Investing In What It Takes: A Full Continuum of Care

Hilton Garden Inn Washington, DC/U.S. Capitol
April 18 – 20, 2016

Advocate on Capitol Hill for America’s Children!

The National Advocacy Summit, Investing in What it Takes: A Full Continuum of Care. was held in Washington, DC on April 18-20.  The Summit was an excellent opportunity to tell Congress that we need NEW investments in children starting with preventing child abuse, preventing foster care when possible and providing the best care when necessary, and above all, ensuring permanency and safety for all children through reunification, kinship care and adoption.

Thank you to everyone who was able to participate in the Summit (onsite or virtually).  Based on the feedback we received, CWLA members and partners helped to highlight critical child welfare policy priorities for the remaining days of this Congress.  The issues raised on Capitol Hill, the challenge of substance use, potential action through further refinements to the “Families First” draft legislation, and the workforce issues were well received. There is a possibility that the key Senate and House Committees will act on these issues in the next two months.

We will update you on any potential progress and ask that you continue building on your recent contacts. We suggest a follow up thank you or other outreach by e-mail from you to the Congressional staff person you contacted as a great next step.

If you were not able to participate in the Summit, your ongoing support is appreciated and needed.  Posted below in the Schedule are some of the event’s informative presentations and resources for your review.

Thank you again for a successful advocacy event!


Monday, April 18, 2016

11:00 am – 12:30 pm
Opening Session – Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities

We will discuss the most recent developments from the Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities.  David Sanders, Commission Chair, will present the just-released Commission report and recommendations.  A panel of speakers will respond with questions and remarks. Participants will have an opportunity to discuss and review the Commission’s recommendations and next steps.

Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities Presentation

12:30 pm – 2:15 pm
Lunch Plenary – Hear from the Hill on 2016 Plans for Child Welfare Legislation

Key legislative staff including Becky Shipp, Policy Advisor, Senate Finance Committee; Anne DeCesaro, Staff Director, House Subcommittee on Human Resources; and Morna Miller, Staff Director House Minority Staff, House Subcommittee on Human Resources will discuss possible legislative action regarding current child welfare legislation.  This includes the Families First Act, the reauthorization of Title IV-B Programs, the Interstate Compact Reform Legislation and other potential actions.

2:30 pm – 3:30 pm
Child Welfare Funding and Reauthorizations

There are a number of important reauthorizations that are due or overdue for action.  CWLA staff and guest speakers will provide an update on some of these laws and events. We will discuss September as National Kinship Care Month, Gerard Wallace, Director, New York State Kinship Navigator. Federal programs that either directly affect child welfare, Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) or indirectly, Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention and Treatment Act (JJDPA), Lisa Pilnik, Deputy Executive Director, Coalition for Juvenile Justice.  We will examine the likelihood for action, the proposals being considered and other factors.  In addition to these two reauthorizations, other programs up include: Adoption Opportunities Act, Adoption Incentive Fund, Promoting Safe and Stable Families, Child Welfare Services, and the Higher Education Act.

3:30 pm – 5:00 pm
Prepare to “Take the Hill”

Hot topics, talking points, and logistics will be provided as we get ready to go to Capitol Hill. The emphasis of this session is on carrying an effective message to Capitol Hill and how best to advocate for strengthening child welfare policies and funding. We will discuss some of the key issues advocates can have an impact on in 2016. These include current legislation on the need to address the impact of substance abuse on the child welfare system, legislative proposals to strengthen the child welfare workforce, the reauthorization of the Child Welfare Services and Promoting Safe and Stable Families funding and key legislation including, the Families First Act.


Help Families Needing Drug Treatment

Strengthen and Increase the Child Welfare Workforce

Take the Next Step in Child Welfare Services Reform

5:00 pm
Networking on Your Own – See Washington in the Spring!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016 – Hill Day

7:00 am – 8:30 am
Continental Breakfast

Capitol Hill Activities:

8:00 am – 4:00 pm
Capitol Hill Visits
(Lunch by voucher at U.S. Capitol Visitor Center)

2:30 pm – 3:30 pm
Capitol Hill Briefing “The Child Welfare Workforce”
Location: Cannon House Office Building, Room 421

The briefing will focus on the significance of the child welfare workforce.  We will look at the workforce significance in advancing the many outcomes within child welfare and its impact on enhancing child and family well-being.  $20 million in funding to support caseworker visits and workforce improvements must be reauthorized under the Promoting Safe and Stable Families program this year.  In addition, the Administration has proposed a significant and important child welfare workforce proposal that CWLA supports.

 As part of this briefing, we will examine an innovate program that seeks to promote a Children’s Corps through the efforts of the nonprofit, Fostering Change for Children based in New York City.  Chief Executive Officer, Barry Chaffkin will present on how this program  works, the progress and the research so far, and how they look to advance this exciting initiative. Chris Walker, Reporter, Westword, Denver, CO and a 2016 recipient of the CWLA Anna Quindlen Award for Journalism, will provide insight on what he has learned from his in-depth reporting on the challenges of a being a part of the child welfare workforce. 

Children’s Corps Impact

Children’s Corps Overview

4:00 pm
Capitol Hill Debrief

Debrief from Capitol Hill visits – What was learned, What should the follow up be for CWLA staff, CWLA members and advocates, What issues emerged, What did you learn, and What advice do you want to share.

6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Dinner with Keynote Speakers and Discussion – Meet the New Commissioner

We anticipate a strong discussion of some of ACYF’s recent initiatives as well as their key priorities for the last months of the Obama Administration when we are addressed by Commissioner Rafael Lopez, Administration on Children, Youth and Families (ACFY).  Some of the hot topics being considered are likely to include the ACYF’s latest initiatives, proposals and pending guidance on youth , AFCARS regulations, workforce development and the impact of substance abuse on child welfare services.

This session will also focus in on the press,  its impact on child welfare and its role in advocacy.  It will include comments from Reporter Chris Walker, Westword, Denver, CO and a 2016 recipient of the CWLA Anna Quindlen Award for Journalism.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Plenary Session – Substance Abuse Briefing

We will wrap-up with a session focused on the critical issue of substance use. This year Congress has focused a great deal of time on the prescription drug and opioids addiction issue. Proposed legislation has been drafted or introduced in a number of committees including Senate Finance, HELP and Appropriations Committees. We are seeing evidence that substance use has had an impact on child welfare agencies across the country. The most recent foster care numbers have risen for two consecutive years, with the recent data showing foster care numbers increasing from 400,000 to 415,000. In addition, infant placements have increased faster than other parts of the foster care population.

This session will include an examination of the national picture, state reactions and Washington, DC policy perspectives.

Robert Morrison, Executive Director, National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors (NASADAD) will provide an overview on substance use disorders and prevalence data demonstrating the rise in use of opioids, including prescription drugs and heroin, and the overall challenge of addiction including alcohol.

NASADAD Presentation

Dr. Nancy K. Young, Executive Director, Children and Family Future will discuss the impact of substance use disorders, including the increase in use of opioids, on infants, children and families. Dr. Young will highlight Federal investments over the past decade that have tested strategies to improve outcomes for families in child welfare affected by substance use disorders. These investments, such as the Regional Partnership grants and Children Affected by Methamphetamine grants, have generated a knowledge base of what works and point to a set of common ingredients for improved family outcomes.

Children and Family Futures Presentation

Dr. Jocelyn Gainers, Executive Director, Family Recovery Program will highlight the work of the Family Recovery Program, a family drug court that connects families with timely access to substance abuse treatment and supportive services for parents and families who have lost custody of their children due to substance use disorders. Ms. Gainers will discuss the program’s use of recovery support specialists to engage parents into treatment and other services.

Lukenia Lisa Carroll, Case Manager, Family Recovery Program, brings not only professional experience but also personal experience to her work, as her three children were removed from her care in 2008 due to substance abuse. Ms. Carroll graduated from the Family Recovery Program in 2009 and she reunified with her three children. She will share her story and offer a parent’s perspective on what works in serving families affected by substance use disorders.

Capitol Hill Reactions

Key staff from both houses and several committees of jurisdiction discuss their reactions to this mornings discussion.  What is driving Capitol Hill interest and what action may take place before the end of this session and year. Participating in our discussion: Kathy Nuebel, Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA)-Senate Finance Committee; Allie Kimmel, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA)-Senate HELP Committee; Ryan Martin, Republican Majority Staff-House Subcommittee on Ways and Means; Jill Hunter-Williams, Congressman Danny Davis, (D-IL)-Human Resources Subcommittee; and Alex Payne, Congressman Bobby Scott (D-VA)-House Education and the Workforce.

Hotel & Travel Information

Conference Location and Accommodations

Hilton Garden Inn Washington, DC / U.S. Capitol
1225 First Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002
Room Rate: $239 (single/double)

Hotel Reservations

Hotel reservation must be made directly with the hotel. You can make reservations by calling 1-877-782-9444 and referencing group code “CHI” or online at HGI Reservations. Room availability and special rates are guaranteed only until March 28, 2016, or until the space is filled.


The closest airport is the Reagan National Airport (DCA). Ground transportation options and information about the local area are available at Hilton Garden Inn Washington, DC/ US Capitol.