Gonzales’ bipartisan bill seeks to protect foster youth

U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-TX) sponsored a bipartisan bill on March 30 that would help reduce the number of missing and runaway children in the foster care system.

“Far too many foster children have gone off the radar in Texas and across the nation,” said Rep. Gonzales. “These vulnerable children are at risk of being sexually exploited or harmed, and lawmakers must do more to prevent them from slipping through the cracks of our broken foster care system.”

The Find and Protect Foster Youth Act, H.R. 2426, was introduced by Rep. Gonzales, along with cosponsors U.S. Reps. Shontel Brown (D-OH), Don Bacon (R-NE), and Dan Newhouse (R-WA), among others. If enacted, the legislation would create better feedback between states and the Administration of Children and Families (ACF) to provide stronger oversight and information-sharing related to missing and runaway foster youth.

Specifically, the legislation would require the ACF to study shortcomings in the process of identifying and responding to incidents of missing children in existing state foster care systems. Additionally, it would establish screenings for children returned to foster care to determine if they were victims of sex trafficking in their absence from foster care. The proposal would also require a report to Congress on the results of the evaluation of each state’s protocol and the assistance provided to them, according to a bill summary provided by Rep. Gonzales’ office.

“I am proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation to improve communication between state and federal agencies to guarantee the safety of our most vulnerable of children,” Rep. Gonzales said.

The bill is under consideration in the House Ways and Means Committee.