The CWLA 2015 National Conference starts on Sunday, April 26 with over 60 workshops and additional sessions, presentations, meetings and events beginning the next day.  One of the main features will be Tuesday, April 28, Hill Day in which members are asked to go to Capitol Hill to meet their members of Congress to educate them on key child welfare legislation.  The event also marks the release of the 2015 CWLA Legislative Agenda which lays out key priorities for CWLA in the first session of this 114th Congress.  As part of the Capitol Hill visits CWLA members are urged to discuss some of the key or Hot Topics facing Congress right now.

There are three key points for CWLA members this week:  Protect Vital Human Services in the Budget and Appropriations Debate—Including the Social Services Block Grant which focuses on the budget and appropriations debate (see update below) and it asks for special attention and protection to a key human service funding source, the Social Services Block Grant.  A second key point is Pass the Family-Based Foster Care Services Act, S.429/HR.835, legislation that would strengthen the use of therapeutic foster care services by providing a clear definition of that service in federal law and enhance the use of it.  Another health care issue that will also be a key point of discussion for CWLA members is to Support the Proposal to Address the Over-Use of Psychotropic Medication for Children in Foster Care.  The President proposed budget repeats a request from last year that would enhance the coordination between state child welfare and state Medicaid programs through a series of incentives and grants to make improvements in both systems.

For CWLA members and advocates, CWLA is asking people to become virtual participants. You can still lend your voice to help children and families. This Tuesday, April 28th, while hundreds of children’s advocates visit the Hill to talk to their members of Congress, you can join us virtually by using this link and the materials included here.

Read this year’s Legislative Agenda and think about what the children and families in your community need. Then have handy CWLA’s Hot Topicsour summary documents of requests for Advocacy Day. E-mail your representatives or call them on Tuesday, April 28th, using the Capitol Switchboard number (202) 224-3121. Tell your Senators and Representatives to make children a national priority by passing the Family-Based Foster Care Services Act to expand therapeutic foster care; support the budget proposal to address the over-use of psychotropic medication for children in foster care; and protect funding that serves vulnerable children and families, and in particular the Social Service Block Grant.

Need help identifying and contacting your Senators and Representatives? Click here.