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

   
   
Vol. 24, Issue 3: 1/31/2011   
Headlines

President Calls on Congress to Protect the Vulnerable

House Schedules Vote on Continuing Resolution

CWLA Plans Webinar on Budget for Members

New Report Details Lack of Child-Only Health Insurance

CWLA Holds Convening on Education and Child Welfare

Register for CWLA National Conference, Attend Advocacy Day

Key Upcoming Dates for Congress



President Calls on Congress to Protect the Vulnerable

In his State of the Union speech last week, President Barack Obama made a strong plea not to harm the less fortunate when making budget decisions. The President's call to Congress when it comes to bringing spending in line with revenue was to "make sure that we're not doing it on the backs of our most vulnerable citizens." He repeated this challenge when he spoke about Social Security, and specifically called on Congress to protect vulnerable Americans when considering changes in that program.

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House Schedules Vote on Continuing Resolution

Last week House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) announced that the House would hold its vote on passing the next fiscal year 2011 continuing resolution (CR) the week of February 14. That same week, President Obama is scheduled to send his FY 2012 budget proposal to Capitol Hill. (See article below.)

As mentioned in previous Monitor articles, the House has proposed rolling back non-defense, discretionary spending to 2008 levels. The Senate has not yet announced when they will consider the CR, but it is unlikely that they will accept all of the spending cuts that the House is expected to pass. The government is currently operating under a CR that will expire on March 4, meaning legislators have until then to negotiate a final budget settlement for FY 2011.

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CWLA Plans Webinar on Budget for Members

The Administration Budget Released: What's in it for Children & Families?

CWLA members are invited to join us Friday, February 18 at 3 p.m. Eastern for a webinar to review the Administration's budget proposal for FY 2012 and discuss how it impacts vulnerable children and families. Setting the stage with a recap of the current budget situation, CWLA's Government Affairs team will present the Administration's budget highlights and the Congressional outlook for its implementation. We welcome your insight and questions as we present the context and prepare our advocacy efforts ahead. Sign up today for this CWLA members-only webinar.



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New Report Details Lack of Child-Only Health Insurance

Last week, Senator Michael Enzi (R-WY), ranking member of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, released survey results showing that at least 20 states have discontinued the sale of child-only health insurance plans out of fear of the mandate in the 2010 Affordable Care Act (ACA). Provisions in the law would bar insurers from denying coverage to children with preexisting conditions. Child-only plans are generally sold to parents who wish to purchase coverage for their children separate from plans they may or may not have. Shortly after the enactment of the Affordable Care Act, insurers starting questioning the costs that would be associated with such a mandate in light of the fact that some parents may choose to wait to purchase coverage once their child was ill. A few insurers signaled then that they would stop selling child-only plans, but after discussions with Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius they decided against such a move.

This survey highlights the critical lack of access to coverage for children without taking into account the added burden for vulnerable children and families. The ACA addresses issues of access by implementing provisions mentioned above and expanding Medicaid eligibility for families who fall on hard times, like the current economic downturn, who might otherwise have to go uninsured. Unfortunately both of these provisions have come under attack in the new Congress and may continue to be challenged down the road. It is our hope that these challenges do not set a negative precedent for future coverage of all children. Instead, we hope Congress commits to working with HHS to ensure full implementation of this bill that will increase access to health care while also making it more affordable for struggling families.

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CWLA Holds Convening on Education and Child Welfare

Today, CWLA, in collaboration with the Philadelphia School System and Department of Human Services and the Administration for Children and Families HHS, is hosting a forum titled Improving Educational Outcomes for Children in the Child Welfare System. At the forum, public and private providers from both the child welfare and education systems at the state and local levels are convening to discuss innovative strategies and challenges while striving to ensure positive educational outcomes for youth in the foster care system. Attendees will include administration officials, advocates, and foundation representatives who will both listen and provide information and feedback. The meeting is designed to identify promising practices and challenges to address, look forward with action steps, and provide information which will be shared in a forthcoming summary report.

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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 ongoing. 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.

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Key Upcoming Dates for Congress

- February 14: President releases proposed budget for fiscal year 2012.
- March 4: Continuing Resolution on FY 2011 expires.
- March 29: CWLA Advocacy Day during the National Conference.

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