First Lady Melania Trump held a virtual roundtable with the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute’s (CCAI) Foster Youth Intern Group on Monday to discuss the policy proposals the group has been working on to improve America’s foster care system.
“Taking the time to understand what needs to change in order to support children and families, you have translated your experiences and your passion into action,” Melania said to the 12 foster youth interns who partake in the roundtable, according to a White House readout. “Now, it is up to us to advance proposals like these, so that children and caregivers can see the benefits of your advocacy.”
Along with the 12 foster youth interns, a few of the Trump Administration, including Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary Lynn Johnson, Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway, Acting Director for Domestic Policy Brooke Rollins, Associate Director of Policy for the Office of the Vice President Paige Agostin also joined Melania in the briefing.
The interns, led by CCAI Coordination Staff Taylor Draddy briefed the First Lady and participants on their policy suggestions where they found three issues plaguing the foster care system especially right now during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. They emphasized the need for quality access to technology and broadband services, and suggested that Congress increase funding for these technological upgrades. They also discussed the issue of transitional housing for young teens who age out of foster care with many facing unique obstacles in transitioning out of care and began their adult lives, as well as the need to increase Social Worker access amid the pandemic as many are unable to conduct home visits or investigate potential risks to a child’s safety.
Melania thanked the group for creating their policy proposals that better informs how “the Executive Branch can better support foster children and families” and that “taking care of America’s children is a bipartisan effort, and we must never stop fighting for those who need us the most.”
Yesterday I held a virtual roundtable with the @CCAInstitute #FosterYouth Intern Group. We discussed their ideas to improve #FosterCare policy & proposals for child welfare advocates across the country. Thank you for your efforts to raise awareness to policymakers. #BeBest pic.twitter.com/2V8LdQ04az— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) July 28, 2020
The roundtable highlighted the First Lady’s Be Best first pillar of her initiative that focuses on well-being, including social, emotional, and physical health. She emphasized the need to increase partnerships, resources, and transparency in the foster care system during the pandemic that has caused an array of problems.
Last month, Melania held a virtual roundtable with a group of foster care and adoption organizations along with a few state and local lawmakers, including Ohio Governor Mike DeWine(R) and his wife First Lady Fran DeWine; New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu(R), Pennsylvania State Senator Doug Mastriano(R), and Louisiana First Lady Donna Edwards to discuss the foster care system and the Trump Administration ongoing efforts to support safe, stable and permanent families for children and youth.
President Trump signed an Executive Order aimed at strengthening the child welfare system nationwide, by seeking to improve the foster care and adoption programs amid the coronavirus pandemic. Titled ‘Strengthening the Child Welfare System for America’s Children,’ it outlines three areas of reform — improving outcomes, protecting vulnerable youth lives as well as their well-being, and uplifting children and families to thrive
The Foster Youth Intern (FYI) program was established in 2003 that includes a team of interns spending their summer in the Capitol researching policy issues and create a policy proposal report affecting children in the foster care system. The policy report is presented to Congress members and released to child welfare advocates all across the United States.