Smucker bill to aid foster children passes U.S. House

U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R-16)

WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R-16) announced this week that his bill to make the foster care system more family-friendly by making it easier to place foster children in the home of a family member has passed the U.S. House and will move to the U.S. Senate.

On Tuesday, the House passed Rep. Smucker’s bipartisan legislation that he introduced with Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07). The Reducing Barriers for Relative Foster Parents Act will help states identify ways to expedite foster placement of children with family members.

A 2014 study from the University of Houston, as well as a report from Generations United, confirms that placing foster children in the home of a family member results in children spending less time in foster care, higher stability of placement, and continued benefits after exiting state custody. This bipartisan legislation directs the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to modernize foster care licensing standards that states can use as a model to update their own standards.

In a Washington Examiner op-ed on the bill, Reps. Smucker and Sewell said:

“In 2015 more than 670,000 American children – and more than 20,000 in Pennsylvania and Alabama – spent time in foster care. Countless relative and non-relative foster families across the country are willing and eager to accept foster children into their homes; however, research shows that placement with a relative is better for the child. Therefore, federal policy should make it easier for foster children to be placed with family members whenever possible.”

“When it comes to finding loving homes for children, there are no Republicans or Democrats – just mothers and fathers, aunts and uncles, and sons and daughters who believe each child should have a bed to be tucked into at night in a loving home.”

On Tuesday afternoon, Rep. Smucker spoke on the House floor to urge his colleagues to support his bipartisan legislation.


Additionally, Rep. Sewell spoke on the House floor to urge passage of the legislation. You can watch her speak here. Rep. Mike Kelly (PA-03), a cosponsor of Rep. Smucker’s legislation, also spoke in support of the legislation. You can watch that video here.

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