Yesterday, President Trump signed an Executive Order aimed at strengthening the child welfare system, directing the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to adopt the following strategies:
- Increase robust community partnerships with public, private, and faith-based organizations with an emphasis on transparency and data sharing across partners.
- Improve access to adequate resources for foster parents, enhancing educational tools for caregivers, and providing trauma-informed training for families.
- Reform federal oversight to ensure states improve access to stable placements and permanent adoptions.
Sandy Santana, Executive Director of Children’s Rights issued a response to the Executive Order, stating:
“Although we await actual regulations and policy changes, we were encouraged by the executive order’s focus on preventing children from being unnecessarily separated from their families and placed in the foster care system, expanding services to support youth at risk of aging out and increasing access to high-quality legal representation for children and families.
“However, although the order encourages measures to increase the number of foster homes available for children, these words ring hollow. At the same time that it purports to encourage foster home recruitment and support, the Trump Administration is in court supporting religious-based discriminatory practices that turn away loving families. We urge the Administration to reconsider this type of religious litmus test as it proceeds to strengthen relationships with faith-based organizations in the child welfare system.”