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

   
   
Vol. 19, Issue 36: 9/11/2006   
Headlines

Special Note: September 11

CWLA Announces Grassroots Advocacy Tool: 5-Point Candidate Platform

CWLA Holds Capitol Hill Briefing on Health Care and Children in Foster Care

CWLA Requests Restoration of PSSF Funding in Senate

FY 2007 Appropriations Legislation Remains Same as Congress Returns

CWLA Legislative Alerts Available to Subscribers

Key Upcoming Dates for Congress



Special Note: September 11

The staff and members of the Child Welfare League of America remember those who lost loved ones and those who continue to feel the effects of the events of September 11, 2001. Our thoughts are with you and our entire country.

Back to Headlines

CWLA Announces Grassroots Advocacy Tool: 5-Point Candidate Platform

The 2006 election is shaping up one in which a number of U.S. Senate and House races will be close. There will be a great deal of competition for the candidates' attention on issues, ranging from the war, to the economy, to education and many other areas of concern. As a result, CWLA is announcing a new grassroots advocacy tool as a way to bring child welfare and child abuse issues to the forefront.

The 5-Point Candidate Platform is a brief and specific set of legislative actions Congressional candidates can support, based on the CWLA legislative agenda.

The five points include protecting the Title IV-E entitlement for foster care and adoption assistance, fixing Title IV-E eligibility for foster care and adoption assistance, extending funding to kinship placements, full funding for the prevention and services programs like the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act and Promoting Safe and Stable Families, and making sure any changes to vital initiatives such as the Social Services Block Grant, Medicaid, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families do not harm children in the child welfare system.

The 5-Point Platform is a tool that can used between now and the next election to commit members of Congress from all parties and philosophies behind some basic child welfare reforms. It is not a global commitment, such as promising to "support children," nor is it the comprehensive reform we have advocated for over the years. Rather, it is more specific to a series of federal legislative actions that should be a part of improvements to the child welfare field.

Regardless of the political persuasion or views of Washington prognosticators, there is a consensus that dozens of House and Senate seats will be competitive in 2006. Candidates from the major parties will be paying special attention to the issues that have drawn the most attention in their individual districts and states. That can be good for the child welfare community if issues including foster care, kinship care, and prevention of child abuse and neglect are raised with candidates. No doubt candidates will have to deal with many other issues and questionnaires that will be submitted to them. The 5-Point Platform can help child welfare advocates make sure our issues get attention as well.

The 5-Point Platform consists of one page with the five positions or points for candidates to support, with a form to complete and return to CWLA. In addition, a summary document provides a simple explanation for each of the five points, and a more comprehensive background document gives greater detail for each of the five platform points.

The platform, summary, and background can be downloaded from CWLA's website. The website also provides links to voter registration sites and useful tips on how to use the 5-Point Platform.

Look for future additions to the website and updates on candidates and their reactions in the coming weeks.

Back to Headlines

CWLA Holds Capitol Hill Briefing on Health Care and Children in Foster Care

On September 7, CWLA held a briefing for Capitol Hill staff on the health care needs of children in care. Entitled "Extraordinary Circumstances: Health Care Needs of Children in the Child Welfare System," the briefing featured a distinguished panel with representatives from the health care system and the child welfare community, as well as a behavioral health consumer perspective.

CWLA President and CEO Shay Bilchik moderated the event. David Rubin, Director of Research and Policy at Safe Place: Center for Child Protection and Health at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, spoke about the relationship between Medicaid and children in foster care and, in particular, the importance of targeted case management to providing adequate health services to foster children.

Peter Pecora, Senior Director of Research Services at Casey Family Programs, presented on the disproportionately high rates of mental disorders among adults who were placed in foster care as children. CWLA Board Member Marilyn Benoit shared her expertise on mental health issues within the child welfare population. Sandra Spencer, Executive Director, Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health, shared a consumer viewpoint on behavioral health care services.

Bilchik's statement and related materials are available online.

The briefing highlighted new research on children in foster care who experience disproportionately high rates of chronic physical, mental, developmental, and behavioral conditions; examined the implications stemming from the high number of children with serious behavioral or mental health problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder; and discussed federal policies that could affect the ability of states to use Medicaid funding to adequately meet the health care needs of children entrusted to state care.

Back to Headlines

CWLA Requests Restoration of PSSF Funding in Senate

CWLA sent letters to Senators last week calling for a restoration of funding in the Promoting Safe and Stable Families (PSSF) program. Under the current Senate Appropriations bill (S. 3708), funding for the core PSSF program would be reduced from $394 million to $380 million. If the cuts are adopted, funding would be reduced by $25 million over two years. CWLA President and CEO Shay Bilchik sent letters to Senate appropriators asking to restore the funding, pointing out that approximately 40% of children substantiated as abused or neglected do not receive services. CWLA also joined onto a letter spearheaded by the National Child Abuse Coalition that called on Senators to reject the cut.

PSSF provides funding for adoption support, family preservation, family support, and family reunification services. The program is due to expire at the end of this fiscal year, and Congress must reauthorize, or extend, PSSF for five years. Although the Deficit Reduction Act cut nearly $600 million in funding from the foster care system, it also provided a $40 million increase to PSSF for 2006. As Bilchik's letter points out, however, "These funds will be used for different purposes in both the Senate and House reauthorization bills and not used for the four core services."

The Senate is not expected to debate the Labor-HHS-Education appropriations bill before members recess for the election on September 29.

Back to Headlines

FY 2007 Appropriations Legislation Remains Same as Congress Returns

Congress returned last week for what will be a very brief session scheduled to end by September 29. The Senate focused on passing a $468 billion Defense appropriations bill. It became clear there would be little if any time for either the House or Senate to focus on the other appropriations bills, with the possible exception of Homeland Security.

Congressional leadership has made a priority of finishing business by the end of the month due to the November election. The Senate will focus much of its remaining days on debates over the war, defense, and other security issues; the House has a similar set of priorities.

Because only a few federal departments will have funding approved before the start of the fiscal year on October 1, a continuing resolution (CR) will have to be adopted to fund federal programs for at least a few weeks. Congress will likely return November 13, and the CR will extend funding to that time or closer to the end of November.

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 29: Congress Begins Fall Recess
October 1: Federal 2007 Fiscal Year Begins
October 6: Original Target Adjournment
November 7: Election Day
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.