Remarks of Congressman Davis at the Briefing on Breaking Down the Economic Barriers for Foster Youth - June 10, 2021
I want to thank the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, the Children’s Advocacy Institute, and the Older Youth Working Group for hosting this briefing and focusing attention on the need to ensure that older foster youth receive and benefit from all the Social Security and Veterans benefits for which they qualify.
For years, I have worked to understand and stop the practice of states using the benefits of foster youth to reimburse the state rather than meeting the current or future needs of the youth.
In 2018, I worked bipartisanly with my colleagues on Ways and Means to develop a data system with the Social Security Administration so we could understand how many foster youth are affected. And, we required a GAO study to examine what the data showed after the initial few years.
Last week, GAO released its report, and it raised further concerns that Social Security and Supplemental Security Income benefits may not be reaching the youth in the way we intended.
I am proud that the lead Democrats and Republicans on the subcommittees with jurisdiction over Social Security and Supplemental Security Income came together and issued a joint statement after the GAO report.
The statement by myself and Ranking Member Walorski as well as Chairman Larson and Ranking Member Reed expressed our concern over the GAO report and our intent to work with the Department of Health and Human Services and the Social Security Administration to get the information we need and to do right by these vulnerable youth, many of whom have serious illnesses or disabilities in addition to being in foster care.
The reality is that youth in care have many needs. These benefits should be used to meet children’s current needs not covered by the state or saved to the extent possible to help the youth as they leave care.
I promise you that the kinship caregiver in Chicago caring for her disabled grandchild could use the SSI payment to help get added services, tutoring, or equipment to better meet the child’s needs.
I thank you for your interest in this issue, and I look forward to working together to protect these vulnerable young people.