Since her election to Congress in 2010, Karen has made improving the lives of all of America’s children her passion.
Karen understands that to make real change for some of America’s most vulnerable communities, you must be able to work effectively across the aisle, no matter how partisan the country has become. In 2010, Karen founded the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth, a group dedicated to improving the lives of foster youth and reforming our child welfare system. Now, the caucus boasts more than 150 members of Congress, making it one of the largest bipartisan caucuses in Congress.
When it comes to protecting our nation’s most vulnerable children, Karen continues to lead the way. She’s been a champion for foster youth, fighting to make sure they’re protected, find safe and loving homes, and receive the support they deserve to succeed in school.
In 2015, the House of Representatives unanimously passed Karen’s bill H.R. 469, the “Strengthening the Child Welfare Response to Trafficking Act of 2015”, to help to connect child victims of trafficking to appropriate services and prevent further exploitation. In 2017, Congress passed another one of Karen’s bills to reauthorize $130 million in current funds appropriated to ensure an integrated, whole-of-government response to fight human trafficking for the next four years. The legislation also included important improvements to current law to help further address and prevent human trafficking.
Karen also played an integral role in the passage of the Family First Prevention Services Act, which was signed into law as part of the Bipartisan Budget Act on February 9, 2018. The bill is one of the largest reforms to the child welfare system in decades. It aims to prevent children from entering foster care by allowing states to use federal foster care funds for prevention services for key risk factors such as mental health and substance use to keep at-risk children from entering the foster care system.