On Friday, August 7, 2020, Congressman Danny Davis (D-IL) and Congresswoman Jackie Walorski introduced the, “Supporting Foster Youth and Families through the Pandemic Act.”
The legislation would provide funding for youth transitioning from foster care ($350 million for Chafee Independent Living and $50 million for education and training vouchers). It would allow states that are using the Family First Prevention Services to receive 100 percent federal spending for approved services. Both provisions would extend funding through the end of FY 2021 (September 30, 2021). It would also allow states to draw down funds for kinship navigator programs regardless of whether they met evidence-based standards. The bill would provide $10 million for Court Improvement Programs and $75 million through the Promoting Safe and Stable Families Program (Title IV-B) part 2. The bill also allows an extension of some spending requirements under the home visiting program, the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV).
How child welfare funding, as well as many other vital needs such as child care, TANF, SSBG, and federal matching or FMAP increases under Medicaid and Title IV-E (Medicaid covers 31 children including children in foster care and adoption assistance), get inserted into what is finally negotiated is unclear since reports indicate committee chairs and leaders have not been a party to what is to be included in a final package.
CWLA continues to support the Child Welfare Emergency Assistance Act introduced by Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) (now with 15 cosponsors). Among other items it includes $2 billion through Title IV-B Child Welfare Services (CWS), $30 million for kinship navigator programs, simplifying eligibility for children living with a relative in foster care and allowing 100% federal support for kinship caregiver payments, $500 million for the John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program, a moratorium on “aging out” of foster care, and an additional $30 million for the Court Improvement Program.
There are also a number of other important bills on TANF (Wyden) and CAPTA and Child Care (Murray), and all will play a vital role in addressing child welfare, prevention, and family support.