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

   
   
Vol. 22, Issue 8: 2/23/2009   
Headlines

Call Tuesday in Support of White House Conference

One Year Later, Significant Progress on Child Welfare Legislation

Child Trends Updates State Child Welfare Spending

Recovery Package and Child Welfare

President to Release Budget Outline, Address Congress

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



Call Tuesday in Support of White House Conference

As part of the 2009 CWLA National Conference, tomorrow, Tuesday February 24 will focus on Capitol Hill and passage of legislation to reauthorize a White House Conference on Children and Youth (H.R. 618).

Tuesday, which is Advocacy Day for CWLA, will have an impressive start as conference attendees hear from two key congressional advocates, Representatives Jim McDermott (D-WA) and Danny Davis (D-IL). Later, CWLA attendees will board buses and head to Capitol Hill to talk to their Senators and Representatives. One of their central messages will be to support legislation to reestablish the White House Conference on Children and Youth.

CWLA is urging all others who support the White House Conference to call Capitol Hill tomorrow (202-224-3121) and urge their Senators and Representatives to support the legislation.

Representatives Chaka Fattah (D-PA) and Todd Platts (R-PA) reintroduced the bill to reauthorize the conference. In the Senate, Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) is expected to reintroduce her legislation soon. Use the Capitol switchboard number (202-224-3121) and ask to be connected with your Representative and Senators.

Back to Headlines

One Year Later, Significant Progress on Child Welfare Legislation

During the 2008 CWLA National Conference last year, the House Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support held a hearing on new legislation that had just been introduced by Representative Jim McDermott (D-WA). The hearing on the Invest in KIDS Act included testimony by Jim Purcell, CEO of the Council of Family and Child Caring Agencies in New York. Purcell also submited testimony on behalf of CWLA.

McDermott said the legislation outlined his goals for child welfare reform. It included a delink from the outdated eligibility requirements under Title IV-E foster care and adoption assistance, expansion of services to youth to age 21, first-time federal support for kinship families, and opening Title IV-E funding to some prevention and intervention services. During the hearing, McDermott said if it was not possible to pass his legislation in 2008, he would work for bipartisan consensus. Late last year, Congress passed the Fostering Connections Act (PL 110-351), which included much of McDermott's Invest in KIDS Act.

It's one year later, and this week McDermott will be speaking at CWLA's 2009 National Conference. He has indicated he wants to pass the rest of his act in this session of Congress and complete the reforms he has envisioned. Representative Danny Davis (D-IL) will also speak at the National. He has also been a champion on child welfare issues. He was an early supporter of kinship care legislation, sponsoring a bill in the last several congresses, including H.R. 2188 in the 110th Congress. Much of that kinship care legislation also became law with passage of the Fostering Connections Act (PL 110-351) in 2008.

Davis will also be reintroducing the House version of the Education Begins at Home Act, which expands federal support for home-visiting programs. This legislation was passed out of the House Education and Labor Committee last year. Davis has also advocated for greater support of youth in foster care. In the new 111th Congress, Davis has been appointed to the House Ways and Means Committee, and one of his assignments is the Subcommittee on Income Security and Family Support, which has a key voice in shaping any child welfare policy.

Back to Headlines

Child Trends Updates State Child Welfare Spending

Last week, Child Trends released Federal, State, and Local Spending to Address Child Abuse and Neglect in SFY 2006. The report details state-by-state spending on child welfare and provides breakouts of the key federal sources of that spending. The report builds on previous surveys by the Urban Institute in its Cost of Protecting Vulnerable Children series. One of the chief authors of the Child Trend report, Rob Geen, has been involved in all of the Urban Institute reports.

The Child Trends report indicates states spent at least $25.7 billion in federal, state, and local funds for child welfare purposes in state fiscal year (SFY) 2006, a 9% increase in spending since SFY 2004, and a 55% increase since SFY 1996. It also found that in 2006, states relied more heavily on their own funds to pay for child welfare, reversing a trend that saw federal funding increasing every two years between 1996 and 2002. Federal funding accounted for less than 48% of all spending in this latest survey.

The report provides an important snapshot of child welfare financing just before two significant changes have take effect. One change was last year's passage of the Fostering Connections Act (PL 110-351), which may allow some of those state and local funds to leverage new federal dollars for adoption assistance, kinship care, older youth, and workforce training. The other significant change comes from the opposite direction, the severe recession and budget crisis the states are confronting. The Fostering Connections Act provides the new funding support over a period of time, so some of the federal funding will not be available until later years.

In addition, the report demonstrates the states' reliance on areas of federal funding that have multiple purposes and serve other populations besides child welfare children and families. For example, between SFY 2004 and SFY 2006, Medicaid as a source of federal funding for child welfare increased 19%, with the survey indicating 13% of all federal child welfare funding came from Medicaid. The Medicaid funding in this survey refers only to such services as Medicaid targeted case management (TCM) and rehabilitative services. It does not include medically necessary health and mental health care funding.

The Bush Administration had been fighting aggressively to stop the use of TCM and rehab services for child welfare over the last several years. The survey also found TANF provided 19% of the federal funding for child welfare services. With TANF also providing nearly 50% of all federal child care, some states will likely face strong pressure to pull TANF funds from both child care and child welfare as TANF public assistance caseloads increase as a result of the recession. The survey provides important details of child welfare funding and helps frame how the new economic recovery package may affect funding both directly and indirectly. (See the next article on recovery package and child welfare.)

Back to Headlines

Recovery Package and Child Welfare

As the Child Trend study indicates (see previous article), federal child welfare spending comes from a number of sources--nearly half from sources not targeted to child welfare specifically. Although much of the advocacy community has focused on increasing the federal match for Title IV-E foster care and adoption assistance, child welfare also depends on a number of other funding sources that will get boosts in the recovery package.

The Child Trends survey indicates Medicaid as a federal funding source saw the biggest increase, up by 19% over a two-year period. It now provides 13% of the total federal support for child welfare services. The Medicaid funding in the survey does not refer to overall health care services, but services such as targeted case management and rehabilitative services. Under the recovery package, Medicaid funding will be increased by $87 billion, which will be passed onto the states mainly through an increase in the federal match, or FMAP, with each state seeing its match increase by 6.2 percentage points from October 1, 2008, through December 31, 2010.

Another critical source of child welfare funds is the TANF block grant, which is intended for case assistance. TANF provides 19%of child welfare funding. The recovery package will provide an additional nearly $2.8 billion, most of it contingent on state increased need and demand. The TANF role in child welfare financing also indirectly links child welfare financing to child care financing. While TANF provides 19% of child welfare funds, it also provides nearly half of the child care funding in the country. Many states have used their TANF funds to supplement both the child welfare federal funds and the Child Care Development Fund. As the pressure on TANF case assistance caseloads increase, which is anticipated due to the recession, states face pressure to pull funds from either child welfare or child care or both. The recovery package provides a boost of $2 billion in child care funding, indirectly helping child welfare funding.

The other outside source of support of child welfare is the Social Services Block Grant, which provides 12% of child welfare funding. Although the Senate version of the recovery package had provided $400 million in one-year funds for SSBG, that provision was dropped in the final bill.

The final recovery bill also included the same 6.2% increase in Title IV-E foster care, adoption assistance, and kinship care funding. The increased match applies only to foster care maintenance payments and the adoption and kinship assistance, not to the administrative costs. More than 40% of Title IV-E costs are administrative, such as casework, planning, and preplacement services. These costs will continue to be matched at the administrative 50% level.

Some preliminary estimates by CWLA indicate the FMAP increase for Title IV-E will bring in close to $500 million to states over the 27-month period of the increase. States vary dramatically between how much of the IV-E funding goes for administrative costs and the costs that will receive the increased FMAP.

Back to Headlines

President to Release Budget Outline, Address Congress

The proposed federal budget for the upcoming fiscal year is always released by the Administration on the first Tuesday in February. The lone exception is generally in a period of presidential transition. The Obama Administration will release what is expected to be an outline of a federal budget for FY 2010 on Tuesday February 24. The outline will lack much of the detail of the several volumes released most years but will provide some direction by the new Administration.

The challenge for President Obama, as it is for other new Presidents, is that the budget that was put together since the fall of last year was written mainly by the outgoing President's staff. Added to this President's challenge is that the FY 2010 budget, which takes effect on October 1, will have to factor in how the new stimulus package and its spending will impact 2010 spending. Much of that spending is an add-on to help plug some state budget shortfalls, so while the stimulus provides increases in federal funding, many states have been running short of tax revenue in those very same areas.

The Administration is expected to provide a full budget document sometime in late March or early April. Obama will also use Tuesday February 24 as his first opportunity to address a joint session of Congress. While not the formal State of the Union Address, which traditionally is at the end of January, this sort of joint session is typical for new Presidents.

Before Congress goes full force on hearings and debates on the FY 2010 budget, it has to complete work on the 2009 fiscal year budget. Last year, Congress passed a continuing resolution (CR) that generally provided level (2008 level) funding for most programs. That CR expires March 6. Appropriators have been working to complete the remaining bills (the Defense and Homeland Security Departments have full budgets approved) and are likely to pass them as an omnibus budget bill. Major changes are unlikely in what Senate and House Appropriators approved in committee or on the floor last year.

For a comparison between the Senate and House bills on some key children's programs, go to www.cwla.org/advocacy/budgetdetails09.htm.

Back to Headlines

On the Line with CWLA, 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.

The weekly program broadcasts Wednesdays, 2:00-2:30 pm ET. To listen to On the Line with CWLA, go to www.blogtalkradio.com/CWLA-Radio. The call-in number is 347/326-9411. Programming schedule subject to change.

This Week's Show

February 25
Rerun--A Conversation with Famous Foster Child…Victoria Rowell

Coming Shows

March 4
Highlights from CWLA's National Conference (prerecorded)
Wednesday, March 11

Raising Him Alone Campaign: More Support For Single Mothers Raising Boys


Wednesday, March 18
Program TBA


Wednesday, March 25
Social Work: The Past, the Present, and What's Needed for the Future

Special guest: Katherine Briar-Lawson, State University of New York School of Social Welfare

For more information, 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.

Back to Headlines

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

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. CWLA is calling on Congress and the next President to reestablish this important policymaking tradition. The time to act is now. Your support and involvement are crucial.

You can support this effort by going to www.cwla.org/advocacy/whitehouseconf10.htm. There, you can sign on to support CWLA's call for a White House Conference in 2010, let your members of Congress know of your support, complete a survey about what areas you would like to see such a White House Conference focus on, see which members of Congress are cosponsoring the authorizing legislation for a White House Conference, learn how to get your board to pass a resolution supporting this effort, and more!

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

February 23-25 CWLA National Conference
February 24 Administration releases FY 2010 budget outline
President to address joint session of Congress
March 3 Federal agencies begin reporting use of recovery package funds
March 6 Continuing resolution for FY 2009 expires
April 17 Spring recess


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.