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

   
   
Vol. 23, Issue 23: 7/6/2010   
Headlines

CWLA Urges Deficit Commission Not to Harm Most Vulnerable

July 1, Important Date for Health Reform Implementation

New Study on Persistent Child Poverty

House Committee Examines Child Nutrition

New Guide for Assisting Haitian Children and Families

Key Upcoming Dates for Congress



CWLA Urges Deficit Commission Not to Harm Most Vulnerable

In an article published June 25th in Roll Call CWLA President/CEO Christine James-Brown teamed up with Donna Butts, CEO of Generations United, to encourage policy makers to consider the impact on children, and particularly vulnerable children, when making budget decisions. This is especially important since President Obama appointed a new National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, also know as the Deficit Commission. The President has called on the Commission to make recommendations that will result in a balanced budget by 2015. In the article Christine and Donna urge lawmakers not to break a promise made to all generations, the promise of Social Security. Read the full article at http://bit.ly/cDAkSx.

The Commission held a hearing in Washington last week and are considering various proposals. It is expected that the commission will focus on Social Security and Medicaid for major cuts and budget savings. Approximately 6.5 million American children received part of their family income from Social Security, which helped keep their family together, and Social Security lifts 1.3 million children out of poverty. Medicaid is the primary health insurance program for foster children and youth.

Senate and House leaders agreed to an up-or-down-vote on the Commission’s recommendations in December, and the Commission has decided to vote on final report by Dec. 1, 2010. CWLA has joined in a coalition advocating that the Commission adopt as a basic principle that its proposals should not make lower-income individuals and families worse off. The Commission’s recommendations should not harm those who already have difficulty getting by. Its proposals should not push people into poverty or make those who are already poor still poorer.


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July 1, Important Date for Health Reform Implementation

July 1 marked an important date for many of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) provisions. HHS launched a new consumer focused website that provides various information regarding coverage options and other general information about the law. Specifically, the website provides information on what health reform means for families with children, people with disabilities and other FAQ’s regarding CHIP and Medicaid. The website is available will be update throughout the implementation process and can be accessed at www.healthcare.gov.

In addition, Secretary Sebelius formally announced the establishment of the New Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan. Under the ACA, this program will provide temporary coverage to Americans that do not currently have insurance due to a pre-existing condition. The program is being modeled after the CHIP program, which will offer states the flexibility needed to meet the needs of their citizens. However, unlike CHIP, this program’s total costs will be absorbed by the federal government. While the ACA provides $5 billion in federal funding to support Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plans in every state, some states have opted to defer the authority to run the program back to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Over half of the states chose to operate their own programs. Further information and resources for coverage options for the uninsured and others struggling to find affordable care can be found at the website above. Eligible participants in states that have opted for HHS to run their program will be among the first applicants, with the remaining states beginning their enrollment period between July 1 and the end of summer.

HHS’ Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) revised their initial Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) to clarify the Maintenance of Effort requirements under the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program. The application for the FOA for the initial needs assessment is still due from all states by July 9, 2010. The modified FOA provided a detailed definition of home visiting which clarifies what funds can be accounted for when a state or other eligible entity is determining their spending for early childhood home visitation programs or initiatives. Additional details of this application can be found at www.grants.gov, under Announcement Number HRSA-10-275.


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New Study on Persistent Child Poverty

The Urban Institute released a new study last week reporting on the persistence of childhood poverty. The study found that half of all babies born poor will spend most of their childhoods in poverty and these children are significantly more likely to be poor 30 years later.

Caroline Ratcliffe and Signe-Mary McKernan, the authors of “Childhood Poverty Persistence: Facts and Consequences”, found that education, training, and work supports such as child care subsidies for parents could brighten children’s prospects by providing needy families with economic security and stability. The report, which is the first study connecting poverty status at birth, poverty persistence, and adult outcomes, highlighted that the fallout from persistent poverty is evident during young adulthood. Those poor at birth are more likely to drop out of high school, have a teen nonmarital birth, and be poor between ages 25 and 30.

To view the study go to www.urban.org/publications/412126.html.


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House Committee Examines Child Nutrition

Before breaking for the Independence Day recess, the House Committee on Education and Labor held a full hearing on the recently introduced “Improving Nutrition for America’s Children Act” (HR 5504). Secretary of Agriculture, Thomas Vilsack was the first to testify and discussed his department’s capacity and vision while emphasizing that child nutrition reauthorization is his top priority. The Chair of the Committee, George Miller (D-CA), emphasized the dual benefit of this federal program in addressing food insecurity and obesity with nutritious foods that enhance growth and learning and nutrition education for children and their parents. Committee ranking member John Kline (R-MN) agreed about the importance of federal child nutrition programs reaching 40 million low-income children, but emphasized the need to find offsets for the funding increase included in the bill, $8 billion over 10 years. The Committee is expected to vote on the H.R. 5504 in the week following the July 4th break.

Recent activity on this legislation includes introduction of H.R. 5504 by Representatives Miller and Todd Platts (R-PA) in early June. This bill reauthorizes the Child Nutrition Act, which includes the National School Lunch Program, the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), and the Summer Food Service Program, and Women Infants and Children program. H.R. 5504 is the companion bill to the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act (S. 3307) that was introduced by Senator Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) a month earlier. The House version of the legislation would improve access to school lunch and CACFP—the federal nutrition program reimbursing child care and Head Start programs for snacks and meals. The bill would strengthen CACFP nutrition and quality standards, streamline and reduce paperwork, and add a third meal option in select states. Both versions of the reauthorization legislation would establish categorical eligibility for foster youth in the school lunch program.


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New Guide for Assisting Haitian Children and Families

The Annie E. Casey Foundation has released a new guide, After the Earthquake: A Bulletin for Child Welfare Organizations Assisting Haitian Families in the United States.
In the wake of the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, child welfare agencies in the United States, including many CWLA members, increasingly are fielding requests to assist Haitian families and children.

This bulletin from the Casey Foundation provides practical information for agencies and advocates working with this vulnerable population, with special guidance on filing federal Temporary Protective Status applications. These applications are needed for Haitians in this country who wish to avoid deportation and maintain employment. The deadline for filing the application -- which must be filed by each individual Haitian child and adult -- is July 20, 2010.

The bulletin covers, principles for working with children separated from their families, programs to assist repatriated U.S. citizens, federal programs for Haitian migrants, information about filing TPS applications for children and parents, and other resources for child welfare systems and advocates. Many of the bulletin's resources apply not only to Haitian children and families but also other immigrant populations in child welfare settings.

You can find "After the Earthquake: A Bulletin for Child Welfare Organizations Assisting Haitian Families in the United States," at: >www.aecf.org/KnowledgeCenter/Publications.aspx?pubguid={CEE0F902-FE67-4281-A94F-07A4C175BD97}

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Key Upcoming Dates for Congress


  • July 4-9: Independence Day break

  • August 7: Target date for Senate to pass all 12 appropriations bills

  • August 9-September 10: Summer recess



  • Please note: Due to the Congressional recess there will be no Children’s Monitor next week.


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