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

   
   
Vol. 23, Issue 5: 2/8/2010   
Headlines

President's Proposed Budget Boosts Child Care, Continues Medicaid Relief

First Lady Set to Unveil Childhood Obesity Initiative

CWLA Asks Senate to Approve Bryan Samuels for ACYF Position

Fourth National Incidence Study Shows Overall Decrease in Maltreatment

Key Upcoming Dates for Congress



President's Proposed Budget Boosts Child Care, Continues Medicaid Relief

On Monday, February 1, President Obama released his first budget that begins to outline his top priorities. Within the budget is a significant increase of $1.6 billion for child care funding and a continuation of the increased Medicaid match that was provided under last year's stimulus package. While the document includes a discretionary spending freeze, large deficits and a large defense budget it also sets out child care and early childhood education as a major priority. In addition it proposes to continue state fiscal relief through Medicaid by continuing the increased federal match through June of 2011.

Overall, proposed funding for child welfare programs were level. Adoption Opportunities will increase by $13 million to $39 million but that anticipates the program taking over the funding from the Adoption Awareness program. Funding for CAPTA state grants remain the same while discretionary funding will increase by $10 million to fund competitive state demonstration projects to address child abuse and neglect prevention programs. Foster care funding decreases slightly while adoption assistance and kinship care both increase, but much of those projected changes are based on future state claims, since all three are entitlement programs and not dependent on an annual appropriation.

The Administration's FY 2011 budget does not make specific mention of prioritized funding for home visiting, as was the case with the FY 2010 budget, which proposed $8.6 billion over 10 years for a new mandatory program to provide funds to states for evidence-based home visitation programs for low-income families. This change is due largely to the fact that the Administration wrote the budget under the assumption that mandatory home visiting funding would be created as part of health reform. Currently, home visiting language is still being considered as the House and Senate continue to work out the differences in their two bills. Home visiting was just one of several child care and early childhood education initiatives proposed by the Obama Administration last year.

The President's budget recommends that the TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) block grant be reauthorized for one year. The intent is to allow for a more deliberate process for a full five-year reauthorization once the national economy has begun to improve. There is a new $2.5 billion allocation in emergency funds and with a new Fatherhood, Marriage, and Family Innovation program that replaces the current $150 million program to promote marriage among poor families. The new fund is separate from any funding currently available under last year's stimulus package.

Back to Headlines

First Lady Set to Unveil Childhood Obesity Initiative

On Tuesday, February 2, First Lady Michelle Obama met with bipartisan congressional leaders and Cabinet members to discuss a childhood obesity initiative, which she is set to unveil on February 9. CWLA joined other child advocacy groups at the White House to discuss ways in which community stakeholders can assist in the addressing child health, nutrition, and obesity. White House officials signaled that they were eager to learn more about the effective programs already in place to address childhood obesity.

The initiative will aim to increase the number of schools promoting healthy lifestyles, step up physical activity in children's lives, improve access to healthy food and give consumers the knowledge to make good food choices. "As we prepare to launch our childhood obesity initiative, we know long-term solutions lie in preventing disease and promoting health from the earliest stages of life," the First Lady said.

In addition, on Wednesday, February 3, the Department of Health and Human Services awarded $119.5 million to states and U.S. territories to support public health efforts to reduce obesity, increase physical activity, improve nutrition, and decrease smoking -- the four most important actions for combating chronic diseases and promoting health. This money supports the first of several initiatives that make up the comprehensive prevention and wellness initiative, Communities Putting Prevention to Work, which is funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The nearly $120 million in funding provided to states and territories will focus on efforts to help communities and schools support healthy choices through a variety of methods including using media to support healthy food and beverage choices and increased physical activity, and increasing access to healthy choices and safe places to be active.

Back to Headlines

CWLA Asks Senate to Approve Bryan Samuels for ACYF Position

On Wednesday, February 3, CWLA President and CEO Christine James-Brown sent a letter to Senate leadership asking for a vote on the nomination of Bryan Samuels to lead the Administration on Children, Youth, and Families. The agency plays a critical role in the oversight of many human service programs, including child care and TANF, but most importantly to CWLA, child welfare programs. As a result, the agency is vital to the effective implementation of the Fostering Connections to Success Act (P.L. 110-351). As James-Brown said in the letter, "Bryan Samuels will bring to this position a strong background and extensive experience in working on child welfare issues.... The position of Administrator has remained vacant for over a year while the law has been in effect for more than fifteen months." The nomination of Bryan Samuels was made in late June with the formal nomination submitted on July 13. The Senate Finance Committee held hearings in the fall and gave Samuels unanimous approval in late December.

Back to Headlines

Fourth National Incidence Study Shows Overall Decrease in Maltreatment

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released the Fourth National Incidence Study of Child Abuse and Neglect (NIS-4). The last NIS was published in 1996, and, like that one, this congressionally mandated study surveys professionals from dozens of U.S. counties. The analysis includes children who were investigated by CPS agencies, but it also obtains data on children seen by community professionals who were not reported to CPS or who were screened out by CPS without investigation. This means NIS estimates provide a more comprehensive measure of the scope of child abuse and neglect known to community professionals, including abused and neglected children who are in the official statistics and those who are not.

The study indicated that the incidence of maltreatment between this and the 1996 study went down by 19%, compared to an increase of 56% between the second and third studies. Overall 1.256 million children experienced maltreatment during the study year, 2005-2006. Of that total 44% (553,000 children) were abused, 61% (771,000 children) were neglected. Of the abused children 58% (323,000 children) experienced physical abuse and 24% (135,300 children) were sexually abused. Of the children that were neglected, 47% (360,000 children) experienced educational neglect, 38% (295,000 children) experienced physical neglect and 25% (193,400 children) were subjected to emotional neglect. All the figures represent higher numbers then the annual National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS) data released every spring. The last NCANDS report, based on 2007 information, indicated that just fewer than 800,000 children were substantiated as abused or neglected.

The full NIS-4 is more than 400 pages. To download a PDF of the full report, read an executive summary, or choose access other related materials, visit the study's website.

Back to Headlines

Key Upcoming Dates for Congress

February 2: Release of Administration's FY 2011 budget
February 13: Presidents' Day break
March 28-April 11: Spring break for Congress
April 15: Deadline to adopt budget resolution
May 15: House may begin passing regular appropriations bills
July 3: Target date for House to pass all 12 appropriations bills
August 7: Target date for senate to pass all 12 appropriations bills

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.