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

   
   
Vol. 19, Issue 40: 10/9/2006   
Headlines

CWLA Calls for Federal Law to Make All Members of Congress Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect

Campaign for Children's Health Care Unveils New Study Results

Advance the 5-Point Congressional Platform!

Congress Passes Federal Youth Coordination Act

Punitive Gang Provisions Left Out of Last-Minute Legislation

Older Americans Act Provides Assistance to Some Kinship Families

Status of FY 2007 Appropriations Legislation

CWLA Legislative Alerts Available to Subscribers

Key Upcoming Dates for Congress



CWLA Calls for Federal Law to Make All Members of Congress Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect

In response to the controversy over Representative Mark Foley's (R-FL) interactions with U.S. House of Representative's pages, CWLA has called on Congress to enact legislation that would make all members of Congress mandatory reporters of child abuse.

In an October 3 press statement, CWLA President and CEO Shay Bilchik, said:

We are greatly surprised by the recent revelations surrounding a congressman's apparent sexually explicit exchanges with under age youth. We are equally upset over the apparent inaction to fully address this conduct when knowledge of it first became known. Fifty states and the District of Columbia have mandatory reporting laws that require various professions such as physicians, nurses, schoolteachers, child care providers and law enforcement officers to report instances of abuse when they become aware of it. Since the Congress does not fall under the jurisdiction of any state government it is appropriate that a new federal law now be applied to all members of congress.

All 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico have mandatory reporting laws on the books. The new law that would apply to members of Congress would follow the laws of all 50 states and DC, which require key professionals and those responsible for the care and safety of children to report instances of child abuse and neglect. This standard should be applied to members of Congress, who assume the role of trusted caretaker for minor children who serve as pages, the same as any health professional or teacher.

For the full press statement, go to www.cwla.org/newsevents/news061003congress.htm.

Back to Headlines

Campaign for Children's Health Care Unveils New Study Results

On September 28, CWLA joined other members of the Campaign for Children's Health Care (CCHC) at a press briefing to release the result of No Shelter From the Storm: America's Uninsured Children, a new CCHC report illustrating the plight of uninsured children.

Among other findings, the report shows that uninsured children are nearly five times as likely as insured children to have at least one delayed or unmet health care need. The study also found that uninsured children are more than 13 times as likely as insured children to lack a usual source of health care, and more than three times as likely not to have seen a doctor in the past year.

Much media attention has focused on the report's finding that most of the more than 9 million children without health insurance in the United States live in two-parent families, and that in most of these two-parent families, both parents work.

Significantly, the study finds that minority children are more likely to lack health coverage, while also being more likely to have unmet medical needs and to suffer higher rates of infant mortality, asthma, lead poisoning, and obesity. Alarmingly, the report further reveals that differences between insured and uninsured children are exacerbated for children in the lowest health status categories.

CWLA President and CEO Shay Bilchik issued a press statement commenting on the findings of the report: "The clear deficiencies in the health care experiences of uninsured children compared to children who are insured are unacceptable...Every child deserves access to high-quality, affordable health coverage to enable the best start in life."

Back to Headlines

Advance the 5-Point Congressional Platform!

Join CWLA and participate in this new effort. You can make a difference in children's lives by being a part of this new initiative to engage Members of Congress. Urge Members of Congress and Senators to support the 5-Point Platform. Make Children a National Priority in 2006.

The five points in the platform will help protect children who are abused and neglected and help prevent abuse. Included in the platform are specific, concrete issues federal legislators can and should support to protect the nearly 900,000 abused and neglected children each year. The five points of the platform represent specific legislative actions that every member of the House and Senate should support. To find out more, go to this webpage.

Back to Headlines

Congress Passes Federal Youth Coordination Act

Congress approved the Tom Osborne Federal Youth Coordination Act (FYCA) on September 30. This legislation passed as part of the reauthorization of the Older Americans Act (H.R. 6197). The President is expected to sign the bill in the coming days.

FYCA establishes a national federal advisory council to improve coordination and communication among federal agencies administering vital programs for youth. The council will work to ensure a more comprehensive, coordinated federal youth policy, seeking stronger results through improved coordination.

The 2003 White House Task Force for Disadvantaged Youth found federal youth programs spread across 12 departments with little communication or coordination among them. The Federal Youth Development Council established by FYCA will work across agencies to strengthen outcomes for youth by facilitating interagency coordination, strengthening communication among youth-serving agencies, and working with federal agencies to improve the integration and effectiveness of federal youth policy.


Back to Headlines

Punitive Gang Provisions Left Out of Last-Minute Legislation

Congress tried but failed to add punitive anti-gang provisions to legislation that passed just before it adjourned on September 30. The proposed language would have expanded circumstances under which youth accused of violent crimes would be transferred to adult court. This is a practice that research has shown, doesn't have a negative impact on crime but does have a devastating effect on youth.

Congressional leaders attempted to include the gang language in legislation for the Department of Defense and for port security. Despite an intense last-minute effort to attach the language, i it was not included in either bill.

CWLA has been a leading opponent of expanding the practice of transferring youth to adult courts and was active in opposing this latest effort in Congress.


Back to Headlines

Older Americans Act Provides Assistance to Some Kinship Families

The Older American Act was reauthorized shortly before Congress left for the elections. The legislation (H.R. 6197), which covers a number of familiar senior citizen programs, including home-delivered meals, also lowers the age limit in the National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP). NFCSP provides assistance to certain caregiver families, but it had been limited to grandparents age 60 and older. The new requirements allow grandparents to qualify at age 55. The program provides support and assistance to grandparents and other family members taking care of relative children.

Back to Headlines

Status of FY 2007 Appropriations Legislation

Following is the current status of the 11 House appropriations and 12 Senate bills. Since the House and Senate have different subcommittee structures (11 committees versus 12, respectively) there is some overlap in what some appropriations bills may fund. The appropriations bills that have been finalized are in bold. The federal 2007 fiscal year began October 1, 2006. All departments awaiting approval of an annual appropriation are currently being funded by a continuing resolution (CR) that is due to expire November 17. At that time, Congress will have to pass an annual appropriation or an additional CR.

  • 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, 109-676)--Passed.


  • 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, 109-699)--Passed.


  • 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

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.

To subscribe to Legislative Alerts, visit www.cwla.org/advocacy/alerts.htm.

To subscribe to Children's Monitor, visit www.cwla.org/advocacy/monitoronline.htm.


Back to Headlines

Key Upcoming Dates for Congress

October 1: 2007 Federal Fiscal Year Begins
October 6: Original Target Adjournment
November 7: Election Day
November 13: House Lame Duck Session
November 17: Continuing Resolution Expires


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.