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Good News for Children When Congress Works Together

*Photo credit: Huffington Post

In September 2014, Congress signed into law the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act. Much of the effort to enact this new legislation came from Representatives Dave Camp (R-MI) and Sander Levin (D-MI), Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Representatives David Reichert (R-WA) and Lloyd Doggett (D-TX), as well as The Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) and several other children’s advocates.

According to a Huffington Post article, 23,000 young people transition out of foster care each year without a permanent family and are particularly vulnerable to becoming victims of sex trafficking (other sources estimate 30,000 per year). This new law establishes a National Advisory Committee on the Sex Trafficking of Children and Youth in the United States, and requires child welfare agencies to:

  • determine appropriate services and provide new data on youth that have been victims of sex trafficking
  • report children who are run aways from foster care or victims of sex trafficking to law enforcement

The law also:

  • encourages more opportunities for youth in the foster care system
  • grants foster parents easier permission to allow youth to participate in extracurricular and enrichment activities that are age- or developmentally-appropriate
  • empowers youth to make important decisions about their future
  • ensures they are provided necessary documents such as a drivers license, birth certificate, and Social Security card

Click here to read more about the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act.