Working to transform the child welfare system.


December 2018 federal update

Happy December. All of us at Partners for Our Children extend warm wishes for a happy holiday season and a fantastic 2019. 
In this newsletter, please find many federal updates we want to share. As a reminder, POC tracks federal legislation on our federal legislation tracker (click on the “federal bills” tab). The tracker, housed on the POC website, focuses on bills that potentially impact child and family well-being, especially related to people most negatively affected by inequities.
Washington state legislative session begins soon
Before we know it, January 14, 2019 will be here and a new state legislative session will begin. As usual, POC will track state legislation, summarize relevant bills, and track and update them weekly on our POC website. We also will send weekly general updates throughout session. 
If you have any suggestions or feedback about the state or federal updates, please do contact us! We are very open to refining the processes.
Public comment until December 10th for proposed rule change regarding inadmissibility to the United States on public charge 
On October 10th, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a proposed rule for inadmissibility to the United States on grounds of “public charge.” Public charge,as defined by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services,is any individual who is “primarily dependent on the government for subsistence, either by the receipt of public cash assistance for income maintenance, or institutionalization for long-term care at government expense.” 
The proposed rule change would deny applicants a visa or admission into the United States if they might at any time become a “public charge,” unless Congress expressly exempted or otherwise permitted them to seek a waiver of inadmissibility.  DHS also proposes that all people who seek an extension of stay in the U.S. or change of status prove they are not, have not or will not receive public benefits. 
This proposal will further jeopardize children living in immigrant families and/or extended families. Families may be discouraged from receiving important supports and services needed to meet their basic needs for fear of negatively impacting their ability to keep child(ren) or their own safety in the United States. 
Please submit comments to the federal register until December 10th, 2018.
Learn more from Generations United’s new report on Grandfamilies and Immigration. 
Reauthorization of Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) provides opportunity for expanded prevention efforts
Partners for Our Children to co-host congressional briefings on December 4th and 5th 
In the United States, one in eight children are affected by child abuse and neglect by the age of 18. The negative effects to the health and well-being of children and families is well documented. Furthermore, the economic impact is estimated as $124 billion tied to new cases every year. 
The reauthorization of The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) presents an opportunity to expand prevention efforts, improve child and family well-being, and prevent intergenerational trauma and maltreatment. CAPTA was originally enacted on January 31st, 1974, and has been amended several times since. CAPTA was last reauthorized by the CAPTA Reauthorization Act of 2010.
Although substantial advances have been made in preventing maltreatment, little investment at the federal level has gone to effective prevention strategies. Systematic and coordinated approaches to diverting non-maltreatment cases in to effective prevention programs could also preserve precious resources for child protection. 
Congressional briefings on December 4th and 5th 
Partners for Our Children will co-sponsor two congressional CAPTA briefings this week; one was today, December 4th (and you can watch the link on our Facebook page) and the next is tomorrow, Wednesday, December 5th from 8:30 AM – 9:30 AM Pacific Standard Time. The briefings highlight research on child abuse and neglect prevention and showcase promising prevention strategies used by states and counties in the United States.
Congressional resolution introduced commemorating  the 40th anniversary of the Indian Child Welfare Act
On November 27th, 2018, a bi-partisan resolution was introduced in Congress that recognizes the 40th anniversary of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and the continued need for protections. The resolution recognizes the importance of ICWA to ensure some stability and security of Tribal communities and families.
This resolution comes after U.S. District Judge O’Connor ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in Brackeen v. Zinke. The Brackeen are a non-Native couple seeking to adopt a Native child. The states of Texas, Indiana, and Louisiana, held that ICWA was a race-based statute and that in passing ICWA, Congress had overstepped its authority. 
When ICWA was first enacted in 1978, one-third of all Native children were placed in foster care or adoptive homes. As these child welfare systems were unfamiliar with tribal child rearing practices, generations of Native children were displaced. Over four decades, the law has become the “gold standard” for child welfare policy and keeping Native children connected to their communities and cultures.
The resolution was sponsored by Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.),and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), as well as U.S. Representatives Karen Bass (D-Calif.), and Tom Cole (R-Okla.) 
The full text of the resolution can be found here.
Reshaping child welfare through Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA); guidance for states and agencies about how to use title IV-E funds for primary prevention of child maltreatment and unnecessary separation of parent(s) and child(ren) 
In February 2018, the Family First Prevention Services Act was signed into federal law as part of the Bipartisan Act of 2018.   Part of the new law allows title IV-E monies to fund fund mental health and substance abuse prevention and treatment provided by a qualified clinician, and in-home parent skill-based programs, for up to 12 months for candidates for foster care and for pregnant or parenting foster youth.  Certain stipulations are written into law about what services or programs must be provided, as well as what the sates need to do. 
The creation of the title IV-E prevention program is an unprecedented step in recognizing the importance of working with children and families to prevent the need for foster care placement and the trauma of unnecessary parent- child separation. The title IV-E prevention program is part of a much broader vision of strengthening families by preventing child maltreatment, unnecessary removal of children from their families, and homelessness among youth. It provides an opportunity for states to re-think dramatically how they serve children and families, and creates an impetus to focus attention on prevention and strengthening families as our primary goals rather than placing children in foster care as our main intervention. 
The Children’s Bureau strongly encourages all title IV-E agencies to take this opportunity to use the title IV-E prevention program to fund these important services and also to envision and advance a vastly improved way of serving children and families, one that focuses on strengthening their protective and nurturing capacities instead of separating them. 
In light of this, in mid-November the Children’s Bureau issued an Information Memorandum that encourages all child welfare agencies and Children’s Bureau grantees to plan, implement and maintain integrated primary prevention networks.   The Children’s Bureau highlighted the need for child welfare agencies to begin implementing primary prevention approaches and encouraged all child welfare agencies to partner with executive agencies, judicial partners, service providers, and community providers to partner with executive agencies, judicial partners, service providers, and community partners to transition to a prevention services approach. 
Learn directly from the Children’s Bureau about how states can access Title IV-E Prevention dollars; two calls scheduled for mid-December and updated website soon
We also want to let you know that the Children’s Bureau issued ACYF-CB-PI-18-09: State Requirements for Electing the Title IV-E Prevention and Family Services and Programs, which provides instructions on requirements state title IV-E agencies must meet when electing to provide title IV-E prevention and family services and programs. 
Children’s Bureau is hosting a series of calls to provide information and a forum for questions on the Title IV-E Prevention and Family Services and Programs.
MONDAY, DECEMBER 17, 2018  from 11:30 – 1:00 PM PT
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 18, 2018 from 11:00 – 12:30 PM PT
Call-in Information:
  • Call-in: 888-391-9602
  • Participant Passcode: 13193#
If you experience any difficulties joining a call, please contact Cheryl Speed at
The Program Instructions will be available on their website soon.