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

   
   
Vol. 21, Issue 7: 2/18/2008   
Headlines

Bill Introduced to Create White House Conference on Children and Youth

CWLA Gathering to Launch Capitol Hill Effort on White House Conference

2008 CWLA Legislative Agenda Available Online

Senate Adopts Amendment to Delay TCM Rule

New CWLA Radio Blog, "Speaking for America's Children"

Join CWLA's Call for a White House Conference on Children and Youth

CWLA Legislative Alerts Available to Subscribers

Key Upcoming Dates for Congress



Bill Introduced to Create White House Conference on Children and Youth

On February 14, Representatives Chaka Fattah (D-PA) and Jon Porter (R-NV) introduced H.R. 5461, legislation to hold a White House Conference on Children and Youth. The bill was introduced with 33 cosponsors.

The legislation is similar to previous bills to hold White House Conferences on Children and Youth and other White House conferences. It would establish a policy committee with members selected by the President and leaders from both parties and both houses of Congress. The policy committee oversees creation of a plan for the actual 2010 event, including the agenda and a series of regional and national meetings leading up to the conference in Washington.

The legislation focuses on an array of issues that fall under child welfare, including prevention of and intervention for abuse and neglect; permanence for children in foster care including, kinship care, adoption, and reunification; as well as cross-cutting issues such as access to health care and mental health services, the role of substance abuse, overrepresentation of certain populations in the system, access and support for tribal governments and communities, and the role of key partners, including the courts and state and local child welfare systems.

There has not been a White House Conference on Children and Youth since 1970, an almost 40-year span during which much has changed but little has improved. If this conference follows the more recent Conferences on Aging (1994-1995 and 2004-2005) the actual White House event will be preceded by a series of regional, state, and local meetings. Some of these meetings may actually receive federal support and be an official part of the conference activities, whereas others may be independent gatherings of interested parties and partners. These meetings usually result in recommendations on the issues that are given to the policy committee.

Past conferences have resulted in hundreds of such local gatherings. In past Aging Conferences, delegates to the White House event were selected by each state's governor and were allotted based on population. In addition, each member of Congress has selected a delegate. The policy committees have also selected representatives from national organizations to participate and attend the conference. If this conference is held, a great deal of activity and events will take place in 2009.

CWLA is excited about the potential impact of not just an event at the White House but the great transformative potential so many meetings at the state and local level could have on child welfare. This would be especially important if Congress could be moved to make improvements in the current financing of child welfare services. The conference could in fact help with the implementation of any such reforms.

We encourage you to contact your member of Congress and ask him or her to cosponsor H.R. 5461. You can do this by calling the U.S. Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to be connected to your representative's office.

A press release on the introduction of this legisltion is on Representative Fattah's website.

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CWLA Gathering to Launch Capitol Hill Effort on White House Conference

The CWLA Annual Conference, "Children: 2008 - A Call For Action," will take place February 25-27 in Washington, DC, and will launch the effort on Capitol Hill to enact H.R. 5461, legislation to reestablish the decennial White House Conference for Children and Youth. Hundreds of conference participants will go to the Hill on Tuesday Feb 26 to urge Senators and Representatives to support and cosponsor the bill.

Representative Chaka Fattah (D-PA), the lead sponsor of the bill, will be speaking at the conference and describing the vital role the White House Conference will play in bringing about fundamental reform in the child welfare system.

The CWLA national conference is highly regarded in the child welfare community and includes many inspiring speakers and opportunities to learn and network, in addition to advocating for the White House Conference. If you would like to register for "Children 2008 - A Call for Action," you can still do so onsite. View more information about our annual conference.

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2008 CWLA Legislative Agenda Available Online

The 2008 edition of CWLA's Legislative Agenda is now available online. This week, the agenda is being sent to Capitol Hill. It outlines CWLA's positions on 16 key areas of concern, including adoption, finance reform, Medicaid, SSBG, and many other critical issues. Also included in the document is a national fact sheet listing vital statistics on children and youth.

While the Legislative Agenda does not evaluate every possible bill that affects child welfare, it does stake out CWLA's vision on critical issues before the 110th Congress. The agenda represents an update of the 2007 version, since we are still in the 110th Congress with all bills introduced last year continuing this year. The agenda is driven by issues and legislation offered by Congress and the President, CWLA member input, and concerns and issues that require debate, including reauthorizations of current laws such as the Child Abuse Prevent and Treatment Act.

In the introductory letter to Congress, CWLA President/CEO Christine James-Brown states, "Central to our legislative priorities this year will be passing legislation to hold a White House Conference on Children and Youth in 2010."

The call for the White House Conference on Children and Youth is not included in the Legislative Agenda document but will be a separate focus of the CWLA "Hot Topics." This is a separate publication that CWLA members will be bringing to Capitol Hill on Advocacy Day, Tuesday February 26. The Hot Topics, which also include support for the two bills that would extend Title IV-E funding to Kinship Care (S. 661 and H.R. 2188), will be posted online at the time of the National Conference.

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Senate Adopts Amendment to Delay TCM Rule

On February 14, the Senate adopted an amendment to halt implementation of CMS's restrictive Medicaid case management and targeted case management (TCM) rule (CMS-2237-IFC/72 Fed. Reg. 68077) until April 1, 2009. The amendment, offered in a bipartisan fashion by Senators Norm Coleman (R-MN), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) to the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, passed by voice vote.

CWLA, several other national organizations, and many members of Congress--including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Senate Finance Chair Max Baucus (D-MT)--have expressed sincere concern that the case management rule exceeds congressional intent and as such threatens vital services for vulnerable populations, including children and youth involved with the child welfare and foster care systems.

In his floor statement on the amendment, Coleman said, "I am all for fiscal responsibility, but I cannot support reforms that will have such destructive effects on America's foster care system. These children already have enough obstacles to face. Let's not make their lives more challenging by taking away these critical case management services."

Coleman was referencing the rule's vague disallowance of Medicaid reimbursement for case management/TCM services that are deemed "integral to" the administration of another non-medical program, such as child welfare and child protective services. CMS alludes that this exclusion could extend to case management services furnished by contractors to state child welfare and child protection agencies, even if they are otherwise qualified Medicaid providers. Coleman also discussed the rule's stringent requirement that case management services--even in the most complex situations--be provided by a single case manager and its drastic reduction of time individuals can receive assistance when transitioning to the community.

Reid filed a cloture petition on the bill to end filibusters and has scheduled votes on cloture and final passage for February 25, immediately after the Senate returns from recess. CWLA thanks Senators Coleman, Klobuchar, and Mikulski for their leadership on this matter.

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New CWLA Radio Blog, "Speaking for America's Children"

On the Line with CWLA is a thought-provoking, interactive, live Internet radio program focusing on subjects, stories, and strategies of special interest to child welfare policymakers, providers, and practitioners. The program, devoted solely to discussions about the welfare of America's vulnerable children, features a forum where numerous points of view and voices of experience within the child welfare universe can be heard. To listen to On the Line with CWLA, go to www.blogtalkradio.com/CWLA-Radio.

The live program, hosted by broadcasting veteran Tony Regusters, is a production of CWLA that will provide a platform for CWLA member organizations, their staffs, its partners, and concerned citizens in the national community to share ideas and thoughts about critical issues that affect child welfare agencies, vulnerable children and teens, and their families.

The weekly subject-oriented, solutions-driven program will broadcast Wednesdays, 2:00-2:30 pm ET and feature indepth, timely discussions with leading child welfare experts, agents, and advocates; leadership and representatives from CWLA's member agencies; and local and national political figures working to improve child welfare and give a voice to child welfare professionals, providers, and practitioners nationwide.

Upcoming Shows

Wednesday February 20
Homeland Security: Making America's Children a National Priority

Tuesday February 26
(Note special day, to coincide with CWLA's Advocacy Day)
Heading for the Hill: Calling on Congress to Endorse a National Conference on Children and Youth

Remember, the shows broadcast 2:00-2:30 pm ET. The call-in number is 347/326-9411. Visit www.blogtalkradio.com/CWLA-Radio.

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Join CWLA's Call for a White House Conference on Children and Youth

Holding a White House Conference on Children will bring together a cross-section of policymakers, advocates, professionals (including the courts), and families and children directly affected by the child welfare system to create recommendations for policy and change. Much positive change has come from previous White House conferences for children, the last one being held in 1970. CWLA is calling on Congress and the next President to reestablish this important policymaking tradition, and the time to act is NOW.

Your support and involvement with this effort is crucial to its success. As experts in the field, we look to you for your leadership in asking Congress and others to support this important campaign for children.

Sign On in Support

CWLA is calling on members and supporters to sign on in support of a White House Conference on Children in 2010.

Pass a Board Resolution

If your organization requires you to pass a board resolution to officially support such an effort, CWLA has created a sample resolution to assist you in this effort.

Let Congress Know of Your Support

The League encourages you to send your resolutions and letters of support to your Congressional delegation. Without their support, a White House conference is not possible.

In keeping with CWLA's tradition of nonpartisanship, the letter has been sent to all presidential candidates in the two major parties. View the website, read the letter, and sign on to support the campaign.

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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

  • February 20: CWLA Radio Blog, Homeland Security: Making America's Children a National Priority
  • February 18-24: President's Day Break
  • February 25-27: CWLA National Conference
  • March 15-30: Congressional Spring Break
  • April 1: Start of Child Abuse Prevention Month
  • April 15: Target date to pass Congressional budget resolution
  • May 15: Target date tor House to begin passage of 12 appropriations bills
  • June 27: Target date for House to complete work on appropriations


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