Senate Hearing on Stopping the Flow of Fentanyl

On Thursday, January 11th, 2024, the U.S. Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs held a hearing on “Stopping the Flow of Fentanyl: Public Awareness and Legislative Solutions.” Witnesses Mr. Jason “Jelly Roll” DeFord, Mr. Patrick Yoes, and Mr. Christopher J. Urben testified on how the problem of fentanyl in the U.S. should be

Improving Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Treatment Access: Webinar

On Thursday, January 11th, 2024, the National Academies of Sciences’ Committee on Strategies to Improve Access to Behavioral Health Care Services through Medicare and Medicaid hosted a virtual webinar on Innovations to Improve Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Access in Medicare, Medicaid, and Marketplace Insurance Plans. This was the third webinar in their series.

USDA’s New Summer Nutrition Program: Summer EBT

This summer, the U.S. Department of Agriculture will launch a new permanent nutrition assistance program known as Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer. Estimates suggest the program could reduce food insecurity and improve nutrition for 29 million school-aged children if implemented nationwide. As of January 1, 2024, over 30 states, territories, and Indian Tribal Organizations have announced

Point-In-Time Count Report Shows Increase in Homelessness

On December 15, 2023, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released it’s 2023 Annual Homeless Assessment Report: Part 1: Point-in-Time Estimates, which is an annual snapshot of the number of individuals in shelters, temporary housing, and in unsheltered settings. The report found more than 650,000 people were experiencing homelessness on a single night

The Administration: Behavioral Health and Child Welfare

On November 8, 2023, the Assistant Secretary of Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) published a new brief, “Behavioral Health Diagnoses and Treatment Services for Children Involved with the Child Welfare System.“ ASPE found that nationally, more than 40 percent of children involved with the child welfare system -- including children and youth in foster care as

Gun Violence Hearing in Senate

On November 28, 2023, the Senate Committee on the Judiciary held a hearing entitled, “The Gun Violence Epidemic: A Public Health Crisis.” Chairman Dick Durbin [D-IL] referred to gun violence as a public health epidemic and highlighted impact of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, passed in 2022, that implemented several changes to mental health systems,

Administration Released Six Proposed Rules Related to Child Welfare

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

Free School Meals for All: Webinar

The Food Research and Action Center held a webinar on November 30, 2023 to discuss the benefits and need for free school meals, regardless of household income, to be provided to all children. These benefits include students being ready to learn, reduced stigma in the lunchroom, the end of school meal debt, and more. There

Senate Judiciary Subcommittee Hearing on Social Media and the Teen Mental Health Crisis

The Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the law had a hearing on November 7th about social media and the teen mental health crisis. Chairman Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) opened the hearing by introducing the witness, former Director of Engineering for Protection and Care at Facebook turned Meta whistleblower, Aturo Béjar. Senator Blumenthal described Mr.

Medicaid Coverage of Health-Related Social Needs

On November 16, 2023, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released new guidance that explains that a person’s health-related social needs (HRSN) are “derived from a person-specific assessment of social determinants of health (SDOH),” and that research has demonstrated that addressing SDOH and meeting HRSN has a positive impact on a person’s health

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