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Home > Advocacy > Alerts and Updates > Advocacy Archives

 
 

LEGISLATIVE ALERT

© 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.

October 19, 2001

Funding Decisions To Be Made Soon on Promoting Safe and Stable Families Program - Increases in Jeopardy

On September 28, you received a Legislative Alert regarding Congressional action on funding for the Promoting Safe and Stable Families program (PSSF), an important source of federal funds to help states provide family preservation, family support, adoption, and family reunification services. Due to recent events on Capitol Hill, additional votes have been postponed until next week.

Background

The PSSF program is currently funded at $305 million. President Bush requested an additional $200 million in his FY 2002 budget for this program, increasing funding to $505 million. On September 25, a House Ways and Means Subcommittee rejected President Bush's request and approved legislation (H.R. 2873) that provides only current funding for this program. The subcommittee also rejected President Bush's request to add $60 million to the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program to provide educational and training vouchers for youth making the transition from foster care to self-sufficiency.

Congressional Action Expected

On Tuesday, October 23, we expect the full House Ways and Means Committee to vote on a substitute version of H.R. 2873. This substitute, to be offered by Subcommittee Chairman Herger (R-CA), will not provide an increase in funding for Promoting Safe and Stable Families program, but will allow Congress to approve a discretionary funding increase. That will mean that the PSSF program will be funded at its current level of $305 million. Only if Congress can find additional discretionary funds will the program funding be increased.

The PSSF program and the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program are both guaranteed or capped entitlement funding programs. It is this assurance of funding that has enabled them to help so many children and youth. Any additional funding for these programs must be maintained as guaranteed funding. Providing a discretionary increase for these programs without raising current spending caps would also result in the loss of funds for other vital human service programs such as child care, Head Start, and adoption bonuses.

Opportunity

The House Ways and Means Committee will have another opportunity on October 23 to support an amendment to be offered by Representative Cardin (D-MD) to approve the mandatory funding increases requested by President Bush for both the PSSF and Chafee programs.

Action

  1. Call your U.S. representative-especially if he or she is on the Ways and Means Committee (listing below). Urge your representative to support an annual funding increase of $200 million a year for the Promoting Safe and Stable Families Program and $60 million a year for the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program, and emphasize that these increases must be in mandatory funds. If your representative is on the House Ways and Means Committee CALL THAT OFFICE ON TUESDAY, OCTOBER 23.

  2. Call your Senators. Urge them to support S. 1503, which provides a guaranteed funding increase of $200 million a year for the Promoting Safe and Stable Families program and $60 million a year for the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program.

    Message
    • Promoting Safe and Stable Families funds are an important resource for abused and neglected children and their families. These funds are used for family support, family preservation, adoption promotion and support, and time-limited reunification services. New funds for the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program will help support youth transitioning to independence.

    • Providing additional federal mandatory funding for vulnerable children and youth through these programs are priorities in President Bush's budget and should be priorities for Congress as well. If additional funds are made discretionary, these important increases will either never be enacted, or will come from cuts to other human service programs.

    To call a congressional office in DC, dial 202/224-3121 and ask for your representative's or senators' office.

  3. Contact the President. Thank him for his commitment to the more than 100,000 children who are waiting for adoptive families, the 20,000 youths who age out of foster care each year, and hundreds of thousands of other abused and neglected children and their families. Urge him to keep his commitment by helping to ensure that legislation is passed this year to increase guaranteed funding for the Promoting Safe and Stable Families Program and to also make sure that new funding is provided for educational and training vouchers for youths aging out of foster care.

    Send your letters to:
    The President
    The White House
    c/o Sarah J. Gesiriech, Associate Director for Child Welfare, Domestic Policy Council
    Washington, DC 20500

    You can access a draft letter online at CWLA Kids' Advocate Online http://cw2k.capweb.net/cwla. Please place your return address on the envelope.

House Ways & Means Committee

Becerra, Xavier   (D-CA)
Matsui, Robert T.   (D-CA)
Stark, Fortney Pete   (D-CA)
Thurman, Karen L.   (D-FL)
Lewis, John   (D-GA)
Jefferson, William J.   (D-LA)
Neal, Richard E.   (D-MA)
Cardin, Benjamin L.   (D-MD)
Levin, Sander M.   (D-MI)
Pomeroy, Earl   (D-ND)
McNulty, Michael R.   (D-NY)
Rangel, Charles B.   (D-NY)
Coyne, William J.   (D-PA)
Tanner, John S.   (D-TN)
Doggett, Lloyd   (D-TX)
McDermott, Jim   (D-WA)
Kleczka, Gerald D.   (D-WI)
  Hayworth, J. D.   (R-AZ)
Herger, Wally   (R-CA)
Thomas, William M.   (R-CA)
McInnis, Scott   (R-CO)
Johnson, Nancy L.   (R-CT)
Foley, Mark   (R-FL)
Shaw, E. Clay   (R-FL)
Collins, Mac   (R-GA)
Nussle, Jim   (R-IA)
Crane, Philip M.   (R-IL)
Weller, Jerry   (R-IL)
Lewis, Ron   (R-KY)
McCrery, Jim   (R-LA)
Camp, Dave   (R-MI)
Ramstad, Jim   (R-MN)
Hulshof, Kenny C.   (R-MO)
Houghton, Amo   (R-NY)
Portman, Rob   (R-OH)
Watkins, Wes   (R-OK)
English, Phil   (R-PA)
Brady, Kevin   (R-TX)
Johnson, Sam   (R-TX)
Dunn, Jennifer   (R-WA)
Ryan, Paul   (R-WI)


For more information, call CWLA's Government Affairs Department at 202/942-0278 or contact Liz Meitner, CWLA's Director of Public Policy, at emeitner@cwla.org.


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