New Federal Legislation Moves to United States Senate for Action
Sara Neumann 203.209.6545 (M)
FAIRFIELD, Conn. (April 27, 2017) — The United States House of Representatives passed the Homeland Security for Children Act (HR 1372) on April 25, 2017, which puts into place many safeguards to further protect children during times of domestic crisis and emergency.
"Save the Children is very proud to have collaborated with Rep. Dan Donovan (R-NY) and Rep. Donald Payne (D-NJ) and many other Members of Congress on this critical legislation to protect our nation’s most vulnerable population – our children," said Bill Corwin, vice president of U.S. Programs for Save the Children. "When crisis strikes and children are at their most vulnerable, Save the Children is always there to help keep our kids safe. This legislation goes a long way in furthering that protection."
The Homeland Security for Children Act will help strengthen FEMA and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and also increase accountability across government agencies in times of emergency. The legislation seeks to appoint a permanent Children’s Needs Advisor to integrate the needs of children into its activities to protect against natural disasters, acts of terrorism and other man-made disasters. Further, it requires the Undersecretary of Policy at the Department of Homeland Security to review and incorporate any feedback from youth-serving organizations to prioritize and represent the needs of children into department-wide policies. And finally, it forces accountability through regular reports and updates to Congress.
Save the Children is the leader in protecting children before, during and after disasters. Since 2005, Save the Children has served 1 million U.S. children affected by disasters. Save the Children led the National Commission on Children and Disasters created by Congress and the president after Hurricane Katrina. The commission was charged with creating a roadmap to better protect U.S. children from disaster. It recommended a series of critical actions that Congress, federal agencies such as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and others should undertake. For the past ten years, Save the Children has actively advocated for states and Congress to take up commission recommendations to improve school and child care emergency preparedness as well as government accountability for the needs of children during disasters.
During the bill’s vote, both the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness cited Save the Children’s testimony before the Committee advocating for the important policy changes. Rep. Payne concluded: "HR 1372 will ensure that FEMA and DHS have the expertise necessary to do its part to ensure the unique needs of children are integrated into relevant activities, plans and policies."
The legislation now moves to the Senate and Save the Children will advocate for its quick passage.
Save the Children gives children in the United States and around the world a healthy start, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. We invest in childhood — every day, in times of crisis and for our future. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.