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

   
   
Vol. 19, Issue 41: 10/16/2006   
Headlines

Advance The 5-Point Congressional Platform!

White House Holds Summit on School Violence

GAO Report Identifies Top Concerns of Child Welfare Agencies

Status of FY 2007 Appropriations Legislation

CWLA Legislative Alerts Available to Subscribers

Key Upcoming Dates for Congress



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 and help to 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 that federal legislators can and should support to protect the nearly 900,000 children abused and neglected each year. The five points of the platform represent specific legislative actions that every member of the House and Senate should support. Find out more.

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White House Holds Summit on School Violence

CWLA staff attended the White House Conference on School Safety, held October 10. This conference was conducted in response to recent school tragedies. The President and Mrs. Bush spoke about their and the administration's concerns regarding the recent increase in school shootings and deaths. Much of the discussion focused on what individual schools and school districts could do to prevent violence, prepare schools to be safer, and, if tragedies occur, help schools and communities heal.

Numerous comments addressed enhancing character development and values as part of high school curriculum. There was little attention paid, however, to other issues related to school violence, such as the availability of guns and the impact of federal budget decisions.

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GAO Report Identifies Top Concerns of Child Welfare Agencies

The Government Accountability Office (GAO), the independent, investigative arm of Congress, has released a new report, Improving Social Service Program, Training, and Technical Assistance Information Would Help Address Long-standing Service-level and Workforce Challenges. This study was conducted to determine "the primary challenges state child welfare agencies face in their efforts to ensure the safety, well-being, and permanent placement of the children under supervision; the changes states have made to improve the outcomes for children in the child welfare system; and the extent to which states participating in the...Child and Family Services Reviews and technical assistance efforts find the assistance to be helpful."

The study identified the three top concerns of child welfare agencies as "providing an adequate level of services for children and families (i.e. mental health and substance abuse services), recruiting and retaining caseworkers, and finding appropriate homes for certain children."

Specifically, the study says that out of 40 states contacted, 39 are concerned with the level of services provided to children and families; 35 are concerned with the ability to recruit and retain caseworkers; 29 are concerned with placement issues; 22 are concerned with the distribution of federal funding across services; 11 are concerned with the collaboration and coordination of services amongsother state departments, such as education; 10 identified concerns with performance and procedure issues; and 4 reported challenges with research, evaluation, and planning.

Mental health and substance abuse services ranked highest among states' concerns regarding the level of services children and families receive. Related to states' dissatisfaction with factors that could affect the their ability to recruit and retain caseworkers, the number one issue was the average number of cases per worker, as evidenced by responses by 34 out of 35 states. The report mentions that most states' caseloads in some areas are more than double CWLA's standards of 12 cases per caseworker investigating allegations of child maltreatment, and no more than 15 cases for caseworkers responsible for children in foster care. Thirty-nine states reported that serving children with special needs is a challenge in the area of making appropriate placements for children.

GAO supports the recommendations that "HHS develop a strategy to centralize federal program information, record all technical assistance to states in its Technical Assistance Tracking Internet System, and ensure that these data are complete, accurate, and timely." The complete report is available online.

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Status of FY 2007 Appropriations Legislation

Following is the current status of the 11 House and 12 Senate appropriations bills. Since the House and Senate have different subcommittee structures (11 committees versus 12, respectively) some overlap exists 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 funded by a continuing resolution (CR) 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.


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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.

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Key Upcoming Dates for Congress

October 1: 2007 Federal Fiscal Year Began
November 7: Election Day
November 13: Congress Returns
November 17: Continuing Resolution Expires


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