Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Al Franken (D-MN) and Representatives Tim Walz (D-MN) and Betty McCollum (D-MN) introduced the National Child Protection Training Act, S. 3653/H.R. 6629, which aims to improve child abuse training programs and enhance child protection nationwide. Co-sponsors of the bills include Senators Mark Pryor (D-AR) and John Boozman (R-AR) and Representative Steve Womack (R-AR). The legislation builds on the efforts of child protection training centers in Arkansas and Minnesota which have developed classes, certification and degree programs to help improve child protection training. Under the bill the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Protection would establish four regional training facilities to develop model undergraduate and graduate child maltreatment curricula and disseminate them to community colleges, colleges, universities, law schools, medical schools, and other institutions of higher education. The centers would also assist communities in developing evidence-based prevention programs.
This week Senator John Kerry (D-MA) will introduce the Foster Youth Higher Education Opportunities Act, S. 3665, to better ensure youth in foster care know about their eligibility for college assistance programs. The legislation requires the Department of Education (Ed) to inform Free Application for Student Federal Aid (FASFA) filers who check the box indicating that they are in or were in foster care of their potential eligibility for all federal higher education programs, including the John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program. In addition, the legislation requires Ed to add youth in foster care as a targeted population on their website by providing a section on their potential eligibility for financial aid and other specific assistance programs.
Finally, Representatives Bobby Scott (D-VA), Silvestre Reyes (D-TX), and Ed Pastor (D-AZ) added their name to the long list of co-sponsors supporting House Resolution 760. They join 91 other Representatives and Resolution sponsor, Jim McGovern (D-MA) in rejecting reductions in the availability or amount of benefits provided under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps). Legislation reauthorizing SNAP, known as the Farm Bill, still needs to be passed before Congress closes this session.