On November 30, 2023, the House Ways and Means Committee held a markup to examine HR 2426 the “Find and Protect Foster Youth Act” and HR 3058 “Recruiting Families Using Data Act of 2023.” Both bills are bipartisan and bicameral, and both were passed out of committee and will proceed to the full House of Representatives.

The “Find and Protect Foster Youth Act” requires the Children’s Bureau of the Office of the Administration for Children and Families to provide States, Indian tribes, and tribal organizations with information, advice, educational materials, and technical assistance to eliminate obstacles for identifying and responding to reports of missing children from foster care. This bill was introduced by Representative Tony Gonzales [R-TX] with 18 cosponsors, to ensure states meet the requirements for reporting missing children.

Subcommittee Ranking Member Danny Davis [D-IL] provided comments to highlight the importance of this bill to improve guidance and have better outcomes for foster youth. Subcommittee Chairman Darin LaHood [R-IL] and Subcommittee Members Gwen Moore [D-WI], and Blake Moore [R-UT], expressed hopes for reauthorization of Title IV-B in the coming year. Representative Ron Estes [R-KS] touched on how although this bill is a small correction, it is an important step to improving the outcomes for foster youth.

The Senate version of the Find and Protect Foster Youth Act, introduced by Senators Cornyn (R-TX), Stabenow (D-MI), Grassley (R-IA) and Capito (R-WV), passed the Senate on October 31, 2023.

Recruiting Families Using Data Act of 2023” will amend parts of Title IV-B and E to improve foster and adoptive parent recruitment and retention measures. This bill will require States to implement plans for collecting data to improve the retention and recruitment of foster parents. Representative Dan Kildee [D-MI] sponsored this bill with four cosponsors.

Original cosponsor Representative Randy Feenstra [R-IA] provided the opening statement, remarking the dire need for foster families and an improvement by the States to recruit and retain foster parents. Representative Kildee emphasized the impact of the limited data on recruitment and retention, as States and agencies must know where to begin efforts, the importance of collaborating with families and children in the system in this process. Representatives David Schweikert [R-AZ], Danny Davis [D-IL], Judy Chu [D-CA], Gwen Moore [D-WI], and Dwight Evans [D-PA] all commented on the urgent need for this bill and called for more work to be done.

There is a Senate version of this bill, sponsored by Senators Grassley (R-IA) and Hassan (D-NH).

With no opposition, both bills will be moving to the House. The commitment to marking up and moving forward these two important bills highlights the continued bipartisan collaboration on child welfare concerns and hopefully will create some momentum going into the new year, when it is likely that Title IV-B reauthorization will begin in earnest.

By Harper Dilley, Policy Intern, with Kati Mapa, Director of Public Policy