• February/March 2002
  • Vol. 3, No. 2

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Reauthorized Safe and Stable Families Program Adds Emphasis on Marriage, Education for Foster Youth

President Bush signed the Promoting Safe and Stable Families Amendments of 2001 (H.R. 2873) into law on January 17, reauthorizing the program through 2006.

The legislation authorizes $305 million in mandatory spending and $200 million in discretionary spending. (For FY 2002, $70 million in discretionary funding has been appropriated. President Bush has asked Congress to fully fund the program in FY 2003.)

At the bill signing, President Bush described the bipartisan bill as "a really good piece of legislation." He said, "the legislation reaffirms our country's commitment to helping children grow up in secure and loving families by encouraging adoption; by helping young adults make their way after they leave foster care; and by expanding mentoring for children who have a mom and dad in prison."

The Promoting Safe and Stable Families program provides funding to State and Tribal child welfare agencies for family support, family preservation, time-limited family reunification, and adoption promotion and support services. The amended law clarifies that the following two activities can be funded under the program: promoting healthy marriages to further the well-being of children and Infant Safe Haven programs, which give parents who otherwise would abandon their infants an option for relinquishment.

The Court Improvement Program (CIP) also was reauthorized as part of the bill. CIP provides grants to help State courts improve their handling of foster care and adoption proceedings. The bill reauthorized CIP's mandatory funding at $10 million annually and authorizes an additional 3.3 percent of any discretionary funding for the court improvement program.

The law permanently authorizes $60 million in funds to provide education vouchers for youth aging out of foster care. (This initiative did not receive funding for FY 2002, but is included in President Bush's 2003 budget.) The law also authorizes $67 million for FY 2002 and 2003 for a grants to support mentoring for children of prisoners. (No funds were appropriated for this program for FY 2002.)

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To read President Bush's remarks at the bill signing, visit the White House website (http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/01/20020117-6.html)

To read a statement by HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson on the legislation, visit the HHS website (http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2002.html).

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