CAPTA Reauthorization Passes House Committee

On Wednesday, the House Education and Labor Committee unanimously passed the reauthorization of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA). It will now await action on the floor of the House of Representatives and the Senate is also expected to take action soon. The House proposal, introduced by Reps. Kim Schrier (D-Wash.) and Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.) included some major priorities touted by the Alliance and other advocates.

  • Authorization Levels: The bill would increase each title of the bill to an authorization level of $270 million, for a possible total of $540 million in funding.
  • Emphasis on Family Strengthening: A focus on primary prevention and extending the identification and treatment of abuse and neglect in Title I, which are essential to creating systems of support that both prevent child abuse and neglect while keeping families together when possible.
  • Improvements to Child Protection Systems to Reduce Child Fatalities from Abuse and Neglect: The legislation develops uniform standards for tracking and reporting of child fatalities resulting from maltreatment, which are essential to making sure federal, state, and local governments have the information they need. The bill’s reforms to clarify and strengthen disclosure about fatalities and near fatalities in Section 106 are also very important to these efforts. Both of these reforms were proposed by the Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities. Commissioners included Alliance President CEO Susan Dreyfus and Within Our Reach Director Teresa Covington.
  • Thoughtful Attention to Children and Families Impacted by Substance Use Disorders: The bill incorporates new language reflecting the intersection between child abuse and neglect and substance use disorders and how critical collaboration across multiple public and community partners is to effectively connect families to needed treatment services.

Update on Family First Title IV-E Clearinghouse

The Administration for Children and Families just published the Handbook of Standards and Procedures for the Title IV-E prevention services clearinghouse. The clearinghouse rates programs and services as well-supported, supported, or promising practices, and these practices include mental health services, substance abuse prevention and treatment services, in-home parent skill-based programs, and kinship navigator programs. The clearinghouse will serve as a source of information on evidence-based programs and services under Title IV-E, as amended by the Family First Prevention Services Act. The clearinghouse website should launch later this spring and allow users to identify programs and services that do or do not meet criteria. The website will also provide regular updates and webinars on how to use the handbook. Learn more about the handbook in the webinar May 14 from 12:30-2 p.m. CT.

Medicare for All

Two identical bills in the House and Senate would expand Medicare to provide health care to everyone. House Democrats had their first hearing last week on Medicare for All legislation that would replace private health insurance companies with a public system run by the federal government. Health care has become increasingly unaffordable and progressives believe the best solution is a single-payer system. Many 2020 presidential candidates have also weighed in, with most Democratic candidates advocating for Medicare for All proposals. House Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is gathering support among House Democrats on the idea of Medicare for All legislation. The Congressional Budget Office published a report on the primary features of a single-payer system and potential issues that policymakers will face in developing a proposal. The report said that establishing a single-payer system would be a major undertaking that would involve substantial changes in U.S health care.
Source: Bloomberg Government

Immigration Update

The Department of Homeland Security is expected to request supplemental funding to deal with the surge of migrants at the southern border. Last month, the migrant flow was the highest it has been in decades. Apprehensions and denials of migrants at the southern border hit 109,144 in April, the highest number in a single month since 2007. A majority of those apprehended were crossing as family units, a trend that continues to rise. In addition to the appropriation request, President Trump asked Congress for an additional $4.5 billion in emergency funding for the southern border. The funds being requested would be used to deal with the immediate humanitarian crisis, not a border wall. President Trump held a meeting this week with a group of Republican Senators to discuss an immigration package. The policy discussion focused around modernizing border security and implementing a merit-based visa system. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced this week a new program that will allow local law enforcement officers to start arresting and detaining immigrants on behalf of the agency.

Suicide Prevention for Veterans

The House Committee on Veterans' Affairs (VA) held a hearing last week on suicide prevention and mental health treatment for veterans. The day before the hearing, a veteran died of suicide in an Ohio VA medical clinic. Since 2005, VA funding has increased more than 250 percent, but the rate of veteran suicide, about 20 deaths per day, has remained constant. The committee heard bills on medical cannabis research and support for suicide prevention.

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