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About John Sciamanna

John Sciamanna is CWLA's Vice President of Public Policy.

Educational Stability for Foster Students During COVID-19

The ABA Legal Center for Foster Care and Education, the Center, and CWLA held a special member call on Wednesday, September 9, 2020, to discuss the education needs of children and families involved with child welfare during COVID-19. In normal circumstances, foster students experience unique challenges in the education system, but now given the nature

Senate Votes on Slimmed-Down Relief Package

On Thursday, September 10, 2020, the Senate voted 52 to 47 on a slimmed-down coronavirus relief package that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) had released earlier in the week. The Senate requires at least 60 votes to clear the filibuster hurdle but the vote fell short. The legislation, formally a substitute to S.178 (a previous bill dealing

CR Likely to Be Adopted Soon to Avoid Shut-Down

While putting a relief package aside, both sides, through the chief negotiators of Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have agreed there will not be a government shutdown when the fiscal year ends of September 30, 2020. Pelosi and Mnuchin have said they would agree to a “clean” continuing resolution (CR) that would include

Bass Bill Expands Dental Access for Youth in Foster Care

Earlier this month, Congressmember Karen Bass (D-CA) introduced the Foster Youth Dental Act of 2020. The legislation attempts to strengthen dental coverage under the Medicaid program for young people in foster care by expanding eligibility, providing incentives for dental providers, enhancing outreach efforts for enrollment, and protecting existing coverage for foster youth.   Youth enrolled

House Ways and Means Staff Report on Placement Discrimination Released

Last month, on Wednesday, August 19, 2020, the House Ways and Means Committee Democrats released a report led by Worker and Family Support Subcommittee Chairman Danny K. Davis (D-IL) and Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight, the late John Lewis (D-GA) on the issue of discrimination in placement decisions for foster care and adoption. The

One Quarter of Young Adults in the U.S. Seriously Considered Suicide During the Pandemic

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, new report found that during June 24-30, 2020, 11 percent of young adults seriously considered suicide. 40 percent of U.S. adults reported struggling with mental health or substance use during the pandemic, including anxiety/depression systems or trauma or stressor-related disorder symptoms.   The CDC's new data included self-reported

How Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) Could Help Local Governments

The House-passed HEROES Act adopted by the House on May 15, 2020, includes significant funding under the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) that would help state and local governments address current budgetary shortfalls.    SSBG has always been a significant funder of a range of child welfare services, including foster care, youth services, child protection, prevention

Child Care (CCDBG) and CAPTA Funding

On Thursday, June 4, 2020, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced a companion to Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) the Child Care is Essential Act that would provide $50 billion in child care funding as part of the fifth or next COVID-19 bill. They are part of various legislative efforts to address the serious long-term challenges facing the country’s

Increased Funding for Medicaid and Title IV-E

In the Families First COVID-19 emergency supplemental bill (COVID-19 bill # 2), Congress acted swiftly to provide a much-needed 6.2 percentage increase in the FMAP. The FMAP is the match level of funds the federal government provides to Medicaid.  Usually the federal government provides a match from 50 percent to 80 percent depending on the

The Child Welfare Emergency Assistance Act

CWLA continues to support the Child Welfare Emergency Assistance Act (Brown), S4172, which now has 15 cosponsors, including 7 Senators from the Senate Finance Committee. On Thursday, July 2, 2020, Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) introduced the Child Welfare Emergency Assistance Act. The bill’s original cosponsors include Senators Kamala Harris (D-CA), Bob Casey (D-PA), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV).

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