As anticipated in the last Children’s Monitor, the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Resources held a hearing on reauthorization of Part IV-B of the Social Security Act. Comprised mainly of two parts, IV-B provides more than $700 million in both mandatory and discretionary annual funding for states, tribes, and territories. The funding is used to provide maltreatment prevention, family strengthening, and intervention services to all children and their families, regardless of but not excluding foster care status.
The hearing was divided into three panels, comprised of a spectrum of stakeholders. Representatives Dennis Rehberg (R-MT) and Karen Bass (D-CA) offered comments for the first panel. Rehberg spoke about family-based substance abuse treatment while Bass highlighted promising practices like differential response and upfront assessments. Administration on Children, Youth and Families Commissioner Bryan Samuels offered testimony for the second panel. He talked about improving the child welfare system with trauma and child development-informed practice and more resources to tend to children’s socio-emotional needs. In response to questions about efficiency and accountability, he pointed to the administration’s proposal for $250 million in additional funding for a performance grant. The hearing was rounded out by the third panel of service providers and advocates. It included Kentucky Department for Community Based Services Commissioner, Patricia Wilson; Supreme Court of Virginia Court Improvement Program Director Lelia Baum Hopper; American Public Human Services Association Executive Director Tracy Wareing; American Humane Association Policy and Government Affairs Director John Sciamanna; and Michigan Department of Human Services Children’s Services Administration Deputy Director, Steve Yager. Committee questions focused on evidence-based practice. Testimony for each panelist is listed on the Ways and Means Committee website.