Child Welfare Finance Reform Introduced in Congress

In the fall of 2013, Annie E. Casey Foundation and Casey Family Programs gathered community stakeholders and experts in the field of finance reform and child protection. Following that introduction of the finance reform discussion with leaders in the field, staff from Casey made a presentation to Congress on October 13, 2013. The finance reform proposal addressed multiple issues related to the discrepancy between child welfare practice and how states are funded or reimbursed under Title IV-E.

ED Secretary Announces Increased Accountability for Special Education Programs

On June 24, 2014, U.S. Department of Education (ED) Secretary Arne Duncan announced a “major shift” in how ED measures the effectiveness of special education programs in states and U.S. territories. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires ED to make an annual determination of each state’s and territory’s IDEA compliance in four categories: meets requirements, needs assistance, needs intervention, or needs substantial intervention. [More]

Exercise to Employment: Health & Wellness in TANF WTW

PCG Human Services’ Tony Ong and Deborah Joffe co-wrote an article published in the June 2014 edition of Policy & Practice magazine about PCG’s Live Well San Diego pilot program to integrate health, wellness, and exercise into the welfare-to-work (WTW) job search curriculum as a way to help engage long-term unemployed WTW participants towards employment. [More]

CMS Announces Availability of Funding to Support Navigators in Federally-Facilitated and State Partnership Marketplaces

On June 10, 2014, CMS announced the opportunity to apply for Navigator grants in federally-facilitated and State Partnership Marketplaces. A total of $60 million will be available in 2014-2015.
Navigators are intended to provide unbiased information to consumers about health insurance coverage, the Health Insurance Marketplace, qualified health plans, and public programs including Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). [More]

Report Shows ACA Impact on Affordability, Competition, and Choice

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) released a report on June 18, 2014 showing the impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) on health insurance premium affordability, competition, and consumer choice for individuals who obtained coverage through federally-facilitated and State Partnership Exchanges/Marketplaces in 36 states during the 2013-2014 open enrollment period. On affordability, the report shows that individuals who selected qualified health plans (QHPs) through the Exchanges and received advance premium tax credits (APTCs) owed a net premium liability 76 percent less than the full premium. They owed on average $82 per month to the QHP, after subtracting $264 in APTCs from the $346 per month average full premium, and 46 percent of individuals owed $50 or less after the APTCs. [More]

NCTQ Releases 2014 Rankings of Teacher Prep Programs

On June 17, 2014, one week after a California (CA) court ruled that CA teacher retention laws allow grossly ineffective teachers to remain in classrooms in violation of the CA Constitution, the National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) released its 2014 Teacher Prep Review reflecting major flaws in teacher preparation programs across the country. U.S. News and World Report stated on its website that, based on the NCTQ report, “The majority of education programs fail to equip their teachers with the training necessary to succeed in the classroom.” [More]

DHHS Announces Additional Funds to Expand Community Health Center Services

On June 3, 2014, the US Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) announced an additional $300 million from the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for existing Health Center Program grantees under Section 330 of the Public Health Service Act. The funds are earmarked to help community health centers expand service hours, hire more medical providers, and add oral health, behavioral health, pharmacy, and vision services. [More]

Reports Show Emerging ACA Impact on Medicaid Enrollments, Hospital Charges, and Payer Mix

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released on June 4, 2014 a report showing that the 26 jurisdictions (25 states and the District of Columbia) which implemented Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by April 2014 saw on average a 15.3 percent increase in Medicaid/CHIP enrollments for April 2014, as compared to their average monthly enrollments in a July – September 2013 baseline period. States which had not implemented Medicaid expansion by April 2014 saw on average a 3.3 percent increase as compared to their 2013 baselines. Total reported Medicaid/CHIP enrollments nation-wide as of April 2014 reached 65,016,775, an increase of 6,050,059 (10.3 percent) as compared to 2013 baselines. [More]

CA Judge Rules Teacher Retention Laws Violate Students’ Rights

In a June 10, 2014 tentative decision, a California (CA) Superior Court Judge ruled in favor of nine public school students who challenged five teacher retention statutes (Challenged Statutes) alleging that the statutes violate their right to equal protection under the CA constitution and their “fundamental rights to equality of education.” The students claimed that the Challenged Statutes result in grossly ineffective teachers obtaining and retaining permanent employment (tenure) and that those teachers are disproportionately situated in schools serving predominantly poor and/or minority students. [More]