Since the National Conference in Washington, D.C. CWLA has reached out to members of Congress advocating for increase funding in key child welfare priority areas and services and supports on child welfare bills including: the reauthorization and increase funding for the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) and support for the Family First Transition and Support Act (S.1376/H.R. 2702). These important child welfare packages are critical investments in child welfare’s continuum of care including prevention of child abuse before it happens and intervention services that can prevent the separation of children from their families.

The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA)

On Monday, May 20, 2019 the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2480 – Stronger Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA). The Senate action has stalled. Wanting to write their own bill rather than taking up the House bill, Senators have been having ongoing Committee discussions, but no draft has been released on what the bill would look like. A Senate bill would likely be voted out of the HELP Committee shortly after agreement. The House bill was a product of bipartisan negotiation including the proposed increase in the authorization level.

The House bill proposes an increase in annual authorization of appropriations of $270 million for CAPTA and $270 million for the CB-CAP program. An authorization does not guarantee that appropriators will follow up with the funding, but it is significant in comparison to past CAPTA authorizations that did not suggest any increases. The Senate HELP Committee has responsibility for the CAPTA reauthorization. That same Committee is also attempting to reauthorize a higher education bill and dealing with prescription drug issues.

The Family First Transition and Support Act (S.1376/H.R. 2702)

Although, the Finance Committee has not taken up the Family First Transition and Support Act legislation, many Congressional offices are interested in addressing issues concerning implementation of Family First. CWLA has continued to engage with members of Congress to address the proposed legislation and discuss the provisions that are most critical, including the “de-link” from the 1996 AFDC eligibility requirements for children placed in family foster care; the significant increase in flexible funding to help kinship families in crisis; the increase in funding to all states for workforce development, for the first time, research funding for state-directed use, greater flexibility in how much of Family First funding that must be spent on “well-supported” services and important increases in funding for Regional Partnership Grants (RPGs) and the Court Improvement Program (CIP).
Click here for CWLA’s summary of the bill.
Click here for the bill text.
The 116th Congress child welfare bills
Click here for a listing of all child welfare related bills that have been introduced in the 116th Congress.

About the Author:

John Sciamanna is CWLA's Vice President of Public Policy.

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