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August 6, 2001
Congress has adjourned until September 5. This is a good opportunity for you to call and visit your Senators and Representative at home on the issues that are important to the children and families we serve.
(1) THE ACT TO LEAVE NO CHILD BEHIND
The Act to Leave No Child Behind (S. 940/H.R. 1990), introduced by Senator Dodd (D-CT) and Representative Miller (D-CA), is an omnibus bill addressing the unmet health care, educational, housing, income support, child protection, youth development, and other needs of the nation's children. Since its introduction, the legislation has gained the support of 68 members in the House and eight members of the Senate.
Title VIII of this comprehensive bill 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 (S. 1005/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 Senators and Representative to cosponsor S. 940/H.R. 1990.
(2) CHILD PROTECTION/ALCOHOL AND DRUG PARTNERSHIP ACT
The Child Protection/Alcohol and Drug Partnership Act (S. 484/H.R. 1909), introduced by Senators Snowe (R-ME), Rockefeller (D-WV) and Representative Rangel (D-NY), would lead the way in addressing the need for substance abuse treatment services for families that come to the attention of the child welfare system. The legislation would provide $1.9 billion over five years in grants to state child welfare and alcohol and drug agencies.
CWLA is coordinating a national effort to inform Congress, the Administration, and other interested parties on the impact this legislation would have on families with substance abuse problems that come to the attention of the child welfare system. The bill would require child welfare and alcohol and drug agencies to work together to link the necessary prevention and treatment services for these families, as well as increase the capacity of the states to realize the goals for children established in the Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA). Meeting the special needs of families to improve child safety, family stability, and to promote recovery from alcohol and drug addiction, S. 484/H.R. 1909 would help to ensure that these children have safe and stable homes.
ACTION REQUIRED: Ask your Senators and Representative to cosponsor S. 484/H.R. 1909.
(3) THE SOCIAL SERVICES BLOCK GRANT RESTORATION ACT
The bipartisan Social Services Block Grant Restoration Act (S. 501/H.R. 1470), introduced by Senator Graham (D-FL) and Representative Johnson (R-CT), restores FY 2002 SSBG funding to $2.38 billion and preserves a state's ability to transfer ten percent of their Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant into SSBG.
If Congress fails to act this year, funding for SSBG 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.
ACTION REQUIRED: Ask your Senators and Representative to restore SSBG funding to $2.38 billion by cosponsoring S. 501/H.R. 1470.
Lend your organization's support to the legislation by endorsing the SSBG 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
The bipartisan Younger Americans Act (S. 1005/H.R. 17) authorizes $5.75 billion over five years to provide resources to community-based organizations to engage young people in positive youth development programs. This legislation will give millions of young people the opportunity and experience needed to grow up to be contributing members of society.
S. 1005 is sponsored by Senators Kennedy (D-MA), Stevens (R-AK), Jeffords (I-VT), Dodd (D-CT), Cleland (D-GA), and Lincoln (D-AR). H.R. 17 is sponsored by Representatives Miller (D-CA), Roukema (R-NJ), Quinn (R-NY), Gilman (R-NY), Clement (D-TN), and 60 additional members of the House.
ACTION REQUIRED: Ask your Senators and Representatives to cosponsor S. 1005/H.R. 17.
(5) CHILD PROTECTION SERVICES IMPROVEMENT ACT
The Child Protection Services Improvement Act (H.R. 1371), introduced by Representative 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 cosponsor H.R. 1371.
(6) CHILD CARE QUALITY INCENTIVE ACT OF 2001
The Child Care Quality Incentive Act (S. 1000/H.R. 2097) adds $500 million each year over the next 5 years to the Child Care and Development Block Grant for states to increase child care payment rates. A rate increase would help providers improve the quality of child care by attracting and training child care personnel, maintaining a safe and healthy environment, and upgrading child education and development resources.
In order to receive funds under this bill, states are required to match federal funds, conduct a survey of market rates for child care, and increase payment rates in accordance with this survey. The survey would be updated every two years.
S. 1000 is sponsored by Senators Reed (D-RI), Dodd (D-CT), Kennedy (D-MA), Murray (D-WA), Kerry (D-MA), and Corzine (D-NJ). H.R. 2097 is sponsored by Representatives Bishop (D-GA), Brown (D-FL), Cummings (D-MD), Morella (R-MD), and 44 additional House members.
ACTION REQUIRED: Ask your Senators and Representative to cosponsor S. 1000/H.R. 2097.
TAKE ACTION: Call and visit your Senators and Representative at home in their district offices during the August recess. To write your Senators and Representative at 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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