Technical assistance

Gonzales Supports Foster Youth Search and Protection Act

Bipartisan legislation co-sponsored by U.S. Representative Tony Gonzales (R-TX) would require the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to identify barriers preventing appropriate support for missing foster children and other vulnerable youth in a host family.

“The number of children missing from our foster care system is horrific and heartbreaking,” Rep. Gonzales said Wednesday. “I am thrilled to join this bipartisan effort to keep our most vulnerable children safe. »

The Find and Protect Foster Youth Act, HR 7210, which Rep. Gonzales co-sponsored March 24 alongside the bill’s sponsor, U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), would create a communication loop between states and the Children and Families Administration (ACF) to improve care and information sharing for these young people in care, according to a summary of the bill provided by lawmakers.

“Improved communication between state and federal agencies will help all children have a safe place to call home,” Rep. Gonzales said.

If passed, the bill would also require the Secretary of HHS to provide technical assistance related to removing barriers to providing support and would require the ACF to report to Congress on progress in regaining young adoptees who are missing and prevent runaways.

“In 2020, more than 4,000 foster children in the United States went missing — referred to simply as ‘runaways’ and left behind by the foster care system,” the rep said. Johnson. “The system was designed to protect these children, but when thousands of them go missing every year, it’s clear there’s a serious problem.”

HR 7210, which has been approved by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, has been forwarded to the US House Ways and Means Committee for review. This is the same bill as S. 3907, which U.S. senses John Cornyn (R-TX) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) introduced on March 23.