Child Welfare Services (Title IV-B part 1) and Promoting Safe and Stable Families (PSSF, Title IV-B part 2) expired last year and they have a temporary extension through the end of this fiscal year. At risk are some smaller programs attached to PSSF, the Court Improvement Program (CIP) and grants for drug treatment and workforce improvement. CWS receives an appropriation of $269 million and PSSF set at just under $400 million with approximately $335 million for the core services.
In June, the House of Representatives adopted a series of bipartisan child welfare bills. The five bills were all taken from last year’s Families First legislation that had been adopted by the House last summer. Taken together the bills would speed up placements across state lines, improve regional partnership substance use treatment grants and expand support for youth in or aging out of foster care. The bills went to the Senate where they are not likely (and in some cases, should not) pass individually but could easily pass as part of a larger package of legislation including a straight reauthorization of the two IV-B programs.
The Senate Finance Committee has this along with many other expiring programs including home visiting, CHIP, and several health care programs.
Rumors abound of what possibilities there are for last year’s Families First Act but that would require new funding offsets since the Adoption Assistance De-Link has almost been fully implemented, that is on October 1, 2017 no special needs adoption will be linked to the 1996 AFDC eligibility requirements. Last year’s Families First bill relied on a delay of the last two years of phased out Adoption Assistance for FY 2017 and FY 2018 as a partial pay-for for the legislation.
Last year’s bill also would not provide immediate relief or support to address the opioid epidemic since it would not open Title IV-E funds for three years after enactment.