Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth Chair U.S. Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) joined U.S. Sen. Mary L. Landrieu (D-La.), HHS Assistant Secretary George Sheldon and former foster youth in touting the President’s signing of Uninterrupted Scholars Act
Washington, D.C. – Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth Chair U.S. Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif) joined U.S. Sen. Mary L. Landrieu (D-La.), Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary of the Administration for Children and Families George Sheldon and a former foster youth in touting President Obama’s signing of the Uninterrupted Scholars Act (USA), which grants child welfare agencies access to the education records of children within their care.
USA is a common sense, no-cost legislative fix that will have a positive impact on hundreds of thousands of foster children across the country. It is the first major legislative achievement of the bipartisan Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth, under which Chairwoman Bass worked with caucus members to move this legislation through the House of Representatives.
Previously, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) made it difficult for child welfare agencies to obtain education records in a timely fashion, causing many foster youth to have to complete the same coursework multiple times and graduate late. This resulted in many foster youth choosing to drop out of school.
By granting child welfare agencies access to foster youth school records, USA is providing these youth with additional advocates who will ensure they have what they need to succeed academically while preserving the educational privacy rights granted to students under current federal law.
Representative Bass said:
“USA is a concrete step forward to keep foster youth from slipping through the cracks in our education and child welfare systems. With this landmark legislation, Congress is helping to tackle foster care dropout rates head on and giving those who care for foster youth an additional tool to advocate for those in their care. Today marks a victory for the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth and foster youth across the nation.”