February 07, 2020

Kaine Cosponsors Bipartisan Bill To Expand Services To Families Of Foreign Service Officers

WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, cosponsored the Foreign Service Families Act, bipartisan legislation to help ensure the State Department is able to attract and retain a world-class diplomatic corps by providing expanded career options and services to eligible family members of Foreign Service Officers. For many of these family members, the process of finding employment isn’t easy – frequent moves, language barriers, and limited job options pose significant challenges. This bill will address these issues so the Foreign Service can continue to serve the best interests of Americans at home and abroad.

“Foreign Service Officers play a crucial role in furthering our national security interests and promoting our values abroad, and their patriotic family members endure frequent moves to support that service,” said Kaine. “I’m proud to cosponsor this bill to help remove the hurdles that make it difficult for Foreign Service families to access job opportunities.”

The Foreign Service Families Act would provide the State Department authority to offer the same services to Foreign Service family members overseas that the Defense Department provides to military families. This includes:

·         Expanded hiring authority and preference for qualified spouses.

·         Ensuring that Foreign Services spouses receive notice of State Department vacancies and that those who apply receive consideration.

·         Making space available in State Department facilities for outside entities to provide career services.

·         Developing partnerships with the private sector to enhance employment opportunities for Foreign Service spouses.

·         Incorporating hiring preferences for qualified Foreign Service spouses into contracts between the State Department and private-sector entities.


Additionally the legislation:

·         Directs the State Department to expand telecommuting opportunities for Foreign Service family members so that they can continue to work federal civilian and private sector jobs while overseas.

·         Ensures that family members in the Expanded Professional Associates Program, which offers career opportunities for family members with advanced education and professional experience, are not held to unfair hiring standards.

·         Makes sure that the State Department has fully implemented the Foreign Service Family Reserve Corps, a program intended to speed hiring and improve clearance portability for Foreign Service family members.

The Foreign Service Families Act was introduced by Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Dan Sullivan (R-AK).