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

   
   
Vol. 23, Issue 37: 12/27/2010   
Headlines

111th Congress Wraps Up

Congress Passes Another Continuing Resolution

Webinar Examines the Future of Child Welfare

CDC Reports Record Low Teen Birth Rate

New Report Shows More Working Families

Register for CWLA National Conference and Attend Advocacy Day

Key Upcoming Dates for Congress



111th Congress Wraps Up

As the 111th Congress wrapped up its work, CWLA was preparing a summary of the major accomplishments in advancing children's policies. Perhaps the most prominent legislation was the dramatic improvements in health care coverage for children through passage of the Affordable Care Act (P.L. 111-148). Other significant advances took place with the stimulus legislation, the reauthorization of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, and enactment of remarkable new child nutrition legislation. Tax policy improvements related to children in poor families was also addressed in the 111th Congress and provided some financial relief.

It was because of the combined impact of the tireless efforts by CWLA members, the effectiveness of the advocacy work conducted by CWLA staff on Capitol Hill, and CWLA's work with coalition partners that we were able to accomplish these legislative victories. For a more detailed look at the accomplishments of the 111th Congress, CWLA has prepared a summary for members only (link requires login).

Looking ahead we expect the 112th Congress will continue to look at child welfare financing reform, while at the same time debate federal spending - including support for vulnerable children and families. In addition, health reform will be front and center in the policy debates.

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Congress Passes Another Continuing Resolution

In one of its last official acts, the 111th Congress passed another continuing resolution to temporarily continue federal funding levels at the fiscal year 2010 levels. This latest resolution extends funding through March 4. When the 112th Congress convenes after the first of the year, one of the first items on the agenda will be continuing to grapple with federal spending. It is expected there will be harder push for spending cuts, especially in the human services area.

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Webinar Examines the Future of Child Welfare

Join CWLA members from around the country for an informative discussion of The New 112th Congress: What to Expect for the Future of Child Welfare. This webinar presentation is for CWLA members and will take place Thursday, January 6, 3:30-4:30 p.m. Eastern.

Soon after the 112th Congress convenes CWLA will conduct this webinar for CWLA members to provide a wealth of information about the new leadership, committee chairs, and early indications of the policy focus in the House and Senate. We will also provide a perspective on potential opportunities and challenges for child welfare. Hear the facts and have an opportunity to weigh-in with your perspective in regards to developing the CWLA Legislative Agenda and on how we can best address priority issues in coming months.

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CDC Reports Record Low Teen Birth Rate

Preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reported that birth rates for teens aged 15-19 fell 6% between 2008 and 2009. Furthermore, the rate for older and younger teens and among all racial and ethnic groups reached a record low. Overall, the teen birth rate for girls aged 15-19 declined 37% between 1991 and 2009. This is good news for taxpayers who spend over $9.1 billion on teen childbearing, and the child welfare system which assumes over $2 billon of those costs.

Earlier this year, the Affordable Care Act authorized $75 million for the Personal Responsibility Education Program for FY 2010-2014. The majority of the funding was for formula grants to states to implement programs to educate adolescents on abstinence, pregnancy prevention, sexually transmitted infections, financial literacy, parent-child communication, healthy life skills, and adolescent development targeting at-risk populations including homeless, foster care, teen parents, youth with HIV, and other vulnerable persons. In addition, the law restored $50 million in Abstinence Education grants which had previously expired.

Moving forward, Congress and the Administration must continue to support and invest in teen pregnancy prevention programs that are proven effective and target at-risk populations, including youth in care and those recently emancipated.

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New Report Shows More Working Families

A new report by the Working Families Project (PDF) shows a sharp rise in the number of families making less than double the poverty rate, $43,512 for a family of four. The incomes of these families are so low they are near poverty and the families struggle to survive. Overall, the report said, the number of people living in low-income working families increased by 1.7 million to 45 million between 2008 and 2009. In November, the jobless rate rose to 9.8%, and has hovered near 10% for more than a year.

According to the report this striking increase is due to the great recession. This new policy brief analyzes the latest U.S. Census bureau data to show that between 2007 and 2009 the share of working families that are low-income - those earning less than 200 percent of the official poverty threshold - jumped from 28% to 30%.

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Register for CWLA National Conference and Attend Advocacy Day

Add your voice to CWLA's at our next national conference, March 27-30, 2011. Registration is now open, with "early bird" rates available through January 30. This year's theme is The State of Children and Families: Building an Effective National Voice. The conference features a full day of in-depth professional institutes, more than 60 focused workshops, a revitalized Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill, convenient PRIDE trainings, and a new town hall session to share the challenges and celebrate the successes of today's child welfare field. New this year is a special spouse rate for husbands or wives who don't want to miss DC at its loveliest during cherry blossom season.

Advocacy Day will be held in the middle of the national conference, on Tuesday, March 29. CWLA's Advocacy Day is the largest national advocacy event of the year for child welfare advocates and CWLA encourages all conference attendees to go to Capitol Hill and carry the message for the children, youth, and families you serve. Another new feature this year is a special reception on Capitol Hill to hear from key Congressional leaders on priorities for children and families policies in the new Congress.

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Key Upcoming Dates for Congress

- January 5: First day of the 112th Congress.
- February 1: State of the Union address.
- February 7: President releases proposed budget for FY 2012.
- March 4: Continuing resolution on FY 2011 expires.
- March 29: CWLA Advocacy Day during National Conference.

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