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

   
   
Vol. 21, Issue 31: 8/18/2008   
Headlines

Progress on Bill to Create White House Conference

CMS Issues Guidance on TCM Moratorium; Baucus, Dingell Respond

CWLA Conference on Data and Technology in Child Welfare

CWLA Symposium on Multisystems Integration

New Poll Shows Strong Support for Child Care

On the Line with CWLA, 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



Progress on Bill to Create White House Conference

Six months after Representatives Chaka Fattah (D-PA) and Jon Porter (R-NV) introduced H.R. 5461, a bill to reestablish a White House Conference on Children and Youth, support has grown to 53 cosponsors in the House and 16 for the Senate bill, S. 2771, introduced by Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA).

The legislation is similar to previous bills to hold White House Conferences on Children and Youth and on Aging. It establishes a policy committee with members selected by the President and leaders from both parties and both houses of Congress. The policy committee would oversee creation of an agenda for the actual 2010 event and a series of regional and national meetings leading up to the convening in Washington.

The legislation focuses on collecting issues that fall under child welfare, including abuse and neglect prevention and intervention; permanence for children in foster care, including kinship care; adoptions; reunification; and all the cross-cutting issues, such as access to health care and mental health services, the role of substance abuse, over-representation 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.

No White House on Children and Youth has been convened since 1970, but 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 meeting 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 given to the policy committee.

Past Conferences on Aging have resulted in hundreds of such local gatherings. Delegates to the White House event have been selected by each state's governor based on population factors. In addition, each member of Congress has selected a delegate, and the policy committees have also selected representatives from national organizations to participate and attend the conference. If this conference is held, a great many activities and events will take place in 2009 and early 2010.

CWLA is supportive not just because an actual convention would be held in 2010 but also because of the potential community-building activities that could occur over the next two years. The vision is for communities to come together to address issues that confront them in the areas of child welfare and challenges that transcend child welfare, such as over-representation, mental health and substance abuse services, coordination between needed services, child care, housing, job support, and transportation.

This is not just another Washington event with Washington representatives; this event will build public and community will and include the stakeholders as conference delegates. The conference could also lend support to efforts to focus more on issues of poverty, which also affects families involved with child welfare. A Conference on Children and Youth would be a useful tool to implement program changes if significant child welfare reforms are enacted either this September or in the next Congress.

Call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121, ask for your member of Congress, and ask your member to cosponsor the Fattah-Porter bill, H.R. 5461 (in the House of Representatives) or S. 2771 (in the Senate), to create a White House Conference on Children and Youth.

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CMS Issues Guidance on TCM Moratorium; Baucus, Dingell Respond

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have issued guidance on the moratorium on the case management/targeted case management (TCM) regulation (CMS 2237-IFC), as signed into law by the Supplemental Appropriations Act (P.L. 110-252). The moratorium largely delays administrative action on the TCM rule but does permit CMS to continue enforcing changes made to TCM contained in Section 6052 of the Deficit Reduction Act (P.L. 109-171) and policy set forth in two letters in 2000 and 2001. The 2001 letter went to state child welfare and Medicaid directors and clarified the use of TCM in nonmedical programs, such as child welfare and foster care.

CMS's guidance again iterates that case management/TCM services do not include the direct services to which a Medicaid-eligible individual has been referred, that third-party liability rules are in place, and that reimbursement methodology and rates must be "economic and efficient." CMS also states that under the moratorium, CMS will not be enforcing the following parts of the TCM regulation: the prohibition on the use of workers of nonmedical programs to provide Medicaid case management, the 15-minute billing increments requirement, or the single case manager requirement.

On August 7, Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) and Representative John D. Dingell (D-MI), who respectively chair the Senate and House committees with jurisdiction over Medicaid, sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Michael O. Leavitt, thanking CMS for the timely guidance on the TCM moratorium. Baucus and Dingell, however, did state in their letter that Congress "clearly intended" for the moratorium to also delay the "integral component or intrinsic element test" that, in the rule, seemed to largely prohibit Medicaid reimbursement for case management/TCM services provided in nonmedical programs, such as child welfare and foster care.

Baucus and Dingell continued that "this test has no basis in the Medicaid statute" and mirrors a policy that CMS sought to include in the Deficit Reduction Act, but that Congress "specifically rejected." Baucus and Dingell's letter further clarifies case management/TCM services under the moratorium and ensures that Medicaid beneficiaries can continue to receive them.

The Baucus-Dingell letter is available online.

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CWLA Conference on Data and Technology in Child Welfare

The 11th Annual Child Welfare Data and Technology Conference was held July 21-25 in Washington, DC. In light of new federal Regulations on the National Youth in Transition Database, the theme was Making IT Work: Achieving Safety, Permanency and Well-Being for Youth. More than 400 colleagues gathered to share lessons learned and discuss challenges and opportunities to enhance the collection and use of child welfare data. This included a large number of colleagues from private agencies, state courts, and universities, as well as federal and state child welfare staff.

For more information about child welfare data and technology, visit the CWLA National Center for Research and Data.

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CWLA Symposium on Multisystems Integration

On August 7, CWLA's Juvenile Justice Division held a symposium on multisystems integration. The San Francisco event, which drew mostly advocates and professionals from the west coast, featured the four-phase framework that has helped state and local jurisdictions in their work to more effectively coordinate and integrate child welfare, juvenile justice, and other relevant youth-serving systems on behalf of multisystem youth and families.

CWLA Juvenile Justice Director and Senior Consultant Janet K. Wiig, and John A. Tuell, Director of the Child Welfare-Juvenile Justice Systems Integration Initiative, presented the elements of the framework, highlighting the newly released Guidebook for Juvenile Justice & Child Welfare System Coordination and Integration, and featured successful reform work from numerous jurisdictions nationwide.

For more information and a link to the Guidebook, visit CWLA's website.

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New Poll Shows Strong Support for Child Care

On August 6, the National Women's Law Center released a poll attempting to measure economic insecurity of woman. According to the new poll, conducted by Hart Research Associates, women are more likely than men to feel they are following behind economically and to say their income is falling behind the cost of living.

More than half of women (55%) feel the government should do more to solve problems and help meet the needs of women. The answers to polling questions on child care and early education indicated strong support for greater action by the federal government. When asked about policies that the next President and Congress might consider, 76% of women said addressing the expansion of access to quality affordable child care and early education was extremely or very important. Seventy-five percent of women approved of increasing government funding to ensure access to quality child care and early education.

"Women today face enormous challenges," said Marcia D. Greenberger, Copresident of the National Women's Law Center. "They often struggle to achieve economic security and health care that meets their needs, and face difficulties securing access to equal education and employment opportunities." The poll was released along with the advocacy groups new Platform for Progress, is intended to help address the unmet needs and growing concerns of women and their families.

"Women in this country are sending a clear message that they expect our government to do better when it comes to expanding opportunities for women and their families," said Copresident Nancy Duff Campbell. "NWLC is here to make sure that the government is listening."

Access the polling information and platform.

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On the Line with CWLA, Speaking for America's Children

On the Line with CWLA is a thought-provoking, interactive radio program focusing on subjects, stories, and strategies of special interest to child welfare policymakers, providers, and practitioners. The program, devoted solely to 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.

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.

Programming schedule subject to change.

This Week's Show

Wednesday, August 20
A Conversation with Ashley Rhodes-Courter

On the Line talks one-on-one with Ashley Rhodes-Courter, author of Three Little Words. Rhodes-Courter was born in North Carolina in 1985 and entered foster care in 1989. Over the next nine years, she lived in 14 placements before being adopted at age 12 by Phil and Gay Courter of Crystal River, Florida.

For more information on the show, visit www.cwla.org/newsevents/cwlaradio.htm.

Coming Shows

Wednesday, August 27
Painful Separations: Immigration Raids Leave Many Children Behind

According to a report by the Urban Institute and the National Council of La Raza, approximately 5 million children in the United States have at least one undocumented parent, and for every two immigrants apprehended in raids, one child is left behind. Host Tony Regusters and his guests call attention to the harmful effects of sweeping immigration raids and expound on the urgent need for a more humane immigration policy that focuses on protecting children and keeping families united while still enforcing the law.

Wednesday, September 3
A Conversation with Chris James-Brown

Our guest is President and CEO of CWLA.

Wednesday, September 10
Teen Depression and Suicide

Eighteen-year-old Jordan Burham, who had been battling depression for some time, jumped from the ninth floor of his family's apartment building in a suicide attempt 10 months ago. Miraculously, he survived. In May, he testified at a congressional briefing, urging Congress to help young people struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts.

Wednesday, September 17
Nicholas Shanks

A homeless teen and the son of addicted parents, Nicholas Shanks graduated valedictorian of Philadelphia's Martin Luther King High School's 2008 Graduating Class. His story made headlines in the Philadelphia Daily News, and has been featured on ABC's "Good Morning America."

Wednesday, September 24
Parental Substance Abuse: The Impact on Families and Effective Programs to Help


For more information on the show, visit www.cwla.org/newsevents/cwlaradio.htm.

On the Line with CWLA is a production of the Child Welfare League of America, Arlington, Virginia. Programming schedule subject to change.

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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

  • August 25-28: Democrats Hold Convention
  • September 1-4: Republicans Hold Convention
  • September 8: Congress Reconvenes
  • September 26: House Scheduled End to 110th Congress
  • TBD: Senate Scheduled End to 110th Congress
  • November 4: Election Day
  • January 3, 2009: Start of 111th Congress
  • January 20, 2009: New President Sworn In


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