Speaking in Seattle today at Discovery Institute's Chapman Center on Citizen Leadership, Congressman Dave Reichert (R-WA) described his bill on "Preventing Sex Trafficking of Youth in Foster Care". Under it, Reichert, who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee's Subcommittee on Human Resources, would help children in Foster Care to live more normal lives and get mainstreamed more expeditiously into adoptive homes or guardianship arrangements. Early assistance in finding permanent homes is crucial in preventing runaways from the Foster Care system--and runaways represent a terrible risk for eventual human trafficking. Fifty nine percent of youth in human trafficking in the the U.S. are from foster homes, many as runaways.
Reichert's bill has passed the House, but is being held up in the Senate. If Republicans and Democrats want to find a way to pass something of significance this term of Congress, here is a good bi-partisan cause worth advancing.
Rep. Reichert told his Discovery audience of his own youth in an abusive home in Minnesota, from which he ran away at 17. Ultimately, he was able to return home and help his mother and six younger siblings. He entered law enforcement and was elected Sheriff of King County (Seattle), where he served until his election to Congress ten years ago. His interest in the topic of foster care and adoption is part of a larger trend among conservatives, such as Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Marco Rubio, to find effective and conservative approaches to social problems.