December 19, 2019

Castro, Fitzpatrick Statement on Global Child Thrive Act Markup

WASHINGTON—Congressman Joaquin Castro (TX-20), Chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Vice Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, and member of the House Intelligence and Education and Labor Committees, and Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01), Co-Chair of the International Basic Education Caucus, Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, and Commissioner of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (Helsinki Commission), today released the following statement on the markup of their bipartisan, bicameral legislation, The Global Child Thrive Act:

“The approval of this important legislation in the House Foreign Affairs Committee marks an important step forward. Our most cherished treasure, young children across the world deserve the opportunity for dignity and success. Despite progress we have made in reducing child mortality and improving quality of life for children across the world, serious challenges remain in ensuring children in developing countries are able to reach their potential. This legislation guarantees that when the U.S. invests abroad, kids and their families will not be forgotten,” said Congressman Castro. “Our bill directs relevant federal departments and agencies to incorporate early childhood development into their work and builds on existing interagency collaboration. There is no more cost-effective, worthwhile cause than early childhood development, and I applaud my HFAC colleagues for reinforcing our resolve.”

“As an FBI Agent, one of my greatest concerns has always been the welfare of children, not just children in the United States but children across the globe. I applaud my colleagues on the Foreign Affairs committee for marking up the Global Child Thrive Act today and passing it unanimously,” said Congressman Fitzpatrick. “I encourage House leadership to bring this legislation to the floor and pass it with the same urgency that we did in Committee. It is of the upmost importance that we help other countries help their children. As we all know, focusing on children is focusing on our future.” 

BACKGROUND: The Assistance for Orphans and Other Vulnerable Children in Developing Countries Act of 2005 created the U.S. Government Special Advisor on Children in Adversity, who is tasked with coordinating all U.S. assistance to orphans and other vulnerable children among U.S. departments and agencies, among other responsibilities. The Global Child Thrive Act builds upon that foundation by strengthening the implementation of policies that advance early childhood development internationally.

The bill expands the number of agencies over which the Special Advisor has explicit authority to coordinate early childhood development policies. It also directs the U.S. Agency for International Development to engage relevant executive agencies to incorporate early childhood development into current programming over the next five years. To incorporate early childhood development into current programming, the agencies would:

  • Build on the evidence and priorities outlined in ‘Advancing Protection and Care for Children in Adversity: A U.S. Government Strategy for International Assistance 2019-2023;’
  • Identify evidence-based strategic priorities, indicators, outcomes, and targets to support inclusive early childhood development;
  • Support the design, implementation, and evaluation of pilot projects in partner countries, with the goal of taking them to scale;
  • Support bureaus, working groups, and task forces implementing relevant sector strategies and public laws, and;
  • Focus on improving coordination with foreign governments and international and regional organizations with respect to official country policies and plans for early childhood development.

# # #