Grassley receives award for child advocacy work PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Grassley Press   
Wednesday, 13 June 2012 08:25
WASHINGTON – Iowa leaders and volunteers with the National CASA Association today visited the office of Senator Chuck Grassley to present him the 2012 Children’s Champion in Congress Award.

Aprile Goodman and Deb Pumphrey of Mason City and Jo Stumo and Alan Steckman of Mason City were in Washington, D.C. for an advocates’ conference.  Local CASA -- or Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children -- programs train volunteers who are asked by the court to represent the best interests of children in certain child welfare-related cases.

“For all of the policy improvements Congress makes, it’s the people in the field who make the policies work,” Grassley said.  “Those who spend time waiting at courthouses and weeding through paperwork at child welfare agencies make a tremendous positive difference.  These advocates wade right in and take part, not for glory but out of regard for the quality of life for every child.”

Pumphrey, Goodman, Sutmo, Grassley and Steckman are pictured here.

Grassley was honored this year along with Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont.  Grassley is Ranking Member and Leahy is Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.  Here is information from the CASA website.

Children’s Champions in Congress

Every four years, the National CASA Association recognizes members of Congress who are strong and powerful voices for children served by CASA/GAL volunteers. This year, we are proud to honor and acknowledge Senator Patrick Leahy and Senator Chuck Grassley.

US Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa
Senator Grassley has a long history of fighting for the rights of abused and neglected children. First elected to the US House of Representatives in 1974, he has focused on many issues that affect foster youth, including educational stability, substance abuse, and the over-prescription of psychotropic drugs. He also has worked on several adoption-related policies, including the adoption tax credit, kinship, and adoption awareness resolutions.

Senator Grassley worked to advance the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997. Since its enactment, adoptions have increased to 54,000 per year, and many states have doubled their adoptions from foster care. He was a leader in the bipartisan effort to pass the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoption Act of 2008. The act included Senator Grassley's legislation to make it easier for foster children to be permanently cared for by their own relatives, including grandparents and aunts and uncles, and to stay in their own home communities.

In 2009, Senator Grassley formed the Senate Caucus on Foster Youth with Sen. Mary Landrieu. The caucus provides a voice for foster youth in shaping the policies that affect their quality of life. The caucus has a special focus on older youth who need continued support as they age out of the system.

Most recently, Senator Grassley worked to reauthorize grants that support families who struggle with substance abuse and that improve the safety, permanency and well-being of children who are not in their homes or are likely to be removed from their homes because of substance abuse by their parents.

Senator Grassley will be honored during the State of CASA Luncheon on Sunday, June 10.

US Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont

Senator Patrick Leahy of Middlesex, VT, was elected to the United States Senate in 1974. He has a long history of standing up for women’s safety and advocating for improvements in health and education that prepare children for success.

Senator Leahy is a defender of attacks on Head Start funding; a supporter of initiatives that improve access to and quality of special education; and a champion of childhood nutrition programs.

He is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. In 2011, Senator Leahy introduced the recently passed Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA). The bill strengthens and improves programs authorized under the landmark law to assist victims and survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. Additionally, reauthorization of funding for the CASA program is included in VAWA.

The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act also emphasizes the need to provide services and support to all victims of domestic and sexual violence. The bill helps to ensure access to services for all victims of domestic violence, mandating that victims seeking assistance cannot be denied services based on gender identity or sexual orientation, race, color, religion, national origin, sex, or disability.

Senator Leahy will be honored during the Awards of Excellence Luncheon Monday, June 11.

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