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Home > Advocacy > Alerts and Updates > Advocacy Archives

 
 

LEGISLATIVE ALERT

© Child Welfare League of America. The content of these publications may not be reproduced in any way, including posting on the Internet, without the permission of CWLA. For permission to use material from CWLA's website or publications, contact us using our website assistance form.

November 11, 2005

Great Work! House Postpones Vote on Foster Care Cuts!

Due to your efforts and the efforts of thousands of advocates across the country, the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday postponed a scheduled vote on budget reconciliation. The House leadership decided to postpone the vote because there was not enough support to approve the bill, that includes nearly $600 million in cuts for foster care and supports for grandparents and other relatives caring for abused and neglected children. After failing to garner enough support, the leadership of the House did announce plans to bring the bill to the floor for a vote the week of November 14.

Your efforts clearly make a huge difference and your continued effort is needed. Our task now is to make sure that our U.S. Representatives do not vote for a House budget reconciliation bill that contains foster care cuts.

ACTION REQUIRED:

  • Call your U.S. Representative or talk to them over the Veterans Day weekend when they may be back at home. You can contact your Representative in Washington, DC by calling the U.S. Capitol switchboard at 202-225-3121.
Once you make your call, send this Legislative Alert on to others you know who care about children and families.

MESSAGE:

  • Vote NO on the House budget reconciliation bill.
The House budget reconciliation bill reduces Title IV-E federal foster care funding by nearly $600 million, which will severely limit supports for children who have been abused and neglected and are now living with grandparents or other relatives.

BACKGROUND/RECENT CONGRESSIONAL ACTIVITY

On November 3, the Senate approved their budget reconciliation bill. The Senate bill does not include any cuts to Title IV-E federal foster care funding. Both the Senate and House bills do clarify the use of Medicaid targeted case management for children in foster care.

The House attempted, but failed to bring their budget reconciliation bill for a vote on November 10. The House bill includes $600 million in cuts for Title IV-E foster care and supports for grandparents and other relatives caring for abused and neglected children. The House will now try to gain support and bring the bill to a vote the week of November 14. These measures must not be included in the final budget reconciliation bill:

I. Repeals Rosales v. Thompson

Repeals a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling, Rosales v. Thompson. That decision has allowed more abused and neglected children living with relatives to receive Title IV-E federal foster care support. The bill, contrary to Rosales, establishes that a child's eligibility for federal foster care is dependent on the eligibility of the original home from which the child was removed, not the home of the relative in which the child might have subsequently been placed.

This eligibility for federal foster care support allows relatives to step in and care for abused and neglected children when needed. As a result, the nine states and two territories directly impacted by the Ninth Circuit's decision (Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Guam, and the Mariana Islands) estimate that tens of thousands of additional children living with relatives are now eligible for federal foster care assistance. Ultimately, children in other states may also be affected by this ruling.

Repealing this court determination would deny federal foster care benefits to these children. In California alone, over 5,000 children would lose federal support. Legislation overturning the Rosales v. Thompson court decision would also impact some children's ability to receive federal adoption assistance, as decided by a recent court ruling in Georgia.

According to the Congressional budget office, this provision would cut federal spending for Title IV-E Foster Care by $397 million over five years and $879 million over ten years.

For more information, go to Rosales v. Thompson.

II. Implements a White House Proposal to Limit Some Forms of Federal Foster Care Assistance

Another proposal in the House bill implements a White House rule initially offered in 2001--that was blocked at that time due to protests from child advocates. This proposal:
  • Reduces federal funding for services to kids living with their grandparents and other relatives by limiting Title IV-E administrative funds to support only licensed foster care placements. This represents a reversal of longstanding federal policy to encourage the placement of children with relatives whenever possible.

  • Limits federal foster care assistance for children who are at imminent risk of entering foster care. The bill reduces Title IV-E administrative funding for services to kids who are considered likely "candidates" for foster care--in other words kids who could be prevented from going into foster care.

  • Limits Title IV-E administrative funding for services to children leaving a non-child welfare facility, such as a hospital, psychiatric center, crisis center, or juvenile facility, and being transferred into foster care.
According to the Congressional budget office, these provisions would cut federal spending for Title IV-E Foster Care by $180 million over five years and $411 million over ten years.

The impact of these TCM provisions is being analyzed to determine whether the legislative language could be regulated in such a way as to restrict access to funding for some TCM populations and services.

For more information, visit CWLA's No Caps on Kids! Campaign website or contact Liz Meitner, CWLA Vice President of Government Affairs, at emeitner@cwla.org or 202-942-0257.


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