1:43 PM EDT
Jim Langevin, D-RI 2nd

Mr. LANGEVIN. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of the Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act.

This bill includes a provision from the Foster Youth Financial Security Act that I introduced with my colleague from California (Mr. Stark) to address disturbingly high rates of identity theft among foster youth. I, along with many others, was absolutely outraged to find that foster children are disproportionately victims of identity theft since their personal information passes through so many hands.

Mr. Speaker, as I saw firsthand when my parents welcomed foster youth into our home over many years, they already faced tremendous obstacles without the increased threat of having their identity taken and their credit ruined, which prevents them from finding a place to live, accessing credit on their own, or obtaining other basic needs.

This bill would ensure that each foster youth over 16 years of age receives free credit checks before leaving the system and assistance clearing any inaccuracies that may have come to light. Reports have shown that if done effectively, the cost is minimal.

I want to thank, Mr. Speaker, the committee for their interest in this issue and the many advocates who have championed this cause. This is only the first step in providing foster youth the tools that they need and deserve to succeed, and I look forward to our continued work together on this issue.

As I pointed out so many times, the kids in foster care already face significant challenges of their own of a personal nature. It is a shame that their identity is stolen and they're further victimized. This bill would identify problems early on and clear up the inaccuracies so they can start their adult life with a fresh start with their credit intact.

I thank both gentlemen, the chair, and the ranking member for their outstanding support of this provision.