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

   
   
Vol. 24, Issue 18: 6/6/2011   
Headlines

Moving Forward with Appropriations, House Cuts Food Assistance

Waiver Bill Passes House

Advocates Come Together to Discuss Educational Stability

Competitive Home Visiting Funding Announced

These Cuts Won't Heal: Budget Webcast Today

Key Upcoming Dates for Congress



Moving Forward with Appropriations, House Cuts Food Assistance

While the Senate was in recess last week in observation of Memorial Day, the House remained in session and continued moving forward with the fiscal year 2012 (FY 2012) appropriations process using the House-passed budget (H. Con. Res. 34) as its baseline for spending levels. The full Appropriations Committee marked up the Agriculture spending bill, which includes cuts to several important programs that CWLA tracks, and it will likely be considered on the House floor next week after the House returns from this week's recess.

The agriculture bill includes cuts in several food assistance programs for low-income families, including $51 million less for the Emergency Food Assistance program (TEFAP), $38 million less for the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, and $2 billion less from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) reserve fund.

Before markup, the agriculture appropriations bill cut $800 million from Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) by setting funding at $5.9 billion in FY 2012. The program was also cut significantly from FY 2010 to 2011. WIC provides low-income and at-risk children and pregnant mothers with vouchers for nutritious supplemental food packages, nutrition education and counseling, and health and immunization referrals. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities calculates that 325,000 to 475,000 pregnant mothers and young children would lose food packages if the $800 million cut is enacted.

Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) found a last minute offset to reduce a significant portion of the WIC cuts. Before markup by the full Appropriations committee, DeLauro added an amendment to prevent funding for the Brazil Cotton Institute, freeing up $147 million for WIC. It is expected this amendment will face stiff opposition on the House floor.

Back to Headlines

Waiver Bill Passes House

On Tuesday the House passed legislation to reauthorize waiver authority for state child welfare programs. As anticipated the bill passed with broad bipartisan support. This bill would reactivate the existing program whose authority expired in 2006. Under the House bill authority for the Department of Health and Human Services would be reinstated to grant 5-year waivers for up to 10 new states to test innovative approaches. H.R. 1194 would extend the waiver program through FY 2016.

In the Senate legislation has been introduced that would enable up to 10 new states to operate three-year waiver demonstrations; it is unclear when the Senate will take action on that bill.

Back to Headlines

Advocates Come Together to Discuss Educational Stability

Last week the Annie E. Casey Foundation, in conjunction with the National Education Association, Casey Family Programs, and the National Working Group on Foster Care and Education, hosted a convening entitled "Educational Stability for Students in Foster Care" at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. Audience members heard testimony from three former foster youth who went on to college; Commissioner for the Administration of Children, Youth, and Families Bryan Samuels; Department of Education Deputy Assistant Secretary Michael Yudin; administrators from Texas and California; Congressional staff; and a range of policy experts. Many of the same prescriptions for improving educational outcomes for children in foster care that were discussed at a similar convening hosted by CWLA back in January resurfaced, including more effectively compiling and sharing data, the importance of cross-systems collaboration and communication, and the need for strong leadership. The conversation around this topic will continue as Samuels and Yudin plan to co-host a summit on improving education outcomes for foster youth in early November in an effort to encourage the replication of successful models that have been implemented around the country.

Back to Headlines

Competitive Home Visiting Funding Announced

The Health Resources and Services Administration within the Department of Health and Human Services recently announced that a portion of the FY 2011 home visiting funding from the Affordable Care Act will be available on a competitive basis. In addition to formula-based funding, eligible states and jurisdictions will be able to apply for the competitive funds to further implementation or expansion of home visiting programs that ultimately promote innovation or infrastructure development within comprehensive early learning systems.

Of the $250 million in mandatory FY 2011 home visiting funds, $99 million is being made available for the competitive grant program. Two-thirds will be designated to fund states and jurisdictions that are prepared to take high-quality home visiting to scale as components of high-quality early childhood systems. The remaining third will be available for states and jurisdictions with less developed home visiting programs to support their development towards higher-quality. Applications will be due July 1, 2011.

Back to Headlines

These Cuts Won't Heal: Budget Webcast Today

As part of the CWLA budget campaign, These Cuts Won't Heal, the Government Affairs Division is hosting a series of members-only webcasts. Tune in today at 3 p.m. Eastern to receive an overview of the child nutrition safety net and the potential cuts to these vital programs. Registration for the series is ongoing.

Back to Headlines

Key Upcoming Dates for Congress

- June 6 to June 10: House recess
- June 27 to July 5: House Independence Day recess
- July 1 to July 11: Senate Independence Day recess

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.