California Family Resource Association

Federal Updates from the National Child Abuse Coalition

Over the weekend, President Trump signed executive order that requires federal agencies to “ease the financial burden” of the ACA. The impact of this executive order is unclear but gives HHS the authority to not enforce large parts of the ACA prior to any repeal. Click here for an NPR article summarizing the order.

Last week Senate HELP Committee held confirmation hearings for the nominations of Rep. Tom Price and Betsy DeVos for Secretaries of HHS and Education, respectively. The Price hearing focused on the ACA, Medicaid, and Medicare, and ethics issues. The DeVos hearing focused on education at a very broad level and ethics issues. Civil rights advocates expressed great concern about her answers on IDEA. Both hearings were contentious along party lines. The Washington Post summary of the DeVos hearing can be found here and the Price hearinghere. The Committee has scheduled a vote for DeVos for January 31st. Both candidates are expected to be confirmed along largely party lines.

This coming week the Finance Committee, which also has jurisdiction over a large portion of HHS policy, held their confirmation hearing for Rep. Tom Price on January 24.

Child Maltreatment 2015 Released

On January 19, HHS’s Administration for Children and Families released the 2015 Child Maltreatment report. The report is from the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS), a voluntary national data collection and analysis program of state child abuse and neglect information. Among other things, the report shows an increase from FY2014 to 2016 in three key metrics: number of referrals to CPS agencies alleging maltreatment, number of referrals that CPS agencies accepted for investigation or alternative response, and number of children who were the subject of an investigation or alternative response. Read the full 2015 Child Maltreatment Report, click here.

Children’s Bureau Issues Guidance on Implementing Plan of Safe Care Requirements in CARA and Quality Legal Representation

On January 17, the Children’s Bureau issued ACF-ACYF-CB-PI-17-02, Program Instruction providing guidance to states on implementing provisions in CAPTA as amended by the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2016 (CARA). Please see the attached Program Instruction document, and two appendices.

On January 18, the Children’s Bureau issued an Information Memorandum ACYF-CB-IM-17-02, concerning high-quality legal representation for all parties in child welfare proceedings. The purpose of this IM is to emphasize the importance of high quality legal representation in helping ensure a well-functioning child welfare system. It also highlights important research and identifies best practices and strategies to promote and sustain high quality legal representation for all parents, children and youth, and child welfare agencies in all stages of child welfare proceedings. Relevant documents are attached.

HHS Releases and Seeks Comment on the Protecting Our Infants Act Report to Congress

On January 19, SAMHSA announced the release of the Protecting Our Infants Act Report to Congress in the Federal Register. Mandated by Congress, this report will include, among other things, a strategy to address gaps, overlap, and duplication among federal programs, and to effectively address prenatal opioid exposure and NAS. HHS seeks public comment on this strategy portion of the report. To be assured consideration, comments must be received no later than February 13, 2017. The report is available for review at, in Docket No. SAMHSA-2016-0004. The final version of the report will be published by May 25, 2017.

Signs of Support for Home Visiting

Last week, Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) told the Chronicle of Social Change he plans to introduce legislation that would increase funding for the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program from $400 to $800 million over the next five years. MIECHV is due to be reauthorized this year, but because Congress must find offsets for any funds in a reauthorization bill, House and Senate committees face an uphill battle. In addition, Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) stated: “I’ve supported the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program since its creation and look forward to its reauthorization,” said Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) in an email statement. My staff already has met with interested groups and discussed working with them on the reauthorization. We haven’t discussed the exact terms, such as the dollar amount or the length of the reauthorization, yet. On David Olds’ ideas, accountability to measure results and make sure the money is well spent is always welcome. These ideas are something to consider as part of the debate.”