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May 27, 2001
Congress is in recess from May 27 until June 4 for the Memorial Day State/District Work Period. With your U.S. Senators and Representatives at home this week, this is an opportunity for you to urge their support of important legislation that strengthens children and families. Over the past few weeks, Congress has been embroiled in the contentious debate about tax cuts, education, and human service needs. With the Senate shifting from Republican to Democrat control after the recess, we urge you to make your voices heard. Send the message that there is no higher priority than children and families.
(1) THE ACT TO LEAVE NO CHILD BEHIND
MESSAGE: Co-sponsor and support efforts to pass the provisions of the Act to Leave No Child Behind.
On May 23, Senator Christopher Dodd (D-CT) and Representative George Miller (D-CA) introduced the Act to Leave No Child Behind (S. 1990/H.R. (bill number not yet assigned in the House), an omnibus bill addressing the unmet health care, educational, housing, income support, child protection, youth development, and other needs of the nation's children.
There are 12 Titles in this comprehensive bill. Title VIII addresses the needs of children who have been abused or neglected or are at risk of maltreatment. The bill provides a broad range of services for these children to help ensure stability when they leave foster care. This bill also expands permanency options for children who cannot live safely with their families and offers help to children and families who are at increased risk of entering the child welfare system.
The Act to Leave No Child Behind includes several of CWLA's other top legislative priorities including the Child Protection/Alcohol and Drug Partnership Act (S.484/H.R. 1909); the Younger Americans Act (H.R. 17); the Social Services Block Grant Restoration Act (S. 501/H.R. 1470); the Family Opportunity Act (S. 321/H.R. 600); and increased funding and quality improvements for child care programs.
ACTION REQUIRED: Ask your Representative and Senators to co-sponsor the Act to Leave No Child Behind.
(2) CHILD PROTECTION/ALCOHOL AND DRUG PARTNERSHIP ACT
MESSAGE: Co-sponsor S. 484/H.R 1909.
The Child Protection/Alcohol and Drug Partnership Act has been introduced in both the House and the Senate. S. 484/H.R.1909 provides for $1.9 billion in new funding over five years to promote child protection and alcohol and drug partnerships. Through grants to state child welfare and alcohol and drug agencies, these funds will jointly address the treatment needs of families who come to the attention of the child welfare system.
S. 484 is sponsored by Senators Snowe (R-ME), Rockefeller (D-WV), DeWine (R-OH), Dodd (D-CT), Breaux (D-LA), Collins (R-ME), Jeffords (I-VT), Landrieu (D-LA), Lincoln (D-AR), and Graham (D-FL). Sponsors of H.R. 1909 include Representatives Rangel (D-NY), Cardin (D-MD), Coyne (D-PA), McNulty (D-NY), Thurman (D-FL), and Stark (D-CA).
ACTION REQUIRED: Ask your Representative and Senators to co-sponsor S. 484/H.R. 1909.
(3) THE SOCIAL SERVICES BLOCK GRANT RESTORATION ACT
MESSAGE: Restore funding to the Social Services Block Grant this year. Co-sponsor S. 501/H.R. 1479 and ask appropriators to provide the necessary funds.
The bipartisan Social Services Block Grant Restoration Act, S. 501/H.R. 1479, was introduced in March to restore FY 2002 funding to $2.38 billion and preserve a state’s ability to transfer ten percent of their Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant into SSBG. The Senate bill is sponsored by Senator Graham (D-FL) and the House bill is sponsored by Congresswoman Johnson (R-CT).
If Congress fails to act this year, funding for SSBG (Title XX) will be reduced by an additional $25 million to $1.7 billion, and the ten percent transfer will be reduced to 4.25 percent. In the past few years, funding for SSBG has been cut to fund other programs.
- Contact them to co-sponsor S. 501/H.R. 1470 to increase funding for SSBG to $2.38 billion.
- Ask your Senators and Representative to send a request to the Senate and House Appropriations Committees for increased funding for SSBG to $2.38 billion.
- Lend your organization's support to the legislation by endorsing the bills. You can add your organization's name to a letter that will be sent to Congress and the White House in support of increased funding for SSBG on the CWLA website. To view the letter and to add your organization's name to the list of endorsers, go to http://www.cwla.org/advocacy/ssbgletter.htm.
(4) YOUNGER AMERICANS ACT
MESSAGE: Co-sponsor H.R. 17.
The Younger Americans Act was introduced in January by Representatives Miller (D-CA), Roukema (R-NJ), Gilman (R-NY), Clement (D-TN), and Quinn (R-NY) with bipartisan support in the House of Representatives. The bill provides $5.75 billion over five years to provide resources to community-based organizations to engage young people in positive youth development programs. This bill will give millions of young people the opportunity and experience needed to grow up to be contributing members of society. Similar legislation will soon be introduced in the Senate. H.R. 17 currently has 47 co-sponsors.
ACTION REQUIRED: Ask your Representative to co-sponsor H.R. 17.
(5) CHILD PROTECTION SERVICES IMPROVEMENT ACT
MESSAGE: Co-sponsor H.R. 1371.
The Child Protection Services Improvement Act (H.R. 1371), introduced by Rep. Stark (D-CA), begins to address the child welfare workforce crisis. The legislation provides states with $500 million over five years to improve child welfare workers' wages, increase the number of workers, reduce the turnover and vacancy rate in child welfare agencies, increase the education and training of child welfare workers, attract and retain qualified candidates, and coordinate services with other agencies. The legislation strongly encourages states to make these resources available to private nonprofit providers. The bill also creates a loan forgiveness program for child welfare workers who have been employed with an agency at least two years.
ACTION REQUIRED: Ask your Representative to co-sponsor H.R. 1371.
TAKE ACTION: Call/fax/write your Senators and Representative at their District office AND their DC offices: United States Senate, Washington, DC 20510; U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, DC 20515. To call a congressional office in DC, dial 202/224-3121 and ask for your Member's office.
For more information call CWLA's Government Affairs Department at 202/942-0278 or contact Liz Meitner, CWLA's Director of Public Policy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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