AAP FEDERAL FOSTER CARE LEGISLATION NEEDS YOUR HELP-ACT NOW!

National AAP is working to pass the Family First Prevention Services Act, which would strengthen federal child welfare laws to better protect vulnerable children and strengthen families. The bill would offer states the option of using federal foster care funding to support mental health, substance abuse and parenting skills programs benefiting families of children at risk of entering foster care, ensure children are placed in non-family settings only when necessary to meet their needs, and require that non-family settings such as group homes be accredited and have licensed clinical and nursing staff. This bill passed the House on a unanimous voice vote in June, but stalled because some interest groups have tried to weaken provisions regarding staff licensing. There are two ways you can help: Self-identify as an AAP Foster Care Champion: if you would like to join the list of pediatricians National works with on targeted foster care advocacy email Zach Laris in the AAP DC office at zlaris [at] aap.org. Briefly share your background and expertise, as well as any stories from your work that you think might be pertinent. National will reach out to you with targeted opportunities to help foster care advocacy efforts based on your expertise and location Contact our CA Senators' offices and ask them to pass the bill as written and without delay when they return in September. You can contact the offices of Senator Barbara Boxer and the offices of Senator Dianne Feinstein online, in person or via phone call. Even in a state as large as California, constituent calls and letters make a big difference! When communicating with these offices, discuss how your professional experiences as a pediatrician have informed your opinion, as pediatricians' voices command a great deal of respect among policymakers.