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

   
   
Vol. 23, Issue 29: 9/20/2010   
Headlines

Reps. McDermott and Linder Introduce New Child Welfare Legislation

New Reports Show Rising Poverty and Substance Abuse

Congress Wrapped Up in Tax Negotiations

Social Security for All Generations Call-In Day A Success

Marking ACA's Six-Month Anniversary

Key Upcoming Dates for Congress



Reps. McDermott and Linder Introduce New Child Welfare Legislation

On Thursday Representative Jim McDermott (D-WA), Chair of the Ways and Means subcommittee with jurisdiction over child welfare, and Representative John Linder (R-GA), Ranking Member of the subcommittee, introduced a new child welfare bill to extend the option to states to implement new innovative approaches through a waiver of Title IV-E. No bill number had been assigned at press time. The legislation is significant in that it allows up to 10 states to conduct five-year demonstration projects. CWLA, together with other national groups, continues to urge Congress to craft broader reform, including major financing overhaul. Meanwhile the waiver bill could be voted on in the House as soon as this week. The legislation includes important new provisions regarding accountability, especially when it comes to use of funds from both public and private sources. Another provision recognizes the right of tribes to participate.

Back to Headlines

New Reports Show Rising Poverty and Substance Abuse

Two new reports last week showed alarming increases in poverty and substance abuse. On Thursday the Census Bureau issued a report on increasing U.S. poverty levels. Also last week, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released a report showing substance abuse up sharply.

The Census report indicates the poverty rate increased for children younger than 18 from 19.0% in 2008 to 20.7% in 2009, and the number of children in poverty increased from 14.1 million in 2008 to 15.5 million in 2009. The ranks of working-age poor approached 1960s levels, which were so concerning that they led to the national war on poverty. Overall, the poverty rate increased from 13.2% to 14.3%. This follows the latest Kids Count report recently released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, which also found that child poverty is on the rise. According to Kids Count, even before the recession hit, one million more children were living in households below the poverty line than in 2000.

The substance abuse report shows the rate of illegal drug use rose last year to the highest level in nearly a decade, fueled by a sharp increase in marijuana use and a surge in ecstasy and methamphetamine abuse, the government said Wednesday. Those taking methamphetamines jumped 60%. Cocaine use has continued to drop, down 32% from its peak in 2006. The report, released Thursday, draws data from interviews with about 67,500 and is thought to be the most thorough picture of U.S. drug use.

Back to Headlines

Congress Wrapped Up in Tax Negotiations

Congress spent the past week wrapped up in negotiations over extending tax cuts that are set to expire at the end of the year. Few other issues have been given much attention. Appropriations and child nutrition legislation has been delayed and at this time it is not clear when, or if, these bills will come to the floor prior to the November election. In addition Congress needs to address the Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF) program, which needs to be extended, at the very least.

Back to Headlines

Social Security for All Generations Call-In Day A Success

Last Monday CWLA participated in a national Call-In to Congress Day to protect social security for all generations. The day was a success with more than 3,600 calls being made and reports from some offices on Capitol Hill that it was the number one issue that folks were calling about that day. Through letters, e-mails, Tweets and online postings surrounding the day, thousands of Americans were informed about the support Social Security provides to many of our most vulnerable children and families. More information, including fact sheets and summaries of ways Social Security helps children, is available from Generations United, who organized the call-in day.

Back to Headlines

Marking ACA's Six-Month Anniversary

Today marks yet another milestone in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). One major child welfare breakthrough that will begin this year is the creation of the Affordable Care Act Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program grants. These grants will provide funding to states for fiscal years 2010 to 2014, so long as the state gives priority to families residing in at-risk communities identified by the statewide needs assessment. The needs assessments, which are due to be submitted today, are a requirement for states to receive funding under this grant program and their overall FY 2011 Title V Block Grant. Finally, states will be required to submit an updated state plan in early FY 2011.

This Thursday will not only mark the six-month anniversary of the ACA, but also the beginning of many consumer protections. Starting September 23, new health plans will be required to cover certain preventive services including depression screenings, behavioral assessments, autism screenings, developmental screenings, immunizations, oral health risk assessments, and vision screenings. These services are to be provided without deductibles, co-pays, or other forms of cost sharing. This does not apply to new plans, Medicaid, or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

New rules will also be in place to prevent insurance companies from denying coverage to children under the age of 19 due to a pre-existing condition. In addition, pediatricians will be allowed to be designated as a child's primary care provider if a parent or guardian so chooses. Furthermore, for plans beginning on or after September 23, parents will be allowed to keep children under age 26 on their insurance policy as long as the adult child's current job does not offer insurance (some plans allowed for participants to enroll early). While there is still a lot of work to do to ensure that the nation's most vulnerable children and families have access to the coverage and care they need, significant efforts are underway to continue to insure the millions of children who are currently eligible but still uninsured.

Back to Headlines

Key Upcoming Dates for Congress

October 8: Target adjournment for the House. Senate date is to be determined.
November 2: Election Day.
There is growing expectation for a lame duck Congressional session after the election.

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.