Between November 13 and December 4, 2023, there were six Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRMs) deadlines that were directly related to child welfare. CWLA submitted comments in support of four of the six proposed rules:
- Discrimination on the Basis of Disability in Health and Human Service Programs or Activities
- Safe and Appropriate Placements Requires for Titles IV-E and IV-B
- Foster Care Legal Representation
- Strengthening Temporary Assistance For Needy Families (TANF) as a Safety Net and Work Program
Each of these NPRMs contained proposals that would strengthen protections and services for children and families with child welfare involvement. Our comments highlighted areas of agreement as well as questions and clarifications that are needed and additional support that would assist states in implementing the rules.
The Safe and Appropriate Placements Rule, which focuses on Title IV-E and IV-B agencies creating protections and processes for LGBTQI+ children and youth in foster care, has received significant opposition from conservative groups and individuals both within and outside of Congress. The NPRM received more than 13,000 comments, many of which were copies of template comments either for or against the rule. Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall led a letter from himself and 18 other Attorneys General opposing the new rule, believing that it violates religious freedom.
In Congress, Representative Brecheen (R-OK) offered an amendment to the House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education (Labor-HHS) Appropriations bill that would block funding for finalizing and implementing the rule, if passed. The amendment was approved by voice vote, though the final Labor-HHS bill has not yet been voted on by the full House. Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (R-MO) and Work and Welfare Subcommittee Chairman Darin LaHood (R-IL) and eleven other Committee Republicans sent a letter to HHS in opposition to the rule, citing the significant shortage of foster families.