On Wednesday, March 29, CWLA members gathered in Washington for the annual CWLA National Conference.  After the morning policy seminar members were charged up by Congressman Joseph Kennedy III (D-MA). The Congressman has become an outspoken champion of protecting the ACA in particular the expanded access to mental health and substance use treatment.

In his CWLA luncheon remarks Congressman Kennedy spoke about the recent health care debate and linked it to the future plans for a trillion dollars in tax cuts.  He warned members that, because Congress will not have the revenue a repeal of the ACA would have brought, they will now look to the budget and cuts for funding sources.  He told CWLA members that it was important for people to step up to defend that funding, to defend kids, defend families and to defend our communities that rely on that funding.   Kennedy also praised CWLA members several times because they work on behalf of people in the shadows and it was important to tell Congress how important it is to spend these dollars on issues such as child abuse and neglect as opposed to using that money for lower corporate tax rates.

Between Kennedy’s lunch remarks and the morning session, CWLA members went to the Hill charged up.  The morning session included presentations on the budget from Sharon Parrot, Senior Fellow and Senior Counselor, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Judy Solomon, Vice President for Health Policy, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities,  Avideh Moussavian, Economic Justice Policy Attorney, National Immigration Law Center, John Sciamanna, CWLA, Adele Robinson, Clinical Professor, Karabelle Pizzigati Endowed Professorship in advocacy for Children, Youth and Families, University of MD, and Tim Briceland-Betts, CWLA.

The presentation focused on the upcoming budget fight, the latest on health care, immigration, the Social Services Block Grant, child welfare funding and a discussion of Capitol Hill outreach and advocacy.  The morning session linked to the CWLA Legislative Agenda along with more detailed background information including: Protect the ACAProtect MedicaidSSBGChild Care, Child Welfare & Block Grants, Home Visiting, Immigration, and the Children’s Budget and National and State Factsheets.