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Congress Vacations while Wait Continues for Foster Care North Dakota Kids

August 8, 2008

Washington D.C. - Lawmakers in Washington have left hundreds of North Dakota children in the lurch. Congress was set to pass a bill that would help children in foster care find permanent homes or transition out of foster care - but instead has left on vacation for five weeks. That means the lives of some 1,200 children in the foster care system in North Dakota are on hold. Many of them are expected either to be placed in multiple homes or to "age out" of the system without ever finding permanent homes.

Beth Davis Pratt, with the Children’s Defense Fund, says more than a half-million children nationally have no permanent homes.

"129,000 are waiting for adoption, 26,000 age out of foster care every year, and that is why we think these provisions are critical for all these children. "

One critical provision, according to Pratt, that Congress will have to address right away is the Adoption Incentives Program.

"It has helped nearly 450,000 children find adoptive homes since it was enacted in the late 1990s, and it will expire September 30 without action."

North Dakota has a continuing need for foster parents. For information on how to become one, contact the North Dakota Department of Human Services.

Dick Layman/Don Mathisen, Public News Service - ND