Social Work Day at the Capitol! Monday April 4th!
Social workers have a lot to say about the major Health & Human Service policy and budget decisions at the capitol this session. Are you already planning to be there? Why don't you join in? Details about this important event here.
Feeling down about the news coming out of the Capitol these days? Enjoy a lighthearted photo of Governor Dayton's new puppy, getting used to the surroundings.
For an overview of the Senate's Health and Human Services bill (SF 760), see our 3/31/11 post. The big news is that the Health and Human Services Committee, chaired by Senator David Hann (that's Sen. Hann below!), passed the bill out of committee.
Major cuts are proposed to social service programs. The House version HF927 makes no cuts to the CCSA block grant, while the Senate cuts it by $22 million for the biennium (the CCSA block grant is the sole source of state funds for Child Protection). The bill is expected to pass the Senate, and its counterpart is moving through the House. Governor Dayton is expected to veto the legislation. Even so, this is an important window of opportunity - child welfare issues are on the agenda and now is the time to tell legislators what solutions you hope to see, and call on them to act in the best interest of the children and families we serve. See the sidebar for how to get in touch with your legislators, or attend Social Work Day at the Capitol!
In new legislation, Representative and CASCW Advisory Board member Jeff Hayden proposed a bill that would require:
"The commissioners of human services, education, health, and corrections to submit a joint report to the governor and the legislature by March 15, 2012, on a plan to improve children's well-being in the child welfare system."
HF1203 was introduced in the House Health and Human Services Reform Committee on 3/21/2011. Other Reps who've signed on include: Lanning, Abeler, Gottwalt, Slawik, Slocum.
Aside from the budget bills, none of the child welfare legislation we've been tracking has seen any action.
But that didn't stop advocate Charles R. LeTourneau for testifying about the importance of the Family Reunification Act (HF 749). The Civil Law Committee hasn't acted on this bill in the month since it was introduced. But Charles spoke as a former foster child, made the case for its importance and urged the Committee to pass the bill this session. I couldn't track down the audio from Charles' testimony - but you can learn more about this bill from the Youth Law Project's HF 749 Reunification Act_Legal Aid Final Fact Sheet 2011.pdf.