Joint CWLA-APHSA Letter on SSBG
September 11, 2006
Dr. Wade Horn
Administration for Children and Families
370 L'Enfant Promenade, S.W., Sixth Floor
Washington, DC 20447
Dear Assistant Secretary Horn:
An issue regarding the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) has come to our attention and we are writing to ask for your assistance. The American Public Human Services Association (APHSA) and the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA), as lead organizations of the Social Services Block Grant Coalition have a strong interest in supporting the SSBG. Recently, we have been informed by several states that the Office of Community Services (OCS) has requested states to submit their Pre-Expenditure Reports for SSBG based on the Administration's FY 2007 proposal that includes a $500 million cut to SSBG. In addition, we understand that OCS has posted state allocations for FY 2007 based on these cuts on its web site as a guide for state planning.
Through correspondence with OCS we understand that OCS bases allotments upon the President's budget request for the associated fiscal year when there is no final appropriations measure in place for funding for the Social Services Block Grant program. It was further explained that any adjustments necessary due to final appropriations for the fiscal year are to be made subsequent to the final passage and signature of the funding law.
Initial actions from the House and Senate have given states a clear sign that Congress does not intend to reduce the SSBG. Although the budget process is still proceeding, the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education bills in both chambers have recommended that SSBG be funded at the $1.7 billion level. Even if Congress needs to extend this legislation past the September 30, 2006 deadline, it is likely that it would still remain at the $1.7 billion level.
If States were to follow the rationale put forward by OCS and act on all of the proposals put forward in February, their budget planning process would be in constant turmoil. This action by OCS has placed states in a difficult position of having to budget for cuts that appear unlikely to be passed into law. In addition, they are forced to publicly identify cuts to an already reduced block grant and unnecessarily undermine critical programs administered by state and local governments, and non-profit and faith-based providers.
Therefore, we ask that the Office of Community Services accept state SSBG Pre-Expenditure Reports based on the national $1.7 billion level and that this level be reflected on the agency's web page. Thank you for your assistance on this issue.
|Jerry Friedman, Executive Director|
American Public Human Services Association
|Shay Bilchik, President and CEO
Child Welfare League of America
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