Last year, Representatives and Senators got together and introduced H.R. 4980, the “Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act.” The bill represented a critical piece of legislation needed to ensure that the children in foster care are protected from becoming victims of sex trafficking. The bill was signed by the President on September 24, 2014, officially making it a law in the U.S.
Now, there is a bill currently being considered by Connecticut state legislators that calls for the provisions in the federal bill to actually be implemented at the state level.
Connecticut’s Congress is also hoping to add to the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act by expanding guardianship opportunities for youth in foster care to include fictive kin. This means that all youth will have the opportunity to be permanently placed with an adult who is considered a “family member,” even if they are not related to the youth by blood or marriage. Permanency placement for children in foster care can help decrease the youth’s risk to human trafficking. Traffickers prey on homeless and runaway children and youth who have minimal social supports. H.B. 6899 recognizes the importance of permanency planning as its primary goal is to connect youth to caring, committed adults.