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

   
   
Vol. 24, Issue 2: 1/24/2011   
Headlines

House Passes Repeal of Health Care Law

CWLA Seeks Frontline Worker Input

Report Reveals Homelessness Increased in 2009

Early Learning Sign-On Letter Circulating

Register for CWLA National Conference, Attend Advocacy Day

Key Upcoming Dates



House Passes Repeal of Health Care Law

Last week marked a victory for House Republicans as they kept their campaign promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA). On Wednesday, January 19, the House voted 245 to 189 in favor of H.R. 2, Repealing the Job Killing Health Care Law Act. Normally, committees with legislative jurisdiction hold hearings and invite testimonies from the field prior to any floor votes on legislation, but with little to no action expected on H.R. 2 in the Senate, the House will now have to hold hearings as a way to get further action on the bill. House Republicans also expected to begin to hold series of oversight investigations and to attempt to repeal individual provisions that are less popular amongst both parties, and finally begin to craft an alternative health care plan. CWLA President & CEO Christine James-Brown released a statement after the repeal vote.

On Thursday the House passed H. Res. 9, a measure to instruct the four committees with legislative jurisdiction over the ACA to draft alternative health care proposals that reflect leadership priorities. Currently, there is no deadline on the time the committees will have to produce alternative legislation. The House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has sole jurisdiction over the Medicaid expansion provision in the ACA, will likely hold one of their first hearings to address the impact that the expansion will have on state budgets. One of the significant accomplishments of the ACA will be the Medicaid expansion for former foster youth, which could be at risk if expansion efforts are stalled during the repeal process. However, if Republicans are serious about maintaining some of the provisions that Americans generally like, for example the provision that allows children to stay on their parent's coverage until 26, one would hope they would be just as compassionate with former foster youth who under ACA are granted Medicaid eligibility up to age 26 as well.

Back to Headlines

CWLA Seeks Frontline Worker Input

As discussions continue in Washington on reforming federal refinancing of the child welfare system, CWLA is continuing an initiative to ensure that the voice of frontline workers is in the mix. It is critically important to hear from all stakeholders, and frontline workers are uniquely positioned to enrich the discussion. Their direct work with children and families is enhanced or constrained by their relative time and access to resources. They are experts on the strengths and weaknesses of the service delivery system at the point it reaches vulnerable children and families or fails to support them.

The last scheduled surveys will be held this week. If you are a frontline worker or direct supervisor and would like to participate but need an alternate time, contact Suzanne Ayer, CWLA Government Affairs Associate.

Back to Headlines

Report Reveals Homelessness Increased in 2009

The State of Homelessness in America 2011 was recently released by the National Alliance to End Homelessness. This report is the latest in a series tracking the changing national, state, economic, and demographic contexts of homelessness since 2005. Major findings highlight the growing vulnerability of families - as they comprise the largest increase in homelessness among subpopulations identified in the report - contributing to the overall increase of homelessness in America by 20,000 people from 2008 to 2009.

The report continues to highlight the increasing severity of the economic challenges that cause homelessness, including an increase in unemployment, foreclosure, and the decline of real income from 2008 to 2009. In a section highlighting the experiences of populations particularly at risk of homelessness, it is estimated that 1 out of every 6 youth who leave foster care experience homelessness for more than a year. This ratio was calculated through data from the Department of Health and Human Services on emancipations and shelter records of prior living situations. For perspective, the report estimates that 1 of every 200 people in the general population experiences homelessness over the course of a year. For someone living below the poverty line, the odds increase to 1 in 25.

Back to Headlines

Early Learning Sign-On Letter Circulating

Pointing to consistent early learning research revealing short- and long-term cost savings through increased academic performance, improved health outcomes, decreased reliance on social programs, and enhanced economic productivity, voices are growing for maintaining American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) stimulus funds for the federal early learning programs: the Child Care and Development Block Grant and Early Head Start/Head Start.

Even maintaining this funding level, only 1 in 6 eligible children receive child care assistance. Only 4% of eligible infants and toddlers can participate in Early Head Start and less than half of eligible preschool-age children can access Head Start. Still, if the ARRA expansion is not continued, 300,000 at-risk children will lose the early learning supports they currently receive. Join national, state, and local organizations supporting this effort.

For an economist's perspective on the viability of investing in early learning to address the deficit, review a letter from Dr. James Heckman at the University of Chicago to the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Reform.

Back to Headlines

Register for CWLA National Conference, 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, a PRIDE train-the-trainer three-day training, 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.

Back to Headlines

Key Upcoming Dates

- January 25: State of the Union address.
- Mid-February: President releases proposed budget for FY 2012.
- March 4: Continuing resolution on FY 2011 expires.
- March 29: CWLA Advocacy Day during National Conference.

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.