Grassley Bill Would Help Foster Children Affected by Methamphetamine, Other Substance Abuse PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Friday, 24 June 2011 12:15

WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa has introduced legislation to extend a program he established to help children who are in foster care or at risk of such placement because of a parent or caretaker’s abuse of methamphetamine or another substance.  The program encourages innovative regional partnerships to prevent and minimize the children’s time in foster care and helps parents get needed treatment so families can be reunited whenever possible.

“Many of the children in foster care are there because of substance abuse at home,” Grassley said.  “The regional partnerships are meant to keep the children safe and ideally get the parents back in a position to care for their children as soon as possible.” 

Grassley’s bill, the Partners for Stable Families and Foster Youth Affected by Methamphetamine or Other Substance Abuse Act, would reauthorize a grants program that he drafted and saw through to enactment in 2006.  The grants support regional partnerships for services including family-based, comprehensive, long-term substance abuse treatment services; early intervention and preventive services; child and family counseling; mental health services; parenting skills training; and replication of successful models for providing family-based, comprehensive long-term substance abuse treatment services. 

“This program is meant to prevent the substance abuse and dissolution of families that have a very great cost to society and state and federal treasuries over time,” 
Grassley said.  “Children who come from families with substance abuse are in danger of repeating the behavior, so breaking the cycle is important.  Through partnerships, we can reduce the time children spend in foster care and ensure that parents are provided the treatment needed to keep the family together.”

Nationally, nearly 900,000 children were determined to be victims of abuse or neglect and more than 300,000 children entered the foster-care system due to methamphetamine use in 2005, according to a report by the RAND Corporation. Additionally, the cost associated with this number of children in foster care exceeded $900 million.

Grassley is founder and co-chair of the Senate Caucus on Foster Youth and co-chairman of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control.

The text of his statement on the bill’s introduction is available here.

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