President Trump Signs Historic Executive Order to help foster and adoptive parents

Will bolster  foster care and adoption agencies which have been deeply affected by the pandemic

By Dave Andrusko

On Wednesday, the same day the Senate confirmed President Trump’s 200th judicial appointment, the President signed what was accurately described as a “Historic Child Welfare Executive Order” to help foster and adoptive parents.

The order seeks to strengthen child welfare programs to help children and families in difficult circumstances. It aims both to promote safe homes so children do not need to enter the foster system and to encourage adoption for the foster children who cannot safely return to their birth parents.

“Our number one goal is to help our children and youth by making improvements to our child welfare system, and I’m incredibly grateful to President Trump for taking this monumental action today,” said the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) Assistant Secretary Lynn Johnson. “These strong actions support vulnerable children and youth nationwide by advancing measures to reduce child abuse and neglect, encouraging family preservation, and strengthening adoption and other forms of permanency for America’s kids.”

“‘President Trump’s executive order demonstrates how his administration has prioritized placing each of America’s foster kids with the loving, permanent family they deserve,” added U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar. “Since the President took office, we have focused on promoting adoption unlike any previous administration, and we’ve begun to see results.”

The President’s Executive Order comes at a pivotal time. As the Associated Press’ David Crary noted, “It comes as child-protection agencies across the U.S. struggle with effects related to the coronavirus pandemic.”

“White House senior advisor Kellyanne Conway told reporters on Wednesday that the order would aim to bolster foster care and adoption agencies which have been affected by the pandemic.”

 According to HHS, 

Currently, there are approximately 430,000 children in the foster care system. Of those 430,000 children, there are nearly 124,000 children in foster care who have a plan for adoption, but have not yet achieved the permanency of a forever family. Each year, close to 20,000 youth age out of care without the support of a loving, permanent family. Many of these young men and women will experience higher rates of homelessness, incarceration, and unemployment after they leave foster care. Through three key reforms to the child welfare system outlined in the Executive Order, this Administration is standing up for vulnerable children and families, pursuing child safety, as well as permanency and child and family well-being.

The Executive Order offers “three key reforms that will strengthen the child welfare system and promote permanency for children in the foster care system nationwide.” 

  • The first reform aims at creating robust partnerships between state agencies and public, private, faith-based and community organizations. 
  • The second reform seeks to improve resources provided to caregivers and those in care. 
  • The third reform would improve federal oversight over key statutory child welfare requirements. children.

Pro-life advocates hailed the Executive Order. Thomas Glessner, president of  The National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA), said Wednesday, “We cannot talk about the end of abortion in America without mentioning adoption as a solution.”