Add Your Voice to Advocacy Day: Call Congress to Prioritize Children and FamiliesAs a part of the CWLA annual conference, Tuesday, February 28th is the year's largest national advocacy event for child welfare, human service, and behavioral health professionals. Hundreds of professionals are heading to the Hill to talk about policies, programs, and practices that improve the lives of America's vulnerable children and families.
ACTION REQUIREDJoin them. Call your U.S. Senators and Representative. Call the Capitol switchboard to be connected, dial 202-224-3121.
MESSAGECongress should prioritize children and families. In this legislative session, 1. Enact comprehensive child welfare finance reform, 2. Protect funding for programs serving vulnerable children and families, and 3. Join and participate in the caucus on foster youth.
BACKGROUNDCWLA has developed our 2012 Priorities for Congress and a forward-looking legislative agenda that calls for changes in child welfare policy and resources that will have the greatest positive impact on child welfare practice and improving the safety and well-being of America's children. We address a series of critical policy issues including well-being, integrated systems of care, services and supports for older youth, responding to trauma, strengthening the child welfare workforce, enacting comprehensive finance reform, and protecting funding for critical child welfare programs and services.
On Advocacy Day, our message is three-fold to further this agenda.
1. Enact Comprehensive Child Welfare Finance Reform
For 2012 CWLA urges Congress to enact comprehensive child welfare finance reform that will align resources with service needs of children and families and provide more flexibility in how to maximize the use of the federal dollars made available. Such reform would address the rigidity of the current child welfare financing structure, allow for an array of services and placements, and restructure how the system is financed so that it directs increased resources to proven and innovative services that improve the safety, permanence, and well-being of every child.
2. Protect Funding for Programs Serving Vulnerable Children and Families
A network of key programs provide a vital lifeline for low income children and families. In enacting the Budget Control Act of 2011, Congress recognized this by specifically exempting several programs from the automatic cuts that are scheduled to go into effect in 2013 through sequestration. Among the programs designated for exemption are foster care and permanency, Medicaid and CHIP, TANF, child care, food stamps, and child nutrition. CWLA believes that safeguarding these and other critical programs designed to protect and ensure the health of vulnerable children and families should remain a priority for Congress in all of its budget work in the coming year.
3. Join and Participate in the Caucus on Foster Youth
CWLA is urging members of Congress to join the Senate Caucus on Foster Youth or the House Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth. We believe that the caucuses allow members of Congress to take a lead in examining the child welfare system and recommending effective reforms.
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