Children's Monitor Online
A Public Policy Update from the Child Welfare League of America

   
   
Vol. 19, Issue 34: 8/21/2006   
Headlines

States Discuss Disproportionate Representation in the Child Welfare System

CWLA Participates in Multiple Campaigns for Children's Health Care

Status of FY 2007 Appropriations Legislation

Children's Monitor Will Not Be Published Next Week

CWLA Legislative Alerts Available to Subscribers

Key Upcoming Dates for Congress



States Discuss Disproportionate Representation in the Child Welfare System

On August 14, the National Conference of State Legislatures held a seminar entitled Racial Equity in Child Welfare: The Role of State Legislatures, in Nashville, Tennessee. Children of color, belonging to various cultural, ethnic, and racial communities, are disproportionately represented in the child welfare system and frequently receive disparate and inequitable services. CWLA and a growing number of organizations and policymakers have been focusing more attention to this issue in recent years.

The seminar was a joint effort of Casey Family Programs, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Casey Family Services, the Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative, the Marguerite Casey Foundation, and the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP). The group has set a long-term goal to significantly reduce the number of racial and ethnic minorities through jurisdictions that are amenable to partner with the Casey-CSSP Alliance on Racial Equity by 2015.

Panelists included state legislators and child welfare administrators, conference sponsors, and other policy experts. Represented were Michigan, Minnesota, Tennessee, and Washington State; the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Work; University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work; and two African American former foster care youth who are active on the Tennessee Youth Advisory Council.

A number of complex factors contribute to disproportional representation in child welfare: the history of child welfare in America and structural/institutional racism, poverty, single-parent homes, substance abuse, labeling bias, and lack of culturally competent child protective service workers. Language barriers between child welfare workers and non-English-speaking clients, and the over-reporting of children of color to child protective services also contribute to disproportionality. In terms of child welfare history in the United States, panelist Carol Wilson Spigner, from the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Work, said cultural dominance, religious continuity, and child rescue and resocialization had been common themes since colonial times.

The former foster care youth provided real-life stories. One indicated more could have been done to prevent her entry into the child welfare system; the other said foster care was in her best interest, nevertheless contact with her biological family was paramount.

Minnesota, Michigan, and Texas have conducted studies on disproportionality. Meanwhile, U.S. Representative Charles Rangel (D-NY), in 2005, directed the Congressional Research Service to analyze the issue and then asked the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to investigate the high numbers of African American children in foster care. Results from GAO's investigation should be released next year.

The Casey-CSSP Alliance formed six recommendations to bring about change to reduce the number of children of color in the child welfare system:
  • legislation, policy change, and finance reform;
  • research, evaluation, and data-based decision-making;
  • youth, parent, and community partnership and development;
  • public will and communication;
  • human service workforce development; and
  • practice change (site-based implementation).
CWLA has a National Advisory Committee on Cultural Competence and Racial Disproportionality and Disparity of Outcomes and has developed a vision and policy statement along with recommendations.

Back to Headlines

CWLA Participates in Multiple Campaigns for Children's Health Care

Earlier this summer, CWLA announced it was joining the Campaign for Children's Health Care, a national public education campaign led by Families USA in anticipation of the reauthorization of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) in 2007. Launched in July, the campaign will involve numerous activities across the country over the next year, culminating in a petition to delivered to the President and Congress next spring urging immediate work on "legislation that will provide comprehensive, affordable, high-quality health coverage for all children."

As a campaign partner, CWLA has an organization-specific URL for its members and supporters to sign the online petition. CWLA members are encouraged to take action to ensure all children are covered by health insurance and sign the online petition.

CWLA has also joined a separate but complementary campaign launched by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation August 9. The Covering Kids and Families Back-to-School Campaign encourages parents to include enrolling their eligible uninsured children in Medicaid or SCHIP as an important part of getting their children ready for the new school year, and is expected to reach millions of families nationwide during August and September.

Many of the approximately 9 million uninsured children in the United States are eligible for low-cost or free coverage through Medicaid or SCHIP, but many parents may not realize their children could be eligible for this coverage. As a campaign partner, CWLA encourages its members to visit the Covering Kids and Families website to order free promotional materials and learn more about additional available resources to help get involved and spread the word to families.

Back to Headlines

Status of FY 2007 Appropriations Legislation

Following is the status of the 11 House and 12 Senate appropriations bills. Because the House and Senate have different subcommittee structures (11 versus 12 committees) there is some overlap in what some appropriations bills may fund. All bills have at least passed their respective appropriations committees. The federal 2007 fiscal year begins October 1, 2006.
  • Labor-Health and Human Services-Education (H.R. 5647/S. 3708)--passed by both committees, awaiting floor debate.

  • Agriculture (H.R. 5384/Senate Sub. H.R. 5384)--passed House, awaiting Senate floor debate.

  • Commerce, Justice, and Science (H.R. 5672/Senate Sub H.R. 5672)--passed House awaiting Senate floor debate.

  • Defense (H.R. 5631/Senate Sub. H.R. 5631)--passed House, on Senate floor.

  • District of Columbia (H.R. 5576/S. 3660)--passed House, awaiting Senate floor debate.

  • Energy and Water (H.R. 5427/Senate Sub. H.R. 5427)--passed House, awaiting Senate floor debate.

  • Foreign Operations (H.R. 5522/Senate Sub. H.R. 5522--passed House, awaiting Senate floor debate.

  • Homeland Security (H.R. 5441/Senate Sub. H.R. 5441)--passed House, passed Senate, in conference committee.

  • Interior and Environment (H.R. 5386/Senate Sub. H.R. 5386)--passed House, awaiting Senate floor debate.

  • Legislative Branch (H.R. 5521/Senate Sub. H.R. 5521)—passed House, awaiting Senate floor debate.

  • Military Construction (H.R. 5385/Senate Sub. H.R. 5385)--passed House, awaiting Senate floor debate.

  • Transportation, Treasury and Housing (H.R. 5576/Senate Sub. H.R. 5576)--passed House, awaiting Senate floor debate.


Back to Headlines

Children's Monitor Will Not Be Published Next Week

There will be no Children's Monitor on August 28. Look for us to return September 5 when Congress returns from its Labor Day recess.

Back to Headlines

CWLA Legislative Alerts Available to Subscribers

CWLA's Legislative Alerts provide breaking news, advocacy information, and critically important timely details of legislative battles. In an effort to broaden CWLA's advocacy network on behalf of children, anyone can now subscribe and receive the same information. This effort compliments CWLA's weekly electronic legislative newsletter, the Children's Monitor, which is also available free to any subscriber. We encourage you to register to receive these items directly and to pass on the information to other colleagues, family, and friends.

Subscribe to Legislative Alerts.

Subscribe to Children's Monitor.

Back to Headlines

Key Upcoming Dates for Congress

September 5: Congress Returns from Summer Recess
September 29: Congress Begins Fall Recess
October 1: Federal Fiscal Year (FY) 2007 Begins
October 6: Original Target Adjournment.
November 13: House Lame Duck Session


Back to Headlines

Click here to see the list of previous issues

If you know of others who would like their names added to this list, please have them visit www.cwla.org/advocacy/monitoronline-optin.htm. To remove yourself from this list, send an e-mail to monitor@cwla.org with "Remove from Monitor Online List" in the subject line.

© Child Welfare League of America. The content of this publication 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.