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November 1, 2001
House Committee Rejects Increased Funding to Assist Abused and Neglected Children - Action Needed!
After a previous postponement, the House Ways and Means Committee acted on the reauthorization for the Promoting Safe and Stable Families (PSSF) program on October 31. The Committee rejected an amendment offered by Representative Ben Cardin (D-MD) that included the President's proposed $200 million increase in mandatory, or "guaranteed," funding for PSSF and the $60 million guaranteed increase for the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program to provide educational vouchers for youth aging out of foster care.
Instead, the approved bill (H.R. 2873) freezes mandatory funding for PSSF at its current level of $305 million for five years. The bill would allow the Senate and House appropriators the authority to add up to $200 million in discretionary funds for PSSF. The bill also authorizes a $60 million increase in discretionary funding for the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program and $67 million for a new program for children of incarcerated parents.
Discretionary funding is optional and DOES NOT GUARANTEE increases for these programs. Without a guarantee, these increases may never be enacted or will come from cuts to other human service programs. In the past, it has been the assurances of guaranteed funding for these programs that has enabled them to grow and help so many children and youth.
Congress is now in the midst of making their annual decisions regarding FY 2002 discretionary funding, but to date the House has approved only $70 million in discretionary funding for the Promoting Safe and Stable Families program, rather than the $200 million requested. No funding has been provided for the Chafee educational voucher program or the children of incarcerated parents program. The Senate has not yet completed action on its FY 2002 appropriations bill.
OPPORTUNITY: Although the full House still has to vote on H.R. 2873, our attention now turns to the Senate where S.1503, the Promoting Safe and Stable Families Program Amendments Act, is pending. That bill provides guaranteed funding increases for PSSF ($505 million per year) and $60 million for the Chafee educational voucher program.
MESSAGE: Urge the Senate to provide annual guaranteed funding increases of $200 million for the Promoting Safe and Stable Families Program and $60 million for the educational voucher program for youths aging out of foster care at least for fiscal years 2003-2006.
- Add your agency's name to the attached letter to President Bush. Ask him to work with the Senate to ensure guaranteed funding for the Promoting Safe and Stable Families program ($505 million a year) and an additional $60 million for the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program to provide educational vouchers for youth aging out of foster care. [letter no longer available]
RESPONSES ARE DUE WEDNESDAY, 11/7/01
- 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 a $60 million increase a year for the Chafee Foster Care Independence Program. To call a Congressional office in DC, dial 202/224-3121 and ask for your senator's office.
- Disseminate this message and encourage other organizations to join the sign-on letter.
For more information, contact CWLA's Government Affairs Department at 202/942-0278 or e-mail Liz Meitner, CWLA's Vice President for Government Affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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