diplomacy and U.S. foreign policy within the State Department.
Replace the current U.S. Department of State Office of Children’s Issues with an Office of Vulnerable Children and Family Security. This office would build international capacity to implement effective child welfare systems, with particular focus on family preservation and reunification, domestic adoption, and intercountry adoption.
Require that data on children living without families or in institutional settings be included in the Department of State’s annual human rights report.
Create a new annual report to Congress on the technical assistance being provided to foreign countries to promote family-based permanence under the Act.
Strengthen coordination between the Office of Vulnerable Children and Family Security and the Special Advisor for Children in Adversity at the United States Agency for International Development, and ensures the two offices are working together to implement the objectives outlined in the 2012 Action Plan on Children in Adversity.
The legislation is supported by the National Council for Adoption, American Academy of Adoption Attorneys, Christian Alliance for Orphans, Saddleback Church, Harvard Law School Child Advocacy Program, Bethany Christian Services, Nourished Hearts, Center for Adoption Policy, and Gladney Center for Adoption.

As co-chair of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption, Klobuchar is a strong advocate for adoptive families and children. Last year, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed a bill she cosponsored to waive recurring visa fees for families whose adoptive children are unable to immigrate in a timely manner due to exceptional circumstances. She has introduced the Supporting Adoptive Families Act to help provide pre- and post-adoption support services, including mental health treatment, to help adoptive families stay strong. In addition, Klobuchar authored the International Adoption Simplification Act to help siblings stay together during an international adoption and protect adoptees from unsafe immunizations in foreign countries, which was signed into law on November 30, 2010.

Klobuchar has also worked closely with adoptive Minnesota families to help them bring their children home from countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guatemala, Vietnam, Ethiopia, and Russia.

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