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Blunt aims to boost services for adoptions

November 29, 2018

Missouri Republican Sen. Roy Blunt and Minnesota Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar stand far apart on the conservative-liberal spectrum. Their embrace of adoption issues, however, has nothing to do with partisanship.

They have partnered for years on these issues, and the two co-chair the Congressional Coalition on Adoption whose large membership (42 percent of U.S. senators, 27 percent of U.S. representatives) advocates for policies that work toward all children having families.

This week, Blunt and Klobuchar introduced the Supporting Adoptive Families Act, legislation meant to strengthen adoption support services.

That help would come in the form of training and counseling on behavioral issues, peer mentoring and crisis services for adoptive parents.

“The idea that every child deserves to grow up in a safe, stable home with a loving family is something that I think everyone can agree on,” Blunt said on the Senate floor Wednesday in discussing the legislation.

Klobuchar, in a statement, said that her home state has a rich tradition of adoptions.

“Our bipartisan (legislation) will help provide families with counseling and support throughout the adoption process to ensure a smooth and successful transition for children and their parents.” she said.

Among other things, the legislation calls for the U.S. Health and Human Services secretary to give grants to states that develop post-adoption mental health services for young people.

Such treatment efforts are needed, said Lauren Arnold, chief executive officer of The Adoption Exchange. This multi-state organization, which includes Missouri, wants to enhance the connection between children in foster care and families that adopt.

“What we find is that there are many mental health professionals that aren’t fully trained either in trauma or in the issues around adoption from foster care,” she said. “So having that expertise pushed, and support for our mental health professionals, is incredibly important.”

Arnold praised the federal lawmakers for their attention to adoption.

“It’s really important to have the feds leading that charge,” she said. “Broad coalitions at the federal level drive policy at the local level.”

November is National Adoption Month.

Blunt pointed out that there are more than 400,000 children in the American foster care system, including about 13,000 in Missouri. The senator said he views adoption in very personal terms.

“I’m an adoptive parent myself, and I look forward to seeing more people have the experience of what happens when you change somebody’s life and they change your life,” the lawmaker said. “I hope more families will take this time, not only in Adoption Month but also at the holidays, to consider adoption.”

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