Over the past few weeks we have been working to revamp our policy blog and plan for the upcoming legislative session here in Minnesota. Below you will find our child welfare legislative roundup for the month of September so far.
For the remainder of September we will be highlighting the federal Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act in addition to other major pieces of federal legislation currently impacting the child welfare field.
In October we will discuss the intersection of child welfare and early childhood, examining how these two topics are interrelated within the context of practice and policy, as well as highlight any relevant legislation and conferences.
We look forward to continuing the discussion on these important topics in child welfare here and on Facebook, and we value your input!
September Federal Legislative Roundup
Bill Description : Sponsored by James Sensenbrenner [R-WI5] and cosponsored by Leonard Lance [R-NJ7], Daniel Lungren [R-CA3], Ted Poe [R-TX2], and Debbie Wasserman Schultz [D-FL20], this bill was introduced in the House on September 8th and reauthorizes certain legislation previously established by the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006. Additionally, H.R. 2870 caps spending on some sexual crime programming and resources.
Bill Status: This bill has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee where it is pending consideration.
H.R. 2870 may impact child welfare though its cap on spending for prosecutors in child sexual exploitation cases. While H.R. 2780 reauthorizes this funding in general, it eliminates a minimum requirement to increase the number of prosecutors by at least 200 and allots no more than $3 million spent per year for each fiscal year (2012-2016).
Bill Description: Sponsored by Jared Polis [D-CO2,] this bill was introduced on September 15th and authorizes full funding of Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) by reducing spending in the Department of Defense. Specifically, H.R. 2935 proposes that grants be made available to states, outlying areas, and Freely Associated States in order for them to better serve children with disabilities. This funding would be countered by eliminating funding for F-35B and F-35C Joint Strike Fighter Aircraft and the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle, limits the naval combat forces of the Navy to no more than 10 operational aircraft carriers and 9 carrier air wings, and requires the decommission of the U.S.S. George Washington.
Bill Status: This bill has been referred to the House Education & Workforce and House Armed Services Committees where it is pending consideration.
H.R. 2935 is a very interesting bill proposal with implications for children with disabilities. The funding measures could make for a dynamic conversation in the legislature or it could be quickly killed. We will continue tracking the progress of this bill in order to keep you updated.
Bill Description: Sponsored by José Serrano [D-NY16] , this bill was introduced on September 15th and authorizes the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to provide grants for specialized housing and social services that will be made available to elderly individuals who are the primary caregiver of a child that is a relative.
Bill Status: This bill has been referred to the House Financial Services Committee where it is pending consideration.
H.R. 2935 illustrates an important need for additional services to older adults who are caring for a child in their family. Kinship care is an important topic for child welfare, and with the country's rising number of elderly individuals, the intersection of their personal care with child welfare is sure to become more prominent in practice settings.
Bill Description: Sponsored by James Langevin [D-RI2] and cosponsored by Fortney Stark [D-CA13], this bill was introduced on September 15th and requires States to take certain steps to better assist children in foster care in making the transition to independent living.
Bill Status: This bill has been referred to the House Ways and Means Committee where it is pending consideration.
H.R. 2953 would have a direct impact on children in foster care. The bill proposes that the State should assist children at least 14 years of age in preparing to obtain a driver's permit and auto insurance (if applicable), apply for financial aid related to obtaining a postsecondary education, determine any other financial support eligibility, ensure issuance of an identification card, open a banking account, and obtain healthcare, among many other considerations.