Bipartisan federal legislation, the Keeping Families Together Act (Senate Bill - S. 1704 and House Bill - H.R. 3243), introduced on October 2nd -- promises to address the scandal that has lingered too long in states throughout the nation - parents being forced to give up custody of their children solely to secure vitally necessary mental health treatment.
The Keeping Families Together Act is a critical step toward ending a system in shambles and building a better mental health system for children with mental illnesses and their families.
Custody Relinquishment Story Bank
The sharing of family stories -- the pain and struggle that comes with forcing families to choose between their child and accessing critically necessary mental health treatment - is clearly one of the most effective methods to ending this practice.
The media, legislative staff and others often contact NAMI and other advocacy groups - often in disbelief that this actually happens to families -- and request family stories related to custody relinquishment. For that reason, we are creating a story bank to allow us to share more of these stories and to put a face on this tragedy. It will also support our advocacy efforts on the Keeping Families Together Act. The story bank will allow us to show legislators and policymakers both the magnitude of this practice and the incredible toll that it takes on families.
If your family has faced relinquishing custody of your child to access mental health services, please consider including your story in the custody relinquishment story bank. Also, please let other families in your state and communities know that we are developing this story bank.
To learn more about the story bank and to access it, please click here
Co-Sponsors Needed for The Keeping Families Together Act (S. 1704/H.R. 3243)
We urge you to contact your Senators and House members to ask for their co-sponsorship and support of this critically important legislation.
Here are some talking points to share with your Congressional Representatives in requesting their support:
The time is long overdue to stop this practice. Please urge your Representatives to co-sponsor the Keeping Families Together Act to end the practice.
Here is a list of current Congressional sponsors and co-sponsors of this critically important legislation. Please contact them and thank them for their support.
Senate Sponsor and Co-Sponsors
Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) - Sponsor
Senate Co-sponsors (4):
Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL)
Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN) Rep. Michael Castle (R-DE)
Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR) Rep. Nancy Johnson (R-CT)
Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI)
House Sponsor and Co-Sponsors
Rep. Jim Ramstad (R-MN) - Sponsor
House Co-sponsors (15):
Rep. Charlie Norwood (R-GA)
Rep. Charles Pickering (R-MS)
Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA)
Rep. Mary Bono (R-CA)
Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA)
Rep. Mark Foley (R-FL)
Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ)
Rep. James Langevin (D-RI)
Rep. George Miller (D-CA)
Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-NY)
All Senators and House Representatives can be reached by calling the Capitol Switchboard toll free at 1-800-839-5276 or at 202-224-3121 or online through www.congress.org. You can also contact them directly in the Contact Your Representative section of NAMI.org.
Thank you for your continuing advocacy on these important issues.
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