Langevin Leads Reintroduction of Bill to Protect Foster Youth from Identity Theft

Mar 2, 2017 Issues: Children and Families, Cybersecurity

Congressman Jim Langevin (RI-02), co-chair of the Congressional Foster Youth Caucus, today reintroduced legislation to defend children in foster care from identity theft. He was joined by his fellow co-chair, Congresswoman Karen Bass (CA-37), and Caucus members Congresswoman Katherine Clark (MA-05) and Congressman David Price (NC-04). The Protect Children from Theft Act would amend the Fair Credit Reporting Act to require consumer reporting agencies to create a blocked credit file, or block an existing credit file for a child in foster care, upon request by a responsible legal guardian, custodian, or state agency.

“Youth in foster care are particularly vulnerable to identity theft because so many adults in their lives have access to their private information,” said Congressman Jim Langevin, co-chair of the Congressional Foster Youth Caucus. “When some foster youth age out of the foster care system, they can find their credit in shambles, making it more difficult for them to get a job, take out a student loan, or rent an apartment. Foster youth already face so many challenges, identity theft shouldn’t be among them. My bill would ensure that foster youth have the opportunity to enter adulthood with a clean credit history.”

“This piece of legislation is a prime example of Congress stepping up to change our nation’s child welfare system,” said Congresswoman Karen Bass, co-chair of the Congressional Foster Youth Caucus. “All too often, foster youth are taken advantage of and by the time they transition out of care, they find their credit in an irreparable state. Standing up to protect these youth so that they can have a fair shot at taking out loans for education or living arrangements is a common sense step for us to take. Thank you to Rep. Langevin for introducing this strong piece of legislation.”

“Child identity theft is a growing problem nationwide, and parents and guardians deserve the tools to help protect their children,” said Congressman David E. Price, a member of the Congressional Foster Youth Caucus. “This common-sense protection is important to all of our young people and especially our nation’s foster youth.”

According to Administration for Children and Families (ACF), there are more than 427,000 children in foster care across the country, and in many states, they are unable to place a security freeze on their credit. Clearing credit history for victims of identity theft can take years, and foster youth often have no support network during this time. To address this issue, Langevin first introduced the Protect Children from Theft Act in 2015.

In 2011, Langevin successfully fought for a proposal to mandate free credit checks for foster youth over 16 years old, before they age out of the system. His amendment to the Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act also required that foster youth receive assistance in clearing inaccuracies from their records. The Protect Children from Theft Act continues his legacy strengthening consumer financial protections for foster youth across the country.