President Donald Trump announced this week that he had taken executive action meant to help protect the nation’s most vulnerable children by strengthening federal programs and promoting the family unit, Breitbart reported.
The move received support from First Lady Melania Trump, whose “Be Best” initiative shares similar goals.
“Every child deserves a family,” Trump’s executive order states, adding that the “best foster care system is one that is not needed in the first place.”
Despite progress in keeping “children safe while strengthening families,” Trump acknowledged that “challenges remain” as the administration continues pursuing those goals.
“Too many young people who are in our foster care system wait years before finding the permanency of family,” the president continued. “More than 400,000 children are currently in foster care. Of those, more than 124,000 children are waiting for adoption, with nearly 6 out of 10 (58.4 percent) having already become legally eligible for adoption.”
Further exacerbating the situation is the fact that more than half of those in the foster care system waited more than two years to be adopted. Tens of thousands would eventually age out of the system without ever having been adopted.
Statistics indicate these children are more at risk of experiencing homelessness, unemployment, and other potentially detrimental challenges later in life.
According to ABC News, Trump argued that these problems stem from a lack of “robust partnerships” at the state and local levels — particularly denouncing the “bureaucratic barriers” that are often present during the adoption process.
“There is a critical need”
The president’s order encouraged stronger ties between regional welfare agencies and “public, private, faith-based, and community groups” interested in helping.
In a statement following the announcement, Melania Trump heralded the decision and its emphasis on strengthening the child welfare system.
“With more than 400,000 children in foster care, there is a critical need for these children to have safe, stable homes,” the first lady said. “It is my hope that this Executive Order will provide reforms, which directly improve the child welfare system and further establish this administration’s commitment to the health and safety of children throughout the country.”
While the next generation of Americans will face a range of serious challenges, the Trump administration is hopefully helping many kids currently in foster care be better prepared for what the future brings.