Yesterday, the White House commemorated National Foster Care Month with a roundtable highlighting seven young people with lived experience in the child welfare system. The meeting was convened by Assistant Secretary of the Administration for Children and Families January Contreras, White House American Rescue Plan Coordinator Gene Sperling, White House Office of Management and Budget Associate Director for Education, Income Maintenance and Labor Sherry Lachman, Deputy Assistant to the President for Racial Justice and Equity Chiraag Bains, Deputy Assistant to the President for Economic Mobility Carmel Martin, and Domestic Policy Advisor to Vice President Harris Rohini Kosoglu. The participants came to the White House from Florida, Kentucky, Maine, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, and Washington, D.C.
Participants discussed the importance of increased mental health services and trauma support for children in the child welfare system, the importance of kinship care, sibling connections, peer mentorship, and culturally competent placement, the need for continued resources for foster youth as they transition out of care, and the link between the child welfare system and the criminal justice system. Participants noted the disproportionate impact of the child welfare system on children of color, especially Black and Native youth, and on LGBTQI+ youth.
Administration officials highlighted the President and Vice President’s commitment to child welfare reforms, including the $10 billion increase in funding proposed in the President’s fiscal year 2023 Budget, which includes investments to support prevention and kinship care, expand support for youth aging out of foster care, and reduce reliance on congregate care. Administration officials also highlighted the President’s whole-of-government commitment to equity, strategy to address the national mental health crisis, and resources available to foster youth and transition-aged youth through the American Rescue Plan.