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House Committee Approves Bill to Prevent Sex Trafficking of Foster Children

On April 29, the Ways and Means Committee approved, 33-0, the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Improving Opportunities for Youth in Foster Care Act (H.R. 4058), as amended.

The bill would require state plans for foster care and adoption assistance to include policies and procedures for identifying, screening, and determining appropriate services for children who are believed to be victims of sex trafficking, or at risk of being such victims. Sex trafficking data would be included in the adoption and foster care analysis and reporting system.

Among other provisions, the bill includes several reporting requirements. It would require the secretary of Health and Human Services to report annually to Congress on the aggregate number of children in foster care identified as victims of sex trafficking or a severe form of trafficking, along with relevant information about the identification of, and provision of services for, such foster care children.

The secretary would be required to report to Congress on children who run away from foster care and their risk of being trafficked; state efforts to provide specialized services, foster family homes, or child care facilities to children who are victims; and state efforts to ensure children in foster care form long-lasting connections to caring adults. State-by-state data on children in foster care who are pregnant or parenting also would be reported to Congress.

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