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September 5, 2003
Immediate Action Needed!
Urge Senators To Support $505 Million For Promoting Safe And Stable Families Program And $60 Million In Funding For Educational And Training Vouchers For Youth!
This week the Senate is debating the funding for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as part of the Labor-Health and Human Services-Education appropriations bill (Labor-HHS-Education). The current bill, S. 1356, provides only $405 million for the Promoting Safe and Stable Families (PSSF) program and $41.7 million for education and training vouchers for youth aging out of foster care. The President's budget requested full funding for both of these programs: $505 million for PSSF and $60 million for youth vouchers.
Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) plans to offer an amendment that will fully fund these programs without requiring an across-the-board cut in other human service programs. Senators need to hear that they must support this amendment.
CONTACT YOUR U.S. SENATORS. Call your Senators in their DC offices. You can reach DC offices through the Capitol switchboard at 202/224-3121.
- Tell your Senators to SUPPORT an amendment to the Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill that will provide $505 million for the Promoting Safe and Stable Families (PSSF) program and $60 million for education and training vouchers.
- Tell your Senators to OPPOSE any amendment that would increase funding to these two programs with an across-the board cuts to all programs or cuts to other human service programs.
The U.S. House of Representative passed their FY 2004 Labor-HHS-Education bill on July 10, 2003. The House did not provide the full amount of funding requesting in the President's FY 2004 budget request. The House would provide $405 million for PSSF and $45 million for youth vouchers. It is now up to the Senate to fully fund these programs. If the Senate fails to pass the Landrieu amendment, the opportunity for substantial new funding for these programs may be lost.
* Each year more than 25,000 youth leave foster care at age 18. Studies show just 50% will have graduated high school, only 13% will go on to college or vocational training, 52% will be unemployed, and 25% will be homeless for one or more nights.
- Promoting Safe and Stable Families (PSSF)
The Promoting Safe and Stable Families program is one of the very few sources of federal funding that supports prevention services. PSSF helps states fund child welfare prevention services and support vulnerable families. These funds are used by states to fund four categories of services: adoption support, family preservation, family reunification, and family support services. Increasing PSSF funding levels is especially important this year because state budgets are under great stress and many social services are being cut or eliminated.
- Educational and Training Vouchers for Youth Aging Out of Foster Care
Starting in fiscal year 2003, $41.7 million was provided in federal funding for educational and training vouchers for youth aging out of foster care and youth adopted from foster care at age 16 or older. These funds represent an opportunity to provide a critical resource for older foster and adopted youth to get the training and educational support they need for a successful transition to adulthood.
* Many of these youth lose the supports offered by the foster care system when they reach their 18th birthday or graduate from high school. Without the support of a family, youth who leave foster care are left on their own to obtain further education and employment preparation, as well as health and mental health care and housing.
* $60 million for education and training opportunities will help America's teens leaving foster care at age 18 and those adopted from foster care at age 16 or older realize their dreams by attending vocational and technical schools, state and community colleges, and four-year universities. Given the opportunity, these youth are America's next doctors, lawyers, engineers, teachers, plumbers, truck drivers, and electricians.
For more information contact Tim Briceland-Betts or John Sciamanna, CWLA Senior Government Affairs Associates, at 202/638-2952 or e-mail email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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