THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT
Hillary and I are pleased that the House of Representatives, by an overwhelming bipartisan margin, today approved H.R. 1802, the Foster Care Independence Act of 1999. This legislation recognizes that we have a responsibility to ensure that youth in foster care have the tools they need to make the most of their lives. I am pleased that the measure builds on the proposals in my budget request to provide those leaving foster care with access to health care and to expand and improve educational opportunities, training, housing assistance, counseling, and other support and services.
Each year, approximately 20,000 young people leave our nation's foster care system at age eighteen without an adoptive family or other permanent family relationship, but federal financial support ends just as they are making the critical transition to independence. Without the emotional, social, and financial support that families provide, many of these young people are not adequately prepared for life on their own.
For our nation's foster youth, their eighteenth birthday can be the start of a very tough road alone. This bill is an important step forward to help them in their struggle to become successful, independent adults. The end of foster care should not be the end of caring for these young people.
I'd like to thank Representatives Nancy Johnson and Ben Cardin, the sponsors of the Foster Care Independence Act of 1999, for their hard work and dedication to this issue. I look forward to working with them and with members of Congress on both sides of the aisle in the months ahead to enact meaningful and fiscally responsible legislation to enable these young people to live up to their God-given potential.
NOTE: Sound from the President on the passage of the Foster Care Independence Act should be available after 6:00 PM ET on the White House Press Office Radio Actuality Line at 202/456-5671.