Rep. Donna Shalala (D-Fla.) became the newest co-chair of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption (CCA) earlier this week.
The largest bicameral, bipartisan congressional member organization, CCA focuses on issues related to adoption and foster care, as well as domestic and international child welfare. The co-chairs work with other congressional members to draft and back legislation that supports children in families.
Elected to Congress in 2018, Shalala has previously served as Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) under President Bill Clinton from 1993 to 2001, making her the longest serving HHS secretary. Since then she has served as president of the University of Miami from 2001 to 2015 and president of the Clinton Foundation from 2015 to 2017.
“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, in a press release.
CCA members participate in a number of events throughout the year that focus on foster care and adoption, including those hosted by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI), a nonprofit organization that supports CCA.
CCAI’s Foster Youth Intern program has been instrumental in educating legislative leaders on issues impacting youth in care with the summer-long internship culminating in a congressional briefing where interns share reports on various issues plaguing youth in care.
“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,” said Taylor Draddy, director of policy for CCAI in an email to The Chronicle of Social Change.
“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,” Shalala said in a release. “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.”