NEW YORK—President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday aimed at strengthening child-welfare programs nationwide.
It comes as child-protection agencies across the United States struggle with effects related to the coronavirus pandemic.
Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar hailed the order as a step toward bold reforms. The goals are ambitious—curtailing child maltreatment, strengthening adoption programs and encouraging supports for at-risk families so fewer children need to be separated from their homes and placed in foster care.
The executive order envisions three basic areas of reform:
- Creating “robust partnerships” between state agencies and public, private, faith-based, and community organizations. The goals would include the development of community-based, abuse-prevention, and family support services and holding states accountable for recruiting an adequate number of foster and adoptive families.
- Improving resources provided to caregivers and those in care. The order says HHS will increase the availability of trauma-informed training, support guardianship through funding and grants, and enhance support for kinship care and for the roughly 20,000 young people who age out of foster care each year.
- Improving federal oversight over key statutory child welfare requirements. Among other steps, this proposal directs HHS to advise states on the possible use of federal funds to support high-quality legal representation for parents and children.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) June 25, 2020
According to HHS, there are about 430,000 children now in the U.S. foster care system, including nearly 124,000 who are eligible for adoption.
About 20,000 of these young peopRead More From Source