BEND, OR -- U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) pitched his bipartisan Family First Prevention Services Act in Bend, last week. The Oregon Democrat says his “Families First Bill” would help vulnerable children and reduce unnecessary foster care placements.
Currently, federal funds are available to help children in crisis only after they have suffered abuse. Wyden's bill would make federal money available before problems arise. Speaking to two dozen local child crisis care professionals at the Mountain Star Relief Nursery on Friday, Senator Wyden called it, “Arguable, one of the biggest child welfare reform bills in decades. The first to ever say the federal policy is to get there before problems get out of hand.” He pointed to Mountain Star Relief Nursery as a model of early intervention for foster kids in crisis.
He co-sponsored the bill, which passed the House in June. “So what we’re going to try and do is see if we can get it through the Senate this fall, either in September or in what is called the 'Lame Duck Session,' which starts after the election.” Wyden is confident the President will sign the bill.