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.
Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner held a series of face-to-face meetings today on Capitol Hill to further negotiations on a budget agreement. Secretary Geithner is the lead negotiator for President Obama. He was accompanied to the Hill by Rob Nabors, White House chief legislative liaison. They met with Congressional leaders from both parties and from both the Senate and the House. It was reported that many substantive issues were discussed but no breakthroughs occurred. The two sides remain far apart on taxes, spending cuts and how and to what extent entitlement programs will be effected.
Staff level talks are expected to continue over the coming days. There is a concerted effort to arrive at an agreement before Christmas. If no agreement is reached by the first of the year, a number of changes in fiscal policy will take place including the expiration of tax cuts enacted under President George W. Bush as well as spending cuts to both domestic and defense programs. The cuts, known as sequestration, affect child welfare funding streams including the Promoting Safe and Stable Families Program and Child Welfare Services under Title IV-B of the Social Security Act, as well as other critical low-income support programs such as the Child Care Development Block Grant, Head Start, and the Social Services Block Grant. CWLA is circulating a petition to President Obama and Speaker Boehner not to balance the budget on the backs of vulnerable children and families and posted more information on the budget negotiations here.
The continuing resolution on the federal budget being considered in Congress this week includes a six month extension of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. Congress has debated a longer term reauthorization of TANF for a number of years now but has not been able to reach agreement and has been passing short term extensions in the interim. This extension will keep the program intact under current rules for six months with the hope that the next Congress, convening in January, will reach agreement for the longer term.
In a related development, the House of Representatives will likely pass a resolution on Thursday expressing disapproval of the new TANF waiver rules announced by the Obama Administration in July. This has become an increasingly partisan issue in the Presidential election over the past few weeks. Several Republicans including Mitt Romney have criticized the new rules claiming they limit the work requirements to be eligible for cash assistance, which President Obama and fellow Democrats deny. The House leadership resolution is critical of the waiver rules but is not expected to have any real effect since the Senate is not going to take up the resolution.