ACF Speaks on Behalf of Early Childhood Funding

Recently, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP), subcommittee on Children and Families heard testimony from the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) and experts and researchers in the field of early childhood programs on the dramatic effects of these programs on children's emotional and mental development, as well as their academic performance. Joann Lombardi, Ph.D. who serves as the Deputy Assistant Secretary and Inter-Departmental Liaison for Early Childhood Development, ACF shared with the subcommittee the strides in policy development and funding investments made on behalf of young children. [More]

Grassley Introduces Bill to Amend Title IV-B of Social Security Act

On June 20, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) introduced Partners for Stable Families and Foster Youth Affected by Methamphetamine or Other Substance Abuse Act, a bill that would amend Part B of Title IV to reauthorize grants to assist children affected by methamphetamine or other substance abuse. The bill was referred on to the Senate Committee on Finance for review. The bill reauthorizes a portion of Promoting Safe and Stable Families that appropriated funds for the development of Regional Partnership Grants. The Regional Partnership grant's mission is to improved safety, permanency and well-being for children who are in out-of-home placement or at risk of such placement. [More]

Questions Raised About NCLB Proposed Waivers and Education Reform

In a June 20, 2011 online article Education Week reported that many states are cautiously waiting for more details about U.S. Department of Education (ED) Secretary Arne Duncan's proposal to waive key portions of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) if Congress fails to rewrite the Act by the beginning of the upcoming school year. States are wondering what they will have to give up in order gain relief from NCLB's more onerous requirements such as the adequate yearly progress accountability system and 100% student proficiency in math and reading by 2014. [More]

While NCLB Rewrite Lags in Congress, ED Proposes to Waive of Key Provisions

In March, 2011, President Barack Obama gave Congress an August 2011 deadline to rewrite the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). Congress has made very little progress since then; and states and education leaders have placed increasing pressure on the Obama Administration to take action to relieve some of the constraints and penalties that NCLB imposes on states and school districts. [More]

Ways and Means Committee Hears Testimony on Reauthorization of Title IV-B, subparts 1 and 2

The Ways and Means Committee heard from members of Congress, state child welfare directors, and experts in child welfare on Thursday, June 16, on Improving Programs Designed to Protect At Risk Youth. The authorization of a comprehensive child welfare funding sources, the Child Welfare Services (Title IV-B, subpart 1) and Promoting Safe and Stable Families (Title IV-B, subpart 2) expires on September 30, 2011. The last re-authorization in 2006 included additional reporting requirements, one of which involved Caseworker Visits on a month basis. [More]

ACF Request comments on State Court Improvement Program Application Process

Applying for the Court Improvement Program is a very cumbersome, multi-pronged process. There are actually three grants under this fund source, governed by two separate program instructions and requiring separate applications and program assessment reports for each grant. The state courts that apply for these grants have reported extreme duplicity of effort in compiling the documentation required during the process. ACF proposes to streamline the application and reporting mechanisms by consolidating the program instructions into a single program guidance issuance. [More]

ACF Releases Multiple Funding Announcements

In the last few weeks, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) has issued funding announcements regarding several key issues in the child welfare system. The proposals’ release come late in the year due to the lengthy process for finalizing the Federal Fiscal Year 2011 Budget. The RFPs provide funding opportunities for mostly states and tribes to pursue additional revenue in the development of initiatives that will support the children in the foster care system. Among those funding announcements [More]

AZ, TX, NJ Proposals Seek to Lower Medicaid Budget with Impact on Eligibility

Many states continue to devise proposals to lower Medicaid expenditures with a potential of curtailing eligibility for many applicants and recipients. In Arizona, Governor Jan Brewer has proposed an enrollment freeze which would cut about $500 million from the state’s Medicaid program in fiscal 2012; but it is estimated that 100,000 people would lose coverage if enrollment is capped. Her plan also caps enrollment for parents earning above 75 percent of the federal poverty level, effective October 1, which affects about 60,000 parents and would save an estimated $17 million the first year. DHHS Secretary Sebelius has said the governor “can eliminate coverage for these groups without losing federal matching funds because it goes beyond Medicaid requirements”. [More]

CMS Proposes CMHC Certification Requirements

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released on June 16 a draft of proposed regulations that would, for the first time, establish Medicare “conditions of participation” for community mental health centers. CMS’ regulatory impact analysis notes that it has certified 224 CMHCs to provide partial hospitalization services under Medicare Part B using an attestation process, rather than a survey process. The proposed rule would establish a survey process for Medicare certification that would include determinations of compliance with conditions of participation covering areas such as governance, staffing, personnel qualifications, quality assurance, active treatment, and physical environment.This would be effective 12 months after publication of a final rule. CMS is not clear how this might apply to the Medicaid status of the CMHCs participating in Medicare and the far larger universe of CMHCs participating in Medicaid only (as essential providers of Medicaid clinic and rehabilitative services). CMS will publish the proposed rule in the Federal Register on June 17 with a 60 day comment period. State Medicaid and behavioral health agencies may wish to review the proposed rule and provide comments to CMS concerning its potential impact in their states. [More]

AoA Announces Competitive Grant Opportunities

The Administration on Aging (AoA) announced two competitive grant opportunities on June 9 under which up to $14 million will be available to state agencies serving older Americans with dementia and their family caregivers. Federal funding will be available to states through cooperative agreements under Title IV of the Older Americans Act and the Alzheimer’s Disease Supportive Services Program under section 398 of the Public Health Services Act. [More]