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April 26, 2005
Action Needed--No Caps On Kids!
You have made a difference in convincing the Senate to drop cuts to Medicaid, foster care, and adoption assistance from its budget resolution. The battle is not over however--more needs to be done now! Final decisions could be made in the next few days.
Following the passage of the budget resolutions in both the House and Senate in March, congressional leaders are now negotiating a compromise resolution, and formal action is expected soon. One of the major differences to be reconciled is the provision in the House resolution calling for deep cuts in programs that fund child welfare, including foster care, adoption assistance, Temporary Assistance For Needy Families (TANF), and the Social Service Block Grant (SSBG). The Senate resolution does not include these cuts.
We need to ensure that cuts in funding for foster care, adoption assistance, and other programs that provide services to children and families in the child welfare system are not included in the final budget resolution. Your Senators and Representatives must hear from you that they should oppose any final budget resolution that includes these cuts or that merely shifts cuts from one of these programs to another.
Call your U.S. Senators and Representative this week (April 25-29). You can reach your members of Congress in Washington, DC by calling the U.S. Capitol switchboard at 202-225-3121.
- Reject any budget resolution that could lead to a cap, block grant, or cut of Title IV-E Foster Care and Adoption Assistance.**
Both the House and the Senate passed their own versions of the FY 2006 budget resolution in March. In that process, the Senate passed an amendment that spared foster care, adoption assistance, and Medicaid from cuts. Senators Gordon Smith (R-OR) and Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) offered the Senate amendment. All Democratic Senators, seven Republicans [Senators DeWine (OH), Chafee (RI), Coleman (MN), Collins (ME), Specter (PA), Snowe (ME), Smith (OR)], and one Independent [Senator Jeffords (VT)] supported the amendment which passed by a 52 to 48 vote.
Meanwhile, the House passed their version of the budget resolution that calls for a total of nearly $69 billion in cuts to both Medicaid and other human service programs.
Reports are that Senate negotiators will offer up to $43 billion in cuts instead of the House's proposed $69 billion in cuts. In exchange for fewer cuts in the Medicaid program, the Senate will agree to more cuts in other programs under the jurisdiction of the Senate Finance Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee. These programs include: Title IV-E Foster Care and Adoption Assistance, the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG), child care, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) block grant, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), child support, and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program.
When you helped get the Smith-Bingaman amendment passed, stripping out cuts in Medicaid, foster care, and adoption assistance, it was a critical first step. The next step is to ensure that the final budget resolution agreed to by both the House and Senate does not contain the directions to make these cuts. While negotiators missed the April 15 deadline to have an agreement, the negotiations continue. It is important that members continue to hear from you.
Federal spending for foster care and adoption assistance could be reduced in at least three ways:
If the FY 2006 budget reconciliation process results in cuts to programs and services for children in the child welfare system, there will be no opportunity for debate of these cuts or to advocate for the passage of the significant improvements and reforms that are needed.
- Capping federal funding for Title IV-E Foster Care and Adoption Assistance.
- Repealing the 2003 Rosales v. Thompson judicial decision that has resulted in more children becoming eligible for federal foster care assistance. For more information about the Rosales decision, see http://www.cwla.org/advocacy/rosales.htm.
- Restricting the use of Title IV-E administrative funds that currently support services and supports for the child welfare workforce.
For more information, go to CWLA's No Caps on Kids! website at or contact Liz Meitner, CWLA Vice President of Government Affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-942-0257.
**Title IV-E Foster Care and Adoption assistance is currently an entitlement program, which means that it is available to anyone who meets the program's strict eligibility criteria. The federal government reimburses each state for a percentage of the overall cost of the program. A reduction, or the capping or block granting, of Title IV-E funding would reduce the federal government's commitment to share the costs of the caring for these abused and neglected children. The amount of money a state would receive from the federal government would be fixed, regardless of a state's expenses as a result of a capping or block granting of Title IV-E.
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