The National Campaign Applauds Introduction of Legislation that Supports the Success of Foster Youth
May 26 2017
(Washington, DC)—As the nation celebrates both National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month and National Foster Care Month in May, The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy (The National Campaign) is pleased to announce support for the Supporting Foster Youth in Successful Parenting Act of 2017 (H.R. 2682). The bill, introduced yesterday by Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-IL), will provide youth in foster care with relevant information and services to prevent unplanned pregnancy while also supporting expectant or parenting youth so that they and their children can thrive.
“As we celebrate historic declines in teen pregnancy in our nation, progress remains uneven especially among youth in foster care,” said Ginny Ehrlich, CEO of The National Campaign. “By supporting awareness, innovation, research and collaboration, this bill will help those working at the national, state and community level to better meet the unique sexual health needs of young people in foster care.”
The bill will also provide dedicated funding to states, Native American tribes, and U.S. territories to identify, develop, replicate and evaluate strategies that meet the unique circumstance of young people in foster care. This could include working directly with youth as well as with foster parents, child welfare staff and other public and private stakeholders to prevent unintended pregnancy and promote successful parenting. Through funding and policy changes, the bill will strengthen the capacity of the child welfare system to better meet the needs of young people.
Despite broad and sustained declines in teen pregnancy in the United States, teens in foster care experience pregnancy at twice the rate of their peers and by age 19, nearly one-half of girls in foster care become pregnant.
There has been growing attention to the challenge of pregnancy and parenting among youth in and transitioning from foster care. In 2015, The National Campaign convened more than 100 national, state, and local experts, including foster youth, to discuss ways to address teen pregnancy prevention among youth in foster care. Rep. Davis’ bill builds on a number of the recommendations emerging from that gathering.
“This pioneering bill builds on innovative efforts underway in some states and communities and will ensure that more youth in foster care across the county receive the support they need to achieve their goals. By empowering youth in foster care with the tools and supports that give them the power to decide if, when, and under what circumstances to get pregnant, we can improve opportunities for these young people and their children,” Ehrlich stated.
The National Campaign also is pleased to join with other national organizations including the Center for the Study of Social Policy, Child Welfare League of America, Children’s Defense Fund, the National Association of Black Social Workers, National Crittenton Foundation, The National Foster Youth Institute, and ZERO TO THREE, to support this important legislation.
For additional information and resources about teen pregnancy and youth in foster care, visit our Child Welfare and Juvenile Justice Web portal.
About The National Campaign: The National Campaign is a private, non-partisan, non-profit organization that seeks to improve the lives and future prospects of children and families by preventing teen and unplanned pregnancy. Please visit us at www.TheNationalCampaign.org or follow along on Facebook and Twitter.