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Sunday, July 5, 2020

Child Welfare Emergency Assistance Act

On Thursday, July 2, 2020, United States Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Kamala D. Harris (D-CA), Bob Casey (D-PA) and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) introduced the Child Welfare Emergency Assistance Act, comprehensive legislation to provide flexible, emergency aid for key child welfare programs working to support young people and families during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Older Youth Provisions in this Act include:

  • Providing $500 million for the John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program to ensure young people have access to supports, such as housing, food, and cash assistance, and allow more of these funds to cover housing costs for foster youth. Funds could also be used for education and training vouchers, which help young people cover the cost of education.
  • Removing the 30% cap on utilizing Chafee funding for housing for foster care youth and young adults.
  • Establishing a moratorium on “aging out” of foster care to ensure no young person is cut off from critical housing and support services during the public health emergency.

“Sen. Brown’s efforts to seek out and understand the experience of current and former foster youth like myself, throughout the state of Ohio in the face of this pandemic is evident throughout the Child Welfare Emergency Assistance Act,” said Clo√© Cooper of ACTION Ohio.  “More often than not, we have nobody in our corner – and during the economic and health crisis this can prove deadly. I am proud to be an Ohioan where people like Senator Brown and his team are champions for young people like myself and include our voices in their policy-making.”

Senator Sherrod Brown previously urged the Trump Administration in March to issue national guidance for child welfare agencies who must still work to protect and support children during the COVID-19 outbreak.

In a letter sent to Vice President Mike Pence and Administration on Children, Youth and Families Commissioner Elizabeth Darling, Brown urged the Administration to issue comprehensive guidance to states and tribes to ensure youth have access to the full range of support services required to meet their educational, health, and housing needs, regardless of where they live.

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