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

   
   
Vol. 19, Issue 4: 1/23/2006   
Headlines

CWLA Continues Efforts to Defeat Final Budget Reconciliation Bill

CWLA Presents at First Lady's Conference on At-Risk Youth and Anti-Gang Activity

Urban Institute Holds Forum on Juvenile Justice and Positive Youth Development

CWLA Teleconference Focuses on Legislative Activities Related to Meth

CWLA's Legislative Alerts Now Available to Subscribers

Children 2006: Securing Brighter Futures

Key Upcoming Dates for Congress:



CWLA Continues Efforts to Defeat Final Budget Reconciliation Bill

With the House of Representatives scheduled to vote February 1 on the final budget reconciliation bill, CWLA is continuing efforts to defeat the measure, which includes a nearly $600 million cut in federal Title IV-E Foster Care and Adoption Assistance. The cut primarily impacts foster care and supports for grandparents and other relatives caring for abused and neglected children.

Early indications are that the vote will be extremely close. The House originally approved the bill by a vote of 212 to 206 at 6:00 a.m. December 19. At that time, 16 members of Congress failed to make the early morning vote. The House of Representatives is voting again on the measure due to a small technical change the Senate added December 21. With only a handful of Representatives needed to switch their vote to defeat the bill, CWLA, along with many other local and national organizations, is working tirelessly to generate thousands of calls, letters, and emails urging the House of Representatives to defeat the bill.

House members only had a few hours to review the final contents of the 774-page legislation prior to their December 19 vote. Many members of Congress said they were not aware of the bill’s many provisions and their impact on foster care, Medicaid, child support enforcement, child care, and student loans.

Starting today, January 23, you can call your U.S. Representative toll-free at 800/426-8073 or, if the number is busy, call the Capitol switchboard at 202/224-3121. Urge colleagues, friends, and family to do the same. Send this information to your email lists and to anyone you think would join the effort.

Shay Bilchik, CWLA President and CEO, led an all-membership conference call January 12 to discuss the foster care provisions in the bill, as well as strategies, targeted activities, and messages geared toward influencing the final vote. Following up on the call, CWLA staff contacted League members throughout the country. All members of Congress should be urged to vote NO on this bill. CWLA will continue to encourage calls to members of Congress and to engage as many others as possible to participate in this effort.

In addition to contacting Congress, many other activities are effective in conveying concern about foster care cuts to Congress, including participating in town hall meetings, local vigils, or other events organized by the Emergency Campaign for America's Priorities (ECAP). Events are being planned all over the country to make members of the House of Representatives aware of the devastating impact of this bill. Find the ECAP contacts in your state.

For information on how the cuts affect your state, click here.

To gain more background information concerning the cuts to foster care, visit CWLA's "No Caps on Kids!" website.

Learn how your Representative voted on Dec. 19.

Back to Headlines

CWLA Presents at First Lady's Conference on At-Risk Youth and Anti-Gang Activity

The first national conference for the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention took place January 9-13 in Washington, DC. The event was an offshoot to First Lady Laura Bush’s initiative focusing on at-risk youth and anti-gang activity first announced in the President's 2005 State of the Union Address.

U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez joined First Lady Bush in noting the themes originally presented in the 2003 White House Task Force on Disadvantaged Youth, including effective solutions to address the needs of the juvenile justice system, particularly after-school programs and proven prevention programs that decrease youth gang activity.

Mrs. Bush and Attorney General Gonzalez promoted the success of prevention programs, but past budgets offered by the President for these activities have shown decreased support. Funding for the Juvenile Accountability Block Grant (JABG) has diminished from nearly $250 million in FY 2002, to $50 million for FY 2006. The Delinquency Prevention and Block Grant (DPBG) created in 2002 with a focus on expanding treatment, rehabilitation, and prevention services, has received no funding for the past three years. The Title V Local Delinquency Prevention Program remains the only federal support focused solely on prevention for at-risk youth. Funded at $95 million from fiscal years 1998-2002, Title V funding was slashed to $46 million in FY 2003. Current funding is set at $65 million.

John Tuell, representing CWLA's Juvenile Justice division, presented during the conference on efforts to promote a coordinated and integrated child welfare and juvenile justice system. Research overwhelmingly links the connection between child maltreatment and future involvement in the juvenile justice system. CWLA's Juvenile Justice Division has developed a five-phase framework to assist state and local juvenile justice systems improve outcomes for youth who have experienced maltreatment. For more information about CWLA's juvenile justice efforts, including CWLA's upcoming national conference on juvenile justice beginning May 31 in San Francisco, visit our website.

Back to Headlines

Urban Institute Holds Forum on Juvenile Justice and Positive Youth Development

The Urban Institute and the Chapin Hall Center for Children held a public policy forum January 19 that examined ways to use positive youth development to improve juvenile justice.

The discussion focused on the latest research on positive youth development and the advantages of incorporating key findings in reform efforts in the juvenile justice system. Panel members offered the latest in policy analysis from Capitol Hill and looked ahead to reauthorizing the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act beginning next year. They expressed broad consensus on the need for reforming juvenile justice and discussed practical steps to accomplish this.

Panelists, representing policy makers from Capitol Hill, research institutes, and the field at large, included Erin Duncan, Legislative Director for Rep. Tom Osborne (R-NE); Denise Forte, Legislative Associate for the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce; Jeffrey Butts, Research Fellow at Chapin Hall Center for Children; Vincent Schiraldi, Director of the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services in Washington, DC; and Matthew Stagner, Director of the Center on Labor, Human Services, and Population at the Urban Institute. Judy Woodruff, Emmy award-winning journalist and former host of CNN's Inside Politics, moderated the panel.

You can access an issue brief on the subject online.

Back to Headlines

CWLA Teleconference Focuses on Legislative Activities Related to Meth

CWLA concluded the fifth in a series of teleconference calls providing the latest information on the impact of methamphetamine on children and the child welfare system on January 19. Presenters from the U.S. Congressional Meth Caucus, National Association of State Legislatures, and the National Association of Counties gave an update on Congressional and state legislative activities related to meth.

As states and local governments are increasingly making meth action a top legislative priority, federal activity has also increased. In July of 2005, the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Criminal Justice, Drug Policy, and Human Resources of the Government Reform Committee held a hearing that focused on meth's impact on the child welfare system. To read CWLA's testimony submitted for that hearing, please visit our website.

CWLA's ongoing Competence on Call teleconference series provides a forum to consider critical child welfare issues, disseminate research findings, and inform the field about innovative policy and practice initiatives.

Back to Headlines

CWLA's Legislative Alerts Now Available to Subscribers

CWLA's Legislative Alerts provide breaking news, advocacy information, and critically important timely details of legislative battles. Previously, CWLA sent the alerts to members only.

In an effort to broaden our advocacy network on behalf of children, anyone can now subscribe and receive the same information. This effort compliments the availability of CWLA's weekly electronic legislative newsletter, Children's Monitor, which is also available to any subscriber. We encourage you to register to receive these publications and pass the information to other colleagues, family and friends.

Back to Headlines

Children 2006: Securing Brighter Futures

Preparations are underway for CWLA's 2006 National Conference: Securing Brighter Futures, February 27-March 1. CWLA will bring leading child welfare practitioners, teachers, researchers, and advocates together in Washington, DC, to learn and share how best to meet the needs of children in foster care.

CWLA's annual Hill Day gives conference attendees an opportunity to meet with members of Congress about the issues that affect the children, youth, and families we serve. Hill Day participants will learn about key children's issues facing Congress from leaders in the field, CWLA staff, and directly from policymakers. Members of Congress need to hear what their votes will mean for children, youth, and families in your state and local community. Make your voice heard at Hill Day 2006!
For more information and to register, visit our website.

Back to Headlines

Key Upcoming Dates for Congress:

Second session of 109th Congress begins: Senate, January 18; House, January 31

House of Representatives vote on budget reconciliation: February 1

House of Representatives vote for new House Majority Leader: February 2

President's State of the Union Address: January 31

Release of President's FY 2007 budget: February 6

Children 2006: Securing Brighter Futures: Feb. 27-March 1

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.