U.S. Representative Donna Shalala (D-FL-27) Named Adoption Coalition Co-Chair for the 116th Congress
WASHINGTON, D.C., July 8, 2019 –The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI), in partnership with the Congressional Coalition on Adoption (CCA), announced the newest CCA co-chair for the 116th Congress: Representative Donna Shalala of Florida.
The CCA is the largest bicameral, bipartisan Congressional Member organization and works to engage Members of Congress on issues pertaining to children in need of permanency and adoption, children in the foster care system, and domestic and international child welfare, as well as to advocate for every child’s right to a safe, stable and loving family. The role of the CCA co-chairs is to lead and actively engage their colleagues in Congress and draft and support federal policies that help place children in families.
Representative Shalala was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2018 and represents the 27th district of Florida. The Congresswoman previously served as the longest-serving Secretary of Health and Human Services in U.S. History. She defines herself as an advocate for women’s rights, children’s right to family and strong public education, increased access to healthcare, and a clean and sustainable environment.
“I’m proud to be the new Democratic House Co-Chair for the Congressional Coalition on Adoption, and I’m excited to begin working with CCAI and my colleagues to champion adoption and child welfare,” said Shalala. “Adoption is a lifechanging experience for so many children and parents across the country. I’m honored to play a role in creating and promoting legislation that will build families.”
Shalala will join the CCA’s three current co-chairs: Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri, and Representative Robert Aderholt of Alabama.
“So many families open their homes and hearts to adopt children from their own communities and around the world. Donna Shalala has long been a champion for families and will be an excellent co-chair given her experience as the former Secretary of Health and Human Services, and her leadership in getting the Adoption and Safe Families Act and Foster Care Independence Act signed into law. I look forward to working with Representative Shalala, our new House co-chair, to find solutions for adoptive families and ensure that every child has a safe and loving home,” Klobuchar said.
By joining the CCA, Members of Congress have the opportunity to participate in programs and events throughout the year that allow them to interact with vulnerable children and youth, the families that care for them, and subject matter experts to hear the stories of the challenges and opportunities they experience and to strengthen federal policy with this information.
“No matter what your politics may be, one thing we can all agree upon is that the lives of these vulnerable children needing adoption or foster care deserve our attention,” said Representative Aderholt. “I am glad that Congresswoman Shalala has joined the Congressional Adoption Caucus as the House Democratic co-chair and I look forward to working with her.”
“The Congressional Coalition on Adoption is committed to advocating for policies that improve foster care and encourage adoption,” said Blunt. “I look forward to working with Congresswoman Shalala and our CCA co-chairs to help the millions of children around the world who are in-need of a safe, permanent home.”
The co-chairs and CCA are supported by CCAI, the non-profit institute dedicated to raising awareness about children in need of families both domestically and internationally and to eliminating the policy barriers that hinder children from finding their forever families.
“CCAI is so grateful that Congresswoman Shalala is stepping into the role of co-chair of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption,” said CCAI’s Interim Executive Director, Bethany Haley. “Amazing things can happen when Members choose to come together across party lines to elevate the needs of orphans and youth in foster care. We’re so very grateful for Congresswoman Shalala’s willingness to join the three other co-chairs of the CCA who work with their colleagues on behalf of vulnerable children.”
In the last 35 years, Members of the CCA have led Congress in the passage of legislation that has dramatically improved the lives of children and families including the “Family First Prevention and Services Act,” the “Adoption and Safe Families Act,” the “John Chafee Foster Care Independence Act,” the “Promoting Safe and Stable Families Act,” the “Hope for Children Act,” the “Intercountry Adoption Act,” the “Fostering Connections and Increasing Adoptions Act,” and the “Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act.”
Today there are over 442,000 children in foster care, and nearly 124,000 of these children are eligible for adoption, waiting for families to call their own. Children living in orphanages globally are estimated conservatively at eight million, with unknown numbers living on the streets.
For questions, please contact Taylor Draddy at 202-544-8500 or Taylor@ccainstitute.org.
The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (www.ccainstitute.org) is a bipartisan, nonprofit organization that serves as an objective, educational resource for information critical to advancing the efforts of federal policymakers on behalf of children in need of families. To learn more about CCAI, follow the organization on Twitter (http://twitter.com/ccainstitute), Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/theccai) and YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/ccainstitute).