As Prepared For Delivery:
Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you for joining us. I’m Neera Tanden, Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council.
In the Biden-Harris Administration, we believe that the most solemn responsibility of the government is to make life better for children in our country.
That’s especially true for the 391,000 American children and youth living in foster care. For too long, our foster care system has let these kids – and their families – down. Every child in America deserves to grow up in safe and loving homes devoted to their health, happiness, and success.
That’s why, since day one, the Biden-Harris Administration has made it a top priority to make long overdue investments in the foster care system, and advance equity in the child welfare system. We’ve taken important steps, like:
- Investing hundreds of millions of dollars in community-based child abuse and neglect prevention programs.
- Proposing a $9 billion expansion to provide housing vouchers to all 20,000 youth exiting foster care annually — a key step in helping them secure stable housing during this difficult transition.
- And bringing the child poverty rate to a historic low during the expanded Child Tax Credit, preventing children from being unnecessarily removed from their families because of family poverty.
Today, I am excited to announce that the Biden-Harris Administration, through the Department of Health and Human services, is releasing three new rules that will have a profound impact on child welfare in America. On their own, and together, the rules represent one of the most substantial advances in child welfare in a generation. They will be transformative for families. These new rules will:
- Support kinship caregivers – family members who step forward to care for a child in foster care – by making it easier for them to access resources and financial assistance.
- Protect LGBTQI+ youth in foster care from abuse and mistreatment and ensure they have the services they need to thrive.
- And expand access to legal services for children and families in the child welfare system.
In a moment, Secretary Becerra is going to walk us through these three impactful rules.
Let me close by sharing that I’m especially proud we’re making these announcements today – in recognition of National Kinship Care Month, a time when we honor the grandmas and grandpas, aunts and uncles, and family members all across the country to step in to care for a child in their family enters foster care. With these rules, we’re making a real difference in the lives of tens of thousands of families across the country, ensuring they have the supports and the protections they need.
With that, Secretary Becerra let me thank you for your leadership on transforming our foster care system and turn it over to you.