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October 10, 2002
Immediate Action Needed
Status of TANF and Child Care Uncertain
It is uncertain when Congress will adjourn the 107th Congress. Almost all of the Fiscal Year 2003 funding bills, as well as the reauthorization of the TANF and Child Care block grants, remain unfinished. Congress has extended funding for TANF and Child Care through December 31, 2002, but may complete action on a longer term reauthorization before they adjourn for the year. Now is a critical time to contact your United States Senators to make sure that ANY changes enacted to Child Care, TANF, and the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) this year provide new resources to protect children and families.
The TANF and Child Care bills passed by two Senate committees differ significantly from the House-passed TANF and Child Care reauthorization bill (H.R. 4747). The most significant differences are in the levels of funding for child care, the work requirements for TANF recipients, the expansion of vocational education, screening of barriers to employment, and substance abuse treatment services for TANF-eligible recipients.
Summaries of both bills are available on CWLA's website:
Contact your United States Senators in their State and DC offices. You can reach DC Senate offices through the Capitol switchboard at 202/224-3121. Tell them Congress must not adjourn without ensuring that poor children and their families get the assistance they desperately need. Tell them to:
- Enact at least a $1 billion per year increase in child care funding on any extension of TANF.
- Restore funding for SSBG to $2.8 billion and maintain states' ability to transfer 10 percent of the TANF block grant into SSBG. Only enacting a 10 percent transfer is NO SUBSTITUTE for restoring SSBG funds.
- Maintain fairness in the TANF work requirements. Do not cut required state spending. Do not enact a "superwaiver."
For more information contact John Sciamanna, CWLA Senior Government Affairs Associate, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 202/639-4919.
- INCREASE FUNDING FOR CHILD CARE
Support efforts to increase funding for child care by at least $11 billion over five-years or $1 billion a year if child care is extended for less than five years. Child care funding needs to be increased to provide more quality child care services to more families, regardless of whether work requirements are increased in TANF. Currently, only 1 in 7 eligible children receive child care assistance.
- INCREASE FUNDING FOR THE SOCIAL SERVICES BLOCK GRANT (SSBG)
Restore funding to $2.8 billion for SSBG, the level Congress agreed to in 1996. SSBG is a significant source of federal funds for adoption, foster care, and child protection services. Additionally, maintain states' ability to transfer 10 percent of their TANF block grant into SSBG. Only restoring states' ability to transfer TANF funds to SSBG is not a substitute for increased funding. More resources are needed. SSBG funds are greatly needed in order to meet the requirements established in the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 that set new time frames for accelerated permanency decision-making for children in the child welfare system.
- MAINTAIN FAIRNESS IN TANF
Support the provisions in the Senate Finance Committee-passed TANF bill to include screening for barriers to employment, expand treatment for substance abuse, and expand necessary vocational education. The provisions will actually help move people from assistance to work. Reject unfair policies to increase the current work requirements for single mothers on TANF. Reject any effort to provide a "superwaiver" that would suspend current provisions and laws of various human service programs.
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