Improving Outcomes for America’s Foster Children

Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett addresses Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) and her "Shadow Day” participants

Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett addresses Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) and her "Shadow Day” participants in the South Court Auditorium in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, May, 29, 2014. Rep. Bass' program brings former foster youth to Washington, D.C. to shadow their Member of Congress. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Yesterday, as a part of National Foster Care Month, I was honored to welcome California Congresswoman Karen Bass, over 60 former foster youth, and the cast members and creators of Disney’s The Fosters to the White House to discuss ways to better ensure the health, safety, and economic empowerment of foster youth, both while in foster care – and when transitioning out of the system.

The group met with leaders from the Departments of Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Education, Interior, Labor, Justice, and Homeland Security. There were a number of enriching discussions throughout their visit, but it was the contributions of the young people in the room which made the most lasting impression. They shared their firsthand knowledge of what works and what doesn’t for foster youth and offered concrete policy recommendations to the administration.

In addition to their visit, today the Department of Health and Human Services announced a list of new policies, programs, and rules designed to improve the foster care system. You can read all about these important new changes here.

We are proud of the steps we have taken, but more work lies ahead to ensure the best possible outcomes for children in foster care. We look forward to reviewing and incorporating the recommendations of today’s visitors as we continue to improve the lives of all young people.

Valerie Jarrett is Senior Advisor to the President and Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls.
Related Topics: Working Families, California