Major child welfare legislation that is up for reauthorization this year is still pending, with negotiations continuing among the committee staff and leadership. The House has passed the Stronger Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), but the Senate HELP committee continues to negotiate its version of the CAPTA Reauthorization bill. Both the House and Senate version have bipartisan support and propose an increase in annual authorization of $270 million for CAPTA and $270 million for the Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (CB-CAP) program; such an authorization does not guarantee that level of funding, but it signals the need for investment in this important program.
Two other important reauthorizations still in process are Title IV-B of the Social Security Act, which includes the Promoting Safe and Stable Families programs such as the Kinship Navigator program and the Regional Partnership Grants for substance use and child welfare collaboration, and the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program. Both reauthorizations are an opportunity to make changes, secure additional funding and expand the number of families that can be served. The committees working on these legislative packages are continuing to move forward and advocates remain cautiously hopeful that they will be accomplished this year.
Finally, other proposals that may still make it across the finish line before the end of this Congress include the Child Nutrition reauthorization, which was marked up in the House, the Expanded Child Tax Credit, the revamped Child Care expansion proposal, and a comprehensive mental health package that includes reauthorization for parts of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).