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Celebrating Foster Parents

CWLA author Bob Danzig, retired CEO of Hearst Newspapers, spoke recently in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The audience was foster parents and staff from St. Aemilian-Lakeside Inc., a private nonprofit agency that contracts with the Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare, part of the CWLA member agency Wisconsin Department of Children & Families. Danzig, who went into foster care at age 2 and aged out of the system, told the audience he calls them "harvesters of hope" because of the potential they have to positively impact the children they work with. Danzig credits two women--his social worker, and a former foster mother who hired him for his first newspaper job--with inspiring him to achieve success.

Danzig previously served on CWLA's Board of Directors, and has published three books with CWLA that share his experience in foster care and aim to inspire others: There Is Only One You, Every Child Deserves a Champion, and Conversations with Bobby: From Foster Child to Corporate Executive. These are CWLA publication items #8845, #8852, and #1088, respectively; order online at www.cwla.org/pubs. See the May/June 2009 Children's Voice for an interview with Danzig and book excerpts.

Conference News

CWLA's next national conference will be held March 27-30, 2011, at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City. The choice of this new location is a product of feedback from member agencies that asked for more budget-friendly accommodations without losing access to the power players in the nation's capital. The timing is a return to CWLA's more traditional springtime conference. The call for workshop proposals will be issued soon, along with many more details about registration. Visit www.cwla.org/conferences to stay up-to-date and get news about all of CWLA's upcoming events.

The 13th National Child Welfare Data and Technology Conference, Making IT Work 2010, is July 19-21 at the Hyatt Regency in Bethesda, Maryland. The conference will highlight successful data integration and will explore the process of combining data from various sources to provide users with a clear and unified perspective of complex issues. Data integration contributes to a holistic view of the clients agencies serve, but raises both business and technology issues. The conference will also explore the use of data to inform practice. For registration information and other details, visit www.nrccwdt.org or call 703-263-2024.

CWLA is pleased to serve on the steering committee of 2010's 21st annual WorldForum, A World Fit for Children: Advancing the Global Movement, November 8-11 in New York. Each year the International Forum for Child Welfare holds an international summit known as the WorldForum. This year, the WorldForum will challenge the global child welfare community to think about its work toward achieving the "Millennium Development Goals" and "A World Fit for Children" in the context of global trends. Visit for more.

News from the Hill: Children Benefit from Health Care Reform

In late March, the Senate and then the House completed action on a reconciliation bill that creates a national health insurance plan, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA; P.L. 111-148). Some provisions will take effect between now and September, additional changes will take place at the start of next year, and the bulk of the changes will take effect in 2014. According to the Congressional Budget Office analysis, total reductions in the number of uninsured Americans will reach 1 million in 2012, 19 million in 2014, and 32 million by 2019.

The PPACA includes many key provisions that will improve the health and well-being of vulnerable children and families. The law will prevent insurance companies from denying care and ensure that coverage is both affordable and adequate. The act will also provide critical services to children and families in the areas of home visiting, mental health, prevention, and wellness.

In provisions taking effect soon, families will be able to continue to cover their dependent children on their health insurance policies until the child's 26th birthday. The expansion of the adoption assistance program and adoption tax credit will help ease the financial burden for some families. For some of the more vulnerable children who are covered by Child Health Insurance Programs (CHIP), the law offers some reassurance of their coverage by maintaining CHIP through 2019, with funding through 2015. In future years, Medicaid eligibility will be expanded to 133% of the federal poverty level, and coverage will be granted to former foster youth under age 25. Youth exiting from care will be required to receive pertinent information regarding their health care needs while in transition and thereafter. There is also significant funding in the legislation for school-based health clinics, abstinence, and pregnancy prevention initiatives.

The legislation also included changes to the nation's student loan program, converting all college loans to direct lending, eliminating banks from the federal loan system. The more than $60 billion in savings from that change will be reinvested into expanded Pell Grant student loans with additional funding put into deficit reduction. Although the loan change generates savings, revised budget projections by the CBO originally calculated last year went down and as a result the Early Learning Challenge Grants included in last year's bill were eliminated. The original bill, passed by the House last fall, would have provided $1 billion a year for the early learning grants to help coordinate child care, pre-kindergarten, and Head Start programs.

For more information, download CWLA's summary at www.cwla.org/advocacy/hr3590summary.pdf.

Formatting Change for CWLA Radio

CWLA's weekly live Internet-based radio program, On the Line with CWLA, will be out of production until September. During the show's hiatus, the production team will be restructuring the show's format to implement innovative new changes to enhance On the Line's popularity as a public media forum for interactivity and engagement. CWLA welcomes listener suggestions for building an online radio community of child welfare authorities, agencies, and advocates engaged in lively conversations to promote best practices, influence public policy, raise awareness, and rally support for systematic changes in America's child welfare system. Send ideas to On the Line producer Beverly Jackson at bjaxson@comcast.net. In the meantime, visit the On the Line website at www.blogtalkradio.com/cwla-radio to play back any of the archived shows.

To comment on this article, e-mail voice@cwla.org.

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