Congresswoman Karen Bass (File photo)

The co-chairs of the Bipartisan Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth, Reps. Karen Bass (D-CA), Don Bacon (R-NE), Jim Langevin (D-RI), Paul Mitchell (R-MI), and Brenda Lawrence (D-MI) issued the following statement marking the beginning of National Foster Care Month.

“National Foster Care Month is a month to honor the successes and challenges of the more than 400,000 foster youth across the country and to acknowledge the tireless efforts of those who work to improve outcomes for children in the child welfare system. Making sure that all children have a permanent and loving home is not a Democratic or Republican issue—it should be an American priority. This May, we come together to celebrate the experiences of the youth who are in, or have been in, the child welfare system and raise awareness about their needs.”

Each May, the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth introduces a resolution to recognize May as National Foster Care Month. Last year the resolution was cosponsored by more than 100 Members of Congress. In addition to re-introducing this important resolution to call attention and raise awareness about this issue, the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth will be hosting a range of events in May, including Congressional briefings on the rights to counsel and meaningful participation.

The Caucus will also be hosting the 8th Annual Foster Youth Shadow Day, during which more than 100 current and former foster youth from across the country will be flown to Washington, D.C. to shadow their Members of Congress. No one knows more about the pitfalls of our nation’s child welfare system than those who grew up in it. These young people are coming to D.C. to share their stories, both their challenges with abuse, trafficking, overmedication, education or homelessness and their successes with mentorship, adoption, family reunification, community activism and independent living. The goal is to help Congress understand how to improve the child welfare system. This year the event will be occurring on June 4.