CLM tracks federal legislation and budget items that affect the well-being of children and families and the providers that serve them.
This bill bans discrimination in the placement of children and youth and discrimination in the recruitment of parents who want to adopt or provide foster care, with a particular emphasis on ending discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Bill Number: H.R. 2028
This bill establishes a program to recognize eligible institutions that offer outstanding support services and other programs tailored to the needs of foster care youth and homeless youth. It also creates the Center for Fostering Postsecondary Success for Foster and Homeless Youth to provide training and technical assistance.
“Family First” was signed into law as part of the Bipartisan Budget Act on February 9, 2018, as Public Law 115-123. Family First amended Title IV-E and Title IV-B of the Social Security Act to child welfare programs and policy.
Some of the highlights of Family First are:
Family First created a federal category of residential settings called qualified residential treatment programs (QRTPs). These programs were designed to provide care for children in foster care with assessed emotional or behavioral needs in a residential setting. The health care needs of children in foster care are covered by Medicaid. Today, however, QRTPs may not receive Medicaid financing because of the Institutions for Mental Disease (IMD) exclusion, a law that prohibits Medicaid payments to a hospital, nursing facility, or other institution with more than 16 beds that primarily provides care for people with mental health conditions. CLM is supporting the The Ensuring Medicaid Continuity for Children in Foster Care Act of 2021 (S. 2689) which would provide a narrow exemption from the IMD exclusion to ensure children in foster care receiving care in QRTPs can continue to receive care provided in these settings without losing their federal Medicaid coverage.
Massachusetts mostly uses Family First to fund programming through Family Support and Stabilization, where applicable
One of our best strategies for preventing child abuse, decreasing foster care placements, and limiting other forms of child welfare is to reduce child poverty. The Center on Poverty and Social Policy at Columbia University estimates that the Child Tax Credit expansion could cut child poverty overall by almost 45 percent and reduce racial disparities in child poverty. The Center also calculates that converting the current Child Tax Credit to a child allowance—by making it fully refundable, increasing its value to $3,600 per child ages 0-5, $3,000 per child ages 6-17, and distributing it monthly—would cost about $100 billion but would generate about $800 billion in benefits to society.
In March 2021, Congress passed and President Biden signed into law a one-year expansion of the Child Tax Credit as a COVID-19 pandemic relief measure for the lowest income families. Visit ChildTaxCredit.gov for information on the temporary expansion of CTC and the Biden Administration efforts to make this permanent.
Direct families to GetCTC.org for information on current child tax credit eligibility and how to claim the credit (available in English and Spanish.)
Massachusetts House Representative Richard Neal (MA-01) is a champion of the permanent Child Tax Credit.
Families need an early learning and care system that provides high-quality, affordable child care and access to quality preschool programs. Child care should be affordable, programs should be high-quality, workers should be adequately compensated, and the system should be designed to support working families. Without consistent access to child care, children lose out on valuable opportunities to learn and grow, while countless parents—and in particular, mothers—are forced to leave their jobs.
There are multiple federal initiatives to improve access to affordable, high quality child care. Some that we are following are led or supported by members of the Massachusetts delegation.
The Chafee program provides funds to states to assist them in offering supportive services for youth who experience foster care at age 14 or older, including former foster youth up to a certain age. The program seeks to address poor education, employment, and other outcomes experienced by many such foster youth as they transition to adulthood. This includes the Educational and Training Vouchers Program (ETV) for Youths Aging out of Foster Care.
The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) provides funding to states for state child protective services, including investigation, protection and any treatment services. It requires states to meet certain provisions such as mandated reporting. Title II of CAPTA is referred to as the Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention program, or CB-CAP. It supports community-based efforts to develop, operate, expand, and coordinate programs and activities to prevent child abuse and neglect.
On June 11, 2021, the Senate HELP Committee approved the bipartisan Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment (CAPTA) Reauthorization Act of 2021. This proposal would make important changes to CAPTA, including significantly increasing the share of funding for the Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (CBCAP) program, putting greater emphasis on prevention; and adding measures meant to confront racism in the child welfare system.
The Family First Prevention Services Act of 2018 (FFPSA) created a federal category of residential settings called qualified residential treatment programs (QRTPs) that provide care for children in foster care with assessed emotional or behavioral needs in a residential setting. The health care needs of children in foster care are covered by Medicaid. Today, however, QRTPs may not receive Medicaid financing because of the Institutions for Mental Disease (IMD) exclusion, a law that prohibits Medicaid payments to an institution with more than 16 beds that primarily provides care for people with mental health conditions.
The Ensuring Medicaid Continuity for Children in Foster Care Act of 2021 (S.2689) would provide a narrow exemption from the IMD exclusion to ensure children in foster care receiving care in QRTPs can continue to receive care provided in these settings without losing their federal Medicaid coverage. Over 600 local, state, and national organizations have joined in the advocacy effort so far (including many CLM members).