This week, Governor Dayton released his budget proposal. Keep in mind that the legislature and the Governor are taking opposing approaches to resolving this budget deficit. So don't get too attached to the details within this budget, as it's very likely to change through the legislative process.
That said, this link will take you to several resources about the Governor's budget, from the briefest of overviews to the minute details. There are two changes particularly relevant for the Child Welfare field: the CCSA allocation and full funding of adoption assistance.
Coming up on 2/23 & 2/24, there is an opportunity for public testimony on the Health and Human Services budgets. If you would like to participate or listen, in person or online, click here for more information. This is an opportunity to voice your opinion on the proposals to date and offer solutions to the budget crisis as it concerns the children and families we serve.
In other policy news, some interesting legislation introduced at the Capitol this week.
Children and Community Services Act currently requires Service Agreements from counties every two years or sooner. This bill proposes to ease those requirements.
This proposal is an exciting shift in how sexually exploited teens are served, moving from a response that protects rather than prosecutes the youths. There is overlap in the child welfare population and the youth who are the target of this bill. Here is the description: "Juvenile prostitutes in need of protection or services provisions amended, sexually exploited youth defined, prostitution crime penalty assessments increased...and a statewide victim services model called the Safe Harbor for Sex Trafficked Youth."
Pilot project aligning services for early childhood education and social services for at-risk children and their families. The proposal has a strong evaluation component built in, increasing the chance for best practices learning to emerge from the project.
"A full-service school zone may be established for a school located in an area with higher than average crime or other social and economic challenges, that provides education, health or human services, or other parental support in collaboration with city, county, state, or nonprofit agencies."
"Providing for grandparent visitation rights on behalf of the child; expanding grandparent visitation rights; specifying procedures; requiring mediation."
Last week we mentioned a number of bills that relate to the Child Welfare field. There does not appear to be any new action taken on those bills, as far as the state legislature website and media coverage indicate. Nor are there any hearings scheduled specifically on those bills. We'll keep you posted when that changes.
You may want to save the date for Social Work Day at the Capitol, Monday, April 4, 2011. Information and registration here.