U.S. Rep. Jim Langevin (D-RI) is preparing legislation in Congress that would require child welfare agencies to run credit checks on foster children and help those who are the victims of identity theft. Rep. Langevin’s bill would prohibit states from putting Social Security numbers in foster care records to identify children. Identity theft has occurred in some states, creating a significant setback for foster children, especially older ones. Foster youth faced with credit problems find it difficult to correct them as they leave state custody to live on their own.
Langevin cited a California study that estimated that up to half of that state's foster care children had been victims of identity theft. He said it's a problem that's just now attracting attention across the country.
Foster children make good targets for identity theft because their Social Security numbers and other personal information is regularly handled by foster parents, relatives, and child welfare officials, and because they're often too young to know if someone is taking out loans or credit cards under their name.
California, Colorado, and Connecticut already have passed laws instructing child welfare officials in their states to run credit checks on foster children.
On Friday, August 12, a three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, by a 2 to 1 vote, held the mandate of the health care reform law to be unconstitutional, because, in the view of the majority, it exceeded Congress' authority under the Commerce Clause of the US Constitution. This decision is in direct conflict with a June decision by the US Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, where a majority of the panel determined that the mandate was a proper exercise of Congress' power under the same Commerce Clause. This conflict between two federal Circuits would most probably signal a need for the issue to reach the US Supreme Court for final resolution. The 11th Circuit panel did make one ruling in favor of the federal government by holding that its finding against the mandate did not invalidate the rest of the health care law, thereby reversing a lower court ruling that found that the entire law was voided by the adverse decision about the mandate. Government lawyers are also considering appealing the adverse decision to the full panel of judges of the 11th Circuit. The adverse ruling is not expected to delay continued implementation of the healthcare law during the ongoing judicial appeal activities; and the mandate itself is not operational until 2014.