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Congress Approves Cuts To Foster Care

The U.S. House of Representatives today gave their final approval, by a vote of 216-214, to a budget reconciliation bill (S. 1932) that cuts services and supports to abused and neglected children and families. With the Senate granting approval on December 21, the bill now goes to the President for his signature.

The final bill reduces federal spending by nearly $40 billion and does include $600 million reduction in federal foster care. This cut will primarily impact the ability of abused and neglected children to be cared for by their grandparents or other relatives. This devastating bill will also result in less health care for children and low income people, fewer children receiving child support, students paying more for school loans, parents facing harsher rules and receiving less help with child care as they move from welfare to work.

While we recognize that this is not the outcome that advocates or friends of children wanted, your sustained efforts over this past year as part of our "No Caps of Kids!" campaign have been tremendous. Many of you have done the hard work of making phone calls, meeting with your members of Congress, talking to editorial boards, sending letters, attending town hall meetings and encouraging your friends, relatives and family to join our efforts. As we move forward, we need to remember that due to our combined efforts, the final votes in both the House and Senate were very close and the outcome was uncertain until the very end.

This vote must serve as a further call to action for all those who care about children. We must continue our unyielding efforts perusing an aggressive agenda on Capitol Hill to make sure that the federal government reverses its course and works to improve the lives of children.

Our vigilance and determination will also be needed throughout 2006 to ward off any new threats. We anticipate that the Presidentís budget, set for release on February 6th, will again seek to reduce existing federal supports for abused and neglected children and other human service programs. This includes a substantial reduction in funding for the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG), which currently represents 12% of all federal funds used for child welfare services.

CWLA's top federal legislative priorities for 2006 will continue to focus on additional supports for children and families. These include:
  • Legislation that reauthorizes the Promoting Safe and Stable Families Program (PSSF). PSSF provides services aimed at preventing child abuse and to support children in foster care, children reunited with families, and adopted children.

  • Extending eligibility for foster care assistance to more children including children living in guardianship placements and those living in tribal nations.

  • Strengthening and supporting the child welfare workforce.

With all of these efforts in mind, CWLA's "No Caps on Kids!" campaign will continue as a means to coordinate all our combined efforts to ensure that improvements are made for children in this country.

Now is also the time to thank those members of Congress who voted against this faulty budget legislation. For those who supported this budget bill, it is our shared responsibility to hold them accountable for further neglecting the needs of children. CWLA will make sure that every attendee of 2006 National Conference is well aware of how each member of Congress voted. When you visit with members of Congress in Washington D.C. on February 28th, be sure to remind them of the stance they made and continue to demand that Congress begin making the right choices for children.

To view how Representative voted today go to the House Website.

To see how your Senator voted on December 21, visit the Senate webpage.

Again, thank for all your efforts. For a more detailed description and analysis of the budget reconciliation bill go to CWLA's "No Caps on Kids!" Campaign

To see how many of the cuts contained in the bill affect your state visit the Coalition on Human Needs

© Child Welfare League of America. The content of these publications may not be reproduced in any way, including posting on the Internet, without the permission of CWLA. For permission to use material from CWLA's website or publications, contact us using our website assistance form.

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