As a part of our ongoing These Cuts Won’t Heal Campaign, CWLA has launched a petition on our Causes page to ask President Obama and Speaker Boehner to hold children harmless in the deficit reduction negotiations. Add your voice by signing the petition today: http://bit.ly/HoldChildrenHarmless.
Millions of children are reported for suspicion of abuse and neglect each year. They are from families struggling with economic insecurity, health and mental health challenges, and histories of trauma. Families on the edge can use resources to stabilize, mitigating the risk of maltreatment. Child welfare funding provides resources for children and families to heal. Child abuse and neglect prevention and safety net funding goes to resources that keep families strong and helps them find stability. Adoption funding helps new families form and solidify.
The petition explains how these programs are a key way to prevent and treat child maltreatment, but also how they help strengthen families so they can contribute to the recovery and prepare children to lead tomorrow. It also points out that many of these funding streams have already been cut or capped in recent deals to reduce the deficit. It’s time for us to take them off the table.
We started this effort just over two weeks ago and child advocates rallied to beat our original goal of 5,000 signatures before the holiday. We sent the message to the White House and then, we raised the bar. We set out to double the support for children and accomplished it in just two days. Over 10,000 strong, we can’t stop now. As conversations between President Obama and Congress continue, let’s make it known that our voice on behalf of vulnerable children will only grow louder.
Sign the petition and share it with your friends, family, staff, colleagues, and professional networks today. Please also make use of our sample tweets and Facebook posts to encourage folks to sign. Together, we can raise the bar for children and families.
Yesterday, House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Resources Chairman Geoff Davis (R-KY) announced his resignation effective immediately. He had previously announced his intention to retire at the end of end of the year, but he cited a family health issue as the reason for his early departure. Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) announced that Congressman Erik Paulsen (R-MN) has been named the Acting Chairman of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Resources, where he will serve in this capacity for the remainder of the 112th Congress.
Chairman Davis was one of CWLA’s 2012 Congressional Advocates of the Year for his bipartisan leadership on behalf of vulnerable children though passage of the Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act, which reauthorized Title IV-B of the Social Security Act covering Child Welfare Services and the Promoting Safe and Stable Families program while also creating the new Title IV-E waiver program. CWLA thanks Congressman Davis for his service and wishes him and his family the best.
Following the release of the independent Freeh report on the Sandusky child sexual abuse case and the revelation that Penn State administrators abdicated their moral responsibility to protect children, George Miller (D-CA), Ranking Member of the House Education and Workforce Committee, called for a hearing to investigate child maltreatment reporting laws. Chairman John Kline (R-MN) responded that possible violations of the Clery Act must be investigated first. That Act requires higher education agencies who receive federal financial aid to report information about crime on or near campus. In his letter, Kline elaborates that the committee is also working on CAPTA implementation following the December 2010 reauthorization with an eye on the newly required report on state and local child abuse prevention systems that is overdue from the administration.
Prior to the Committee’s latest reaction, Congress as a whole has proposed several responses. A flurry of bills followed news of the tragedy. CWLA joined the discussion, thanking Congress for their efforts to raise awareness regarding the reporting of child abuse and neglect and will continue to monitor their efforts. We hope that this hearing, like the previous ones, lays a foundation for further work on strengthening federal laws to better protect all children from abuse and neglect.
Senators John Kerry (D-MA), Charles Grassley (R-IA), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Thad Cochran (R-MS) introduced the Families for Foster Youth Stamp Act (S. 3231). In his remarks, lead sponsor Kerry recognized May as National Foster Care Month, and acknowledged the 408,000 children in foster care and the 107,000 who are eligible for adoption. He urged Congress to do more to connect children in foster care with a safe, loving, and permanent home.
This bipartisan bill would increase funding for effective programs targeted at improving permanency outcomes for youth in foster care, with profits set-aside from the sale of postage stamps. The bill proposes splitting funds between the Adoption Opportunities Program and the State Court Improvement Program (CIP). Funds going to the Adoption Opportunities Program would target programs improving permanency outcomes for youth in foster care through adoption, guardianship, or kinship care. The CIP funds could target improving quality of legal representation for the children, reducing caseloads, updating systems to be more efficient, and overall steps to improve the court’s role in achieving safe, stable and permanent homes for children.
Kerry thanked CWLA and other national organizations that have expressed support for the bill.