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April 25, 2002
House Begins Voting on TANF and Child Care
On April 18, two subcommittees of the House of Representatives conducted the first votes on the reauthorization of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program and the Child Care and Development Fund. These bills will be voted on by the full committees the week of April 29 and then proceed to the full House for a vote before Memorial Day.
On April 18, the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Resources and the House Education and Workforce Subcommittee on 21st Century Competitiveness approved legislation (H.R. 4090 and H.R. 4092 respectively) that incorporate President Bush's welfare reform proposals. These bills increase work requirements for single mothers to 40 hours per week, reduce state flexibility to provide education and training, provide no focus on assisting families that are working and still in poverty, and offer no new child care funding over the next five years.
Summaries of these bills are available on CWLA's website:
CWLA President and CEO Shay Bilchik testified before the House Ways and Means Human Resources Subcommittee on April 11. This testimony is also available online at www.cwla.org/advocacy/tanf020411.htm.
ACTION REQUIRED: Call or write your U.S. Representative. You can reach all House offices through the Capitol switchboard at 202/224-3121. Use CWLA Kids' Advocate Online to write or e-mail your Representative using a CWLA sample letter or one of your own. Access CWLA Kids' Advocate Online via the Advocacy page of the CWLA website.
- Increase funding for TANF, Child Care, and the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG)
- Ask your Representative to support efforts to increase TANF funding by the rate of inflation, increase mandatory child care funding by no less than $11.2 billion, and increase SSBG funding to $2.8 billion.
- Increase TANF funding by the rate of inflation over the next five years. Funding for TANF has remained flat since 1996. Without an increase, it will lose 22% of its value by FY 2007. Even though caseloads have declined, TANF provides inadequate funding to provide the services necessary to help support low-income families making the transition to self-sufficiency.
- Increase funding for child care by at least $11 billion, as proposed in several pending bills. Regardless of whether work requirements are increased in TANF, child care funding needs to be increased to provide more child care services to more families and improve the quality of child care services. Currently, less than 14% of eligible families receive child care assistance.
- Restore funding to $2.8 billion for SSBG, the level agreed to in 1996. SSBG is a significant source of federal funds for adoption, foster care, and child protection services.
You can indicate your support for increasing SSBG funding by adding your organization's name to a national and local sign-on letter that will be sent to Congressional leaders. Add your agency to this letter at http://www.cwla.org/advocacy/ssbgletter.htm.
- Reject unfair policies to increase the current work requirements for single mothers on TANF. Urge Congress to continue to give states flexibility to continue targeting services and providing education and training to mothers who are already required to work 20-30 hours per week. Encourage your member of Congress to support efforts that give families the supports they need, including child care, substance abuse treatment, and other work supports to enable them to move into permanent employment.
For more information, call CWLA Government Affairs at 202/942-0278 or contact Liz Meitner, Vice President of Government Affairs, at email@example.com.
- Support the targeted, limited waiver authority in H.R. 4090 that extends child welfare waivers through 2007.
- Oppose the broad authority contained in the bill that allows the Secretaries of the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services and Labor to waive any rule in any program within their jurisdiction (except Medicaid). This "super-waiver authority" could shift federal funding and effectively lead to block grants for many programs, including child welfare. In the past, Congress has rejected efforts to block-grant child welfare programs. This new authority could also undermine the protections in current law for children and families in the child welfare system, with little opportunity for input or oversight. These protections should not be waived.
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