Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) and Charles Grassley (R-IA) have reintroducing a bill that is intended to help states identify children who come into contact with both the child welfare and juvenile justice systems (dual status children and youth).

The Childhood Outcomes Need New Efficient Community Teams or CONNECT Act would authorize competitive grants to improve data collection on dual status youth and encourage better cooperation between state agencies overseeing juvenile justice and child welfare programs. Peters and Grassley had introduced the bill late last year. Senator Grassley co-chairs the Senate Caucus on Foster Youth, and Senator Peters is a member of the Caucus.

CWLA has endorsed the legislation, “The CONNECT Act continues to be an important opportunity to understand and promote better coordination between two critical agencies – child welfare and juvenile justice,” said Christine James-Brown, President and CEO of the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA). “CWLA believes that this coordination needs to be a higher priority and we are pleased that Senator Grassley and Senator Peters are continuing their commitment to this effort and legislation. CWLA hopes that this bill can become a reality this year.”

The bill could have an opportunity if and when the Congress reauthorizes the Title IV-B programs due to expire on September 30, 2017.