Working to transform the child welfare system.

Welcome to the fourth week of special session! 

We are rapidly moving into the home stretch for the special session, which is scheduled to end June 11th.  According to some, the House and Senate are still far from compromise (although others say that they are getting closer!).  There does not appear to be agreement on how much to spend (the size of the budget), which is a critical decision necessary to move forward.

The House passed another budget and revenue package yesterday, SHB 1057, which, among other things, reduced spending by approx. $780M.  The new revenue bill generates roughly $255M, as opposed to the previous bill, which generated approx $900M.  The bills are now in the Senate; however, it is unclear what will happen from this point.  Additionally, the bill related to the Bracken decision (dealing with estate taxes) passed by the House has not been taken up by the Senate, nor have they taken up the version that passed out of Senate Ways and Means last week.  It is anticipated that the Department of Revenue will begin issuing reimbursement checks very soon if a bill is not passed and signed into law by the Governor.

Speculation continues regarding the potential of not having a budget by July 1st.  The Office of Financial Management has not issued information to the state agencies (as of this writing) about how to proceed; however, there is general agreement that, without a budget, providers would not be able to be paid and services could be discontinued.  There is also agreement that not having a budget by July 1st could have a tremendous impact on health care, parks, long-term care, public assistance, child welfare and mental health services, housing assistance, and more. 

A second special session is looking more and more likely…..  Stay tuned!

 Two new bills were added to our Bill Tracker this week: HB 2069, TANF Low Income section; and HB 2034, Revenue and Budget section.  Below are highlights from the House, Senate, and Governor’s Budgets.  The newest additions to the budget highlights are items from HB 1057 and are identified as Hse 2.

 
Children’s Administration

Family Assessment Response (FAR) 

  • Gov: $8.3M GFS; $26.5M total. Funding covers the anticipated costs for increased staffing (62.4 FTEs), support services, and concrete goods to help stabilize families.
  • Sen: $500K GFS; $10.5M GFF, Child and Family Reinvestment Acct. Funding is for concrete goods and services.
  • Sen: $2.5M GFS; $5.5M GFF, Child and Family Reinvestment Acct. Funding is for FAR staff.
  • Sen: ($1M) GFS; ($1.4M) total. Funding is reduced to reflect a 30% decline in out-of-home placement for cases referred to the FAR in the last 6 months of FY15.
  • Hse: $8.3M GFS; $26.5M total. Funding covers the anticipated costs for increased staffing (62.4 FTEs), support services, and concrete goods to help stabilize families.
  • Hse 2: $261K GFS; $16.5M total. Funding is provided for goods and services, staff, and staff training for the implementation of Family Assessment Response.

Performance Based Contracting (PBC) 

  • Gov: $.4M GFS; $.7M total. Funding will support department staffing (3.5 FTEs) that will work with contracted network administrators to ensure positive performance outcomes.
  • Sen: Not included.
  • Hse: $200K GFS/total. Funding is provided to plan the implementation of performance-based contracts for family support and related services.
  • Hse 2: $200K GFS/total. Funding is provided to plan the implementation of performance-based contracts for family support and related services.

Child Protective Services

  • Gov: $5.9M GFS; $7.6M total. Funding and FTE is provided to lower caseloads for Child Protective Services workers to reduce response and investigation times. Current caseloads are above the recommended level of 1:15 cases per caseworker.
  • Sen: Not included.
  • Hse: $5.6M GFS; $7.2M total. Funding is provided for CA field offices in which the average monthly CPS caseload per worker exceeds 18:1.
  • Hse 2: $5.6M GFS; $7.2M total. Funding is provided for CA field offices in which the average monthly CPS caseload per worker exceeds 18:1.

Educational Coordinators

  • Gov: No cut; No add.
  • Sen: ($612K) GFS/total. Includes cut to Education Coordinators as well as the elimination of “unnecessary” training.
  • Hse: No cut; No add.  
  • Hse 2:  No cut; No add.
  • [Hse 1 and 2: $93K GFS; $124K total is provided to implement HB 1566, a bill related to education outcomes of foster youth.]

Adoption Support Payments

  • Gov: No cut; No add.
  • Sen: ($1.6M) GFS/total. Reduces funding by 50% for adoption support maintenance payments to adoptive parents with children who don’t have significant special needs.
  • Hse: No cut; No add.
  • Hse 2: No cut; No add.

Administrative Efficiencies

  • Gov: No cut; No add.
  • Sen: ($2.3M) GFS/total. Funding is reduced to reflect administrative efficiencies and other actions that agencies will take to lower costs.
  • Hse: No cut; No add.
  • Hse 2: No cut; No add.

Extended Foster Care

  • Gov: No cut; No add.
  • Sen: $3.1M GFS; $4M total. Funding is provided to implement SB5405, which extends foster care services to youth exiting the foster care system who are engaged in activities which remove barriers to employment.
  • Hse: $3.6M GFS; $4.6M total. Funding is provided to implement HB1302.
  • Hse 2: $4.5M GFS; $6.4M total. Staff and funding are provided for Engrossed Second Substitute Senate Bill 5405 — extended foster care.  Extended foster care services will be available to eligible youth who have an open dependency case at age 18 and are participating in a program or activity designed to promote employment or reduce barriers to employment.

Powell Fatality Team

  • Gov: No cut; No add.
  • Sen: $100K GFS; $256K GFF. Funding is provided for initial and ongoing DV training for social workers.
  • Hse: No cut; No add.  
  • Hse 2: $100K GFS; $356K total. Funding is provided for Substitute Senate Bill 5315 (Powell Fatality Team), which implements recommendations made in the Child Fatality Review of the Powell case. This includes funding for initial and ongoing domestic violence training for social workers.

Hub Family Model

  • Hse 1 and 2: Funding is provided for a community-based organization to provide training and technical assistance to CA in developing five Hub Home models in DSHS Region 2. The Hub Home model of foster care delivery is designed to improve child outcomes, support foster children and families, and ensure that children are placed in the least restrictive placement feasible.

Aging and Adult Services

Kinship Caregivers Support Program

  • Gov: No cut.
  • Sen: ($2.1M) GFS/total. Funding is eliminated for kinship caregivers.
  • Hse: No cut.
  • Hse 2: No cut.

Economic Services

WorkFirst Reduction

  • Gov: $70M is reduced; however, $35M is reinvested to:  
    • Move homeless children and families to stable housing
    • Reinstate the Career Services program to increase federal participation
    • Make improvements to the limited English proficiency pathways
    • Implement the TANF Predictive Risk Information System
    • Increase utilization of vocational education services through the State Board of Community and Technical Colleges
    • Note: It appears that this is what the budget did; however, further analysis is needed!
  • Sen: ($143.9M) GFS/total. This includes the TANF and Working Connections Child Care adjustments to reflect caseload and per capita under-expenditures.
  • Hse: ($81M) total. Funding is adjusted to reflect the reductions in the TANF and WCCC caseloads.
  • Hse 2: ($81M) total. Funding is adjusted to reflect the reductions in the TANF and WCCC caseloads.

Household Size

  • Gov: Does not include.
  • Sen: ($2.7M) GFS/total. Funding is reduced to reflect capping the TANF grant at the household size of the family upon entry onto TANF. The grant may not increase with additional family members.
  • Hse: Does not include.
  • Hse 2: Does not include. 

Reduce WorkFirst Partners

  • Gov: Does not include.
  • Sen: ($14.3M) GFS/total. Funding is reduced for WorkFirst activities by 10% for the biennium.
  • Hse: Does not include.
  • Hse 2: Does not include.

TANF Redesign Caseload

  • Gov: Does not include.
  • Sen: ($4.1M) GFS/total. Funding is reduced due to an expectation that the redesign of the TANF program and WorkFirst activities will result in shorter lengths of stay.
  • Hse: Does not include.
  • Hse 2: Does not include.

Reduce Child Care Cap

  • Gov: Does not include.
  • Sen: ($17.4M) GFS/total. Funding is reduced to reflect lowering the cap on Working Connections Child Care from 33,000 to 29,000.
  • Hse: Does not lower the Working Connections Child Care CAP.
  • Hse 2: Does not lower the Working Connections Child Care CAP.

Reduce/Modify Safety Net Programs

  • Gov: ($26.9M) GFS is eliminated. With the elimination of state-administered incapacity examinations and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) facilitation services, the Aged Blind and Disabled (ABD) / Pregnant Women (PW) Assistance Program and the Housing and Essential Needs Program (HEN) are modified. The ABD/PW Assistance Program, which currently provides up to a $197 monthly cash benefit to about 25,100 eligible participants, will be reduced to provide cash benefits to only the aged population, which is approximately 3,600 individuals per month. All other ABD and PW participants may be eligible for housing assistance, essential needs supports, and/or SSI facilitation assistance through the HEN Program.
  • Sen: ($40.9M) GFS/total. Funding is reduced to reflect a 50% reduction to the cash grant for clients of the aged assistance program. Beginning 7/1/13, the disabled population from the former aged, blind, disabled program will no longer receive cash assistance but will be served by the Housing and Essential Needs Program, if they meet the eligibility requirements.
  • Hse: Did not make changes to the HENs, ABD, other populations.
  • Hse 2: Reduced the HEN/ABD programs by $15M, reflecting the current underspend.

Early Learning

Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program

  • Gov: $35M GFS /total. The budget invests funds to expand by 3,035 slots and improve quality through increased classroom hours and professional development.
  • Sen: $22.4M GFS/total. Funding is provided to increase the number of ECEAP slots by 860 while increasing the average slot reimbursement from $6,800 to $7,500 and increasing oversight.
  • Hse: $38.5M GFS/total. Funding is provided to expand access to the ECEAP by 1,882 additional slots, phased in each year at current eligibility standards and payment rates. Of these amounts, $40,000 of the FY14 appropriation is provided on a one-time basis for a study of available space in the state.
  • Hse 2: $28.4M GFS/total. Funding is provided to expand access to the Early Childhood Education and Assistance Program (ECEAP), pursuant to RCW 43.215.142. Funding is provided for an additional 625 slots in the 2013-14 school year at $6,812 per slot. Funding is provided for an additional 1,600 slots in the 2014-15 school year at $7,500 per slot. Funding is also provided to increase the slot rate to $7,500 for existing slots in the 2014-15 school year. Total ECEAP slot expansion for the 2013-15 biennium is 2,225, for a total of 10,616 slots by the end of the 2013-15 biennium. Funding is also increased for additional oversight by the Department. (Note: $2.3M is included to maintain the additional 165 slots included in the 2011-2013 budget.)

Home Visiting

  • Gov: Did not include.
  • Sen: $1M GFS/total. Funding is provided to expand Home Visiting Activities.
  • Hse: $1M GFS/total. Funding is provided to expand Home Visiting Activities.
  • Hse 2: $1M GFS/total. Funding is provided to expand Home Visiting Activities.

Reach Out and Read

  • Gov: No cut.
  • Sen: ($400K) GFS/total. Funding for the ROR program is moved to federal funds for the biennium.
  • Hse: No cut.
  • Hse 2: No cut.

K-12

Expand Full-Day Kindergarten

  • Gov: $116.2M GFS. Expands full-day kindergarten to all high-poverty schools.
  • Sen: $41.1M GFS/total. Funding is expanded from the current 22% of kindergarten enrollment to 30% in 2013-14; and to 35% in 2014-15, with priority to those schools with the highest percentage of students eligible for the free and reduced price lunch program.
  • Hse: $91.5M GFS?/total. Allocations for statewide voluntary full-day kindergarten programs are expanded, increasing from 22% of kindergarten enrollment in 2012-13 to 37.6% in school year 2013-14 and 39.6% in school year 2014-15.
  • Hse 2: $105.8M GFS/total. Allocations for statewide voluntary full-day kindergarten programs are expanded, increasing from 22% of kindergarten enrollment in school year 2012-13 to 48% of kindergarten enrollment in school years 2013-14 and 2014-15.)

Reduce Class Size for Kindergarten and First Grade for all High-Poverty Schools

  • Gov: $128M. Reduces class size from 24 to 20.
  • Sen: ?
  • Hse: $197.6M GFS/total. Reduces class size for grades K – 3. The reduction varies depending on the percentage of high-poverty students in the school.
  • Hse 2: $182.4M GFS/total. Allocations provided in school years 2013-14 and 2014-15 reduce class size for grades K – 3 from 25.23 full-time equivalent (FTE) students to 23.50 FTEs.

Ensure Third Grade Literacy

  • Gov: $12.5M.
  • Sen: ?
  • Hse: Unsure at this time.
  • Hse 2: Not included?

Dropout Action Plan Grants

  • Gov: $1.3M. Funding is provided to offer $10K grants to 63 districts per year to facilitate use of the uniform dropout risk assessment tool and develop plans of action to reduce their district’s dropout rate.
  • Sen: ?
  • Hse: $504K GFS/total. While not specifically dropout action plan grants, the House budget includes funding for OSPI to develop a K-12 dropout prevention, intervention and re-engagement system assessment tool and to continue development of a dropout prevention early warning and intervention system.
  • Hse 2: Did not include.

Consolidate Grants and Programs (including Readiness to Learn)

  • Gov: Did not appear to consolidate.
  • Sen: ($18.8M) GFS/total. Grants and statewide programs, including Readiness to Learn, are combined into one funding amount and reduced.
  • Hse: Did not consolidate – Maintained Readiness to Learn.
  • Hse 2: Did not consolidate – Maintained Readiness to Learn.

 

Thank you for your interest and participation in the 2013 Legislative session!!

Have a great weekend!

Laurie Lippold
Public Policy Director

 

partnersforourchildren.org/policy