Today, President Donald Trump signed a new Executive Order (EO) that will help protect vulnerable children by strengthening child-welfare programs across the country through the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
In an official press release on HHS’ Administration for Children and Families website, the president announced that the initiative will focus on “three key areas of action: improving partnerships, improving resources and improving oversight.”
“President Trump’s executive order demonstrates how his administration has prioritized placing each of America’s foster kids with the loving, permanent family they deserve,” HHS Secretary Alex Azar said. “Since the President took office, we have focused on promoting adoption unlike any previous administration, and we’ve begun to see results. The President’s executive order lays out bold reforms for our work with states, communities, and faith-based partners to build a brighter future for American kids who are in foster care or in crisis.”
According to reports, about 430,000 children are in the foster care system, and roughly 124,000 of those children are waiting for adoption. Sadly, each year there are about 20,000 children who age out of the foster care system without “the support of a loving, permanent family.”
This EO is designed to address these issues and ensure that children are given the stability and support they need to flourish.
“Our number one goal is to help our children and youth by making improvements to our child welfare system, and I’m incredibly grateful to President Trump for taking this monumental action today,” said the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) Assistant Secretary Lynn Johnson. “These strong actions support vulnerable children and youth nationwide by advancing measures to reduce child abuse and neglect, encouraging family preservation, and strengthening adoption and other forms of permanency for America’s kids.”
In addition, these reforms will help create “robust partnerships between state agencies and public, private, faith-based and community organizations.” It will also provide support and resources for caregivers. Finally, the EO will also help “improve federal oversight over key statutory child welfare requirements.”
Dr. Sharen Ford, director of Focus on the Family’s Foster Care and Adoption Program Wait No More, said in a statement to The Daily Citizen, “President Trump’s executive order is highlighting an important issue, there are ministries and faith-based organizations ready to work alongside state and local government to serve children and their families. Collaboration is key. Every state needs more foster and adoptive families. Collaborating with faith based licensed child placement agencies to recruit families to become temporary caregivers or permanent families for children is essential. Additionally, there are churches that would gladly provide wrap around services to families fostering or adopting to ensure children have stability in their placements.”
All children deserve to grow up in a loving and supportive home, but sometimes, due to difficult domestic abuse, drug addiction or death, children are left vulnerable. This new EO is poised to help protect children and either transition them back into more stable home environments or adopted into a loving family.
Photo from The White House