WASHINGTON, DC, March 24, 2015 – The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI), in partnership with the Congressional Coalition on Adoption (CCA), is pleased to welcome three new CCA Co-Chairs for the 114th Congress today: Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri, Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Representative Trent Franks of Arizona.
The CCA is the largest bicameral, bipartisan Congressional Member organization and works to engage Members of Congress on issues pertaining to children in need of permanency, children in the foster care system, and domestic and international child welfare, as well as to advocate for every child’s right to a safe, stable and loving family. The role of the Co-Chairs is to lead and actively engage their colleagues in Congress and draft and support federal policies that place children in families.
Senator Blunt has served as a member of the CCAI Advisory Council since 2009. He has been a vocal opponent of international bans on U.S. adoptions, and he successfully worked with his colleagues to pass bipartisan resolutions expressing concern regarding adoption suspensions in Russia and the Democratic Republic of Congo in the 112th and 113th Congresses. In 2015, Senators Blunt and Klobuchar reintroduced the “Supporting Adoptive Families Act” to help provide families and children with pre- and post-adoption support services. He co-sponsored the “Uninterrupted Scholars Act,” which was signed into law in 2013 to make school transitions smoother for children in foster care. Senator Blunt also helped introduce the “Accuracy for Adoptees Act,” a law that enables families adopting abroad to correct errors on their children’s birth certificates.
“Every day, families in Missouri and nationwide provide loving and safe homes to children in need through adoption. I’m proud to serve as a Co-Chair of this important caucus and I’ll continue my efforts to make it easier for families to provide children the safe, loving home they deserve,” Senator Blunt stated.
Senator Klobuchar is a strong advocate for adoptive families and children. She helped families who adopt abroad correct errors to birth certificates through the Accuracy for Adoptees Act, which was signed into law in January 2014. She also led the International Adoption Simplification Act, which was signed into law in November 2010, to help siblings stay together during an international adoption. This Congress, she has reintroduced the bipartisan Supporting Adoptive Families Act to help provide pre- and post-adoption support services to adoptive families.
Senator Klobuchar remarked, “American families open their homes and hearts to adopt children from their own communities and around the world. I have long worked to advocate for these loving families, and through my new leadership role in this bipartisan caucus, I intend to build upon my work to eliminate red tape in the adoption process and help keep adoptive families strong.”
Congressman Franks has a long history of involvement in issues pertaining to vulnerable children, including serving in the Arizona Legislature as Chairman of the Subcommittee on Child Protection and Family Preservation where he was a prime sponsor of nationally recognized bills designed to protect children and the family, including the “Child Obscenity and Pornography Bill” and the “Dangerous Crimes Against Children Bill” which gave Arizona some of the strongest child protection laws in the nation. He also served as the Director of the Governor’s office for children and served as Chairman of the Inter-Agency Study Committee on Children and AIDS.
Congressman Franks stated, “Nothing defines a nation more than how it treats its most vulnerable. The protection of children have been a foremost priority for me since the beginning of my political career over three decades ago, and over the past several years I have been honored to work with the Congressional Coalition on Adoption (CCA) and CCAI to ensure there is a pathway to permanency for every child in need of a family. Today I am incredibly excited to step into the role of co-chairing the CCA, and look forward to joining with my fellow co-chairs on the Adoption Coalition in working to elevate the right of every child to know the love, protection and security of a forever family.”
The Co-Chairs and CCA are supported by CCAI, a non-profit institute dedicated to raising awareness about children in need of families both domestically and internationally and to eliminating the policy barriers that hinder children from finding their forever families.
“For the past several years, Senators Blunt and Klobuchar and Representative Franks have each faithfully demonstrated individual passion for child welfare, commitment to the belief that children belong in families, as well as a reputation for bipartisan collaboration on these efforts in the United States Congress. We could not be more delighted that they are stepping collectively into the historic role of leading this premier congressional caucus committed to policies that place children in families,” commented Becky Weichhand, Executive Director of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute.
Over the last 25 years, CCA Members have led Congress in the passage of legislation that has dramatically improved the lives of children and families including the “The Adoption and Safe Families Act,” the “John Chafee Foster Care Independence Act,” the “Promoting Safe and Stable Families Act,” the “Hope for Children Act,” the “Intercountry Adoption Act,” the “Fostering Connections and Increasing Adoptions Act,” and the “Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act.”
By joining the CCA, Members of Congress have the opportunity to participate in programs and events throughout the year that allow them to interact with vulnerable children and youth, the families that care for them, and subject matter experts to hear the stories of the challenges and opportunities they experience and to strengthen federal policy with this information.
Today there are over 400,000 children in foster care, and over 100,000 of these are eligible for adoption, waiting for families to call their own. Children living in orphanages globally are estimated conservatively at eight million, with unknown numbers living on the streets.
The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to raising awareness about the millions of children around the world in need of permanent, safe, and loving homes and to eliminating the barriers that hinder these children from realizing their basic right of a family.