WASHINGTON, D.C. - Congressman Ted Poe (R-TX), applauded passage of the bipartisan Sam Farr and Nick Castle Peace Corps Reform Act. This critical legislation, authored by Congressman Poe in the House, will now be sent to the president to be signed into law. It provides much-needed safety and health protections for Peace Corps volunteers abroad.
The legislation is named in honor of former Peace Corps volunteers retired Congressman Sam Farr of California and Nick Castle, who at 23 lost his life volunteering in China after critical medical mistakes contributed to his death.
“This legislation sends a message to all current and former Peace Corps volunteers that America stands with them. Our Peace Corps volunteers work day and night to serve America’s interest in over 60 countries. Their health and safety are in our hands, and we must not let them down,” said Congressman Poe. “The Sam Farr and Nick Castle Peace Corps Reform Act will make sure that volunteers have access to qualified medical professionals in the host country, as well as enhancing medical care upon their return home. It will also extend protections for survivors of sexual assault. Bureaucracy has prevented volunteers from access to essential resources while serving our nation, but we are one step closer to further ensuring their health and safety. I applaud the Senate for swiftly passing this bill and sending it to the president’s desk.”
More specifically, the Sam Farr and Nick Castle Peace Corps Reform Act builds upon the Kate Puzey Peace Corps Volunteer Protection Act by:
- Requiring Peace Corps to provide prospective volunteers with critical information prior to deployment, including country-specific crime statistics and health risks.
- Requiring Peace Corps to provide volunteers with access to qualified medical doctors.
- Strengthening existing provisions ensuring volunteer protection from sexual assault and harassment, including extending the authority of the Sexual Assault Advisory Council.
- Enhancing access to health care for returned Peace Corps volunteers by granting them immediate access to the care they need and deserve.
- Providing further reforms to improve oversight, management, and efficiency of the Peace Corps.