02.24.14

Senator Tammy Baldwin’s Bipartisan Legislation Gains Broad National Support

Washington D.C. - U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin’s Quality Foster Care Services Act, which she introduced with Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) earlier this month, is gaining broad national support. On Friday, 265 national and state organizations sent a letter to Congressional leadership in support of the Quality Foster Care Services Act.
 
“This bipartisan legislation improves health care and mental health services for some of the most vulnerable youths in our country and ensures that healthy, community-based options are available to the young people who need it most,” said Senator Baldwin. “By training foster families to care for their unique needs, these children will find some stability in their home life, often for the very first time.”
 
The Quality Foster Care Services Act increases access to quality care by clarifying Medicaid policy that directly affects foster children with special behavioral health needs and/or medical disabilities. Treatment Foster Care (TFC) provides critical services to approximately 40,000 foster children across the country. The model works to keep its particularly vulnerable youth out of costly and often ineffective institutional care. In addition, it provides needed clinical therapy options to youth in lieu of overmedication.
 
At Tuesday’s Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee hearing on Examining Mental Health: Treatment Options and Trends, Baldwin will highlight her legislation with hearing witnesses.
 
Senator Baldwin is dedicated to improving access to high-quality foster care services nationwide because of Wisconsin’s exemplary TFC agencies and quality services provided across the state. According to the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families, TFC provides quality services to roughly 1,000 children per year. Wisconsin TFC providers, including the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin Community Services, have been recognized for providing quality services to at-risk youth.
 
"Children's Hospital of Wisconsin applauds Senator Baldwin for championing this important legislation," said Amy Herbst, VP Child Welfare, Community Services Division, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin. "By doing so she puts first the needs of the country's most vulnerable kids.  As a long-standing provider of TFC we know first-hand that trauma informed, therapeutic family placements are effective in providing for the safety, permanence and well-being of children needing a higher-level of care. TFC Care parents are specially trained and provide individualized, nurturing, therapeutic care. TFC is a successful and cost-effective means to care for some of our most vulnerable kids. Great progress can be made when policy makers focus on these kids."
 
Last Friday, Senator Baldwin visited Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in Wauwatosa and met with representatives from Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin Community Services, LaCausa Treatment Foster Care Program of Milwaukee, New Horizon Center, Inc. of Milwaukee, and Anu Family Services of Eau Claire.
 
More information about the Quality Foster Care Services Act, including what leaders in Wisconsin are saying, can be found here.