National CASA's 2014 Annual Report celebrates the growth of the CASA network.
Read the report
Advocacy and Public Policy Update
In collaboration with CASA/GAL state organizations and local programs, the National CASA Association raises awareness of, and attention to, the CASA/GAL mission with Members of Congress and government officials at the federal level, and also partners with organizations in support of policies that improve outcomes for abused and neglected children. National CASA Association also partners with CASA/GAL programs on government relations at the state and local level.
The Victims of Child Abuse Act of 1990 (VOCAA) established the CASA Program, funded through the Department of Justice, which was reauthorized in the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) of 2013 at $12 million. National CASA Association seeks full funding of the CASA Program in Fiscal Year (FY) 2016.
The House-passed version of the FY 2016 Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill (H.R. 2578) includes $6 million in CASA funding, while the Senate bill, which was favorably reported out of the Appropriations Committee in June, provides $12 million in CASA funding from the Crime Victims Fund (CVF) account, in dollars that are apart from assistance grants administered by state agencies.
The appropriations process stalled in the summer of 2015 over a partisan impasse on spending limits. Congress passed a short-term Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the federal government for FY 2016 until December 11. In late October, Congressional leaders and the White House reached an agreement to raise the spending caps, but that Bipartisan Budget Act also raided the Crime Victims Fund with a permanent $1.5 billion cut. Appropriators in Congress were left to determine how to manage the cut, and it remains uncertain how the outcome will affect CASA program funding though the Department of Justice, as well as dollars available for state-administered Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grants.
Current Federal Legislation
New federal legislation on foster care reforms has
been introduced in late 2015, particularly on the Senate side. Several bills
were announced at an August 4 hearing of the Senate Finance Committee on
“Preserving Families and Reducing the Need for Foster Care,” including bills on
kinship care, foster care prevention initiatives through IV-E and new funding,
reducing congregate care, and mandates on mental health evaluations; sponsors
are from both sides of aisle. National CASA is working with state directors to
reach out and provide feedback to bill sponsors.
S 2166 - Timely Mental Health for Foster Youth Act
Introduced in Senate (10/08/2015) by Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
Mandates that state plans for child welfare services shall require an initial mental health screening of any child in foster care be completed not later than 30 days after the date the child enters into foster care and, in the case of any child in foster care for whom a mental health issue is identified in such initial screening, that a comprehensive assessment of the mental health of the child be completed not later than 60 days after the date the child enters into foster care.
S. 1964 – Family Stability and Kinship Care
Act of 2015
Introduced in Senate (08/04/2015) by Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Michael Crapo (R-ID)
Gives states more flexibility to use Title IV-E federal child welfare funds for prevention, intervention, and support services before, during and after placement in foster care. Increases accountability to ensure appropriate measures are taken to reduce the number of kids in congregate care. Requires states to issue regular, publicly available reports on their child welfare system performance.
Introduced in the House (09/29/2015) by Representative Karen Bass (D-CA-37)
Introduced in Senate (07/23/2015) by Senator Robert Casey, Jr. (D-PA)
Amends title XIX of the Social Security Act to ensure health insurance coverage continuity under Medicaid for former foster youth, by allowing coverage in states other than where youth was in foster care.
Introduced in the Senate (06/18/2015) by Senator Al Franken (D-MN)
Amends the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 to ensure there is collaboration among schools to allow child in foster care to remain in and be transported to school of origin if in the child’s best interest, or immediately be enrolled in new school and transfer academic records.
Introduced in Senate (05/21/2015) by Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA)
Introduced in House (07/16/2015) by Representative Karen Bass (D-CA)
Amends part E (Foster Care and Adoption Assistance) of title IV of the Social Security Act to allow the chief executive officer of a state to certify that the state will provide assistance and services under the John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program to youths who have aged out of foster care and have not attained age 23 if:
Introduced in Senate (05/07/2015) by Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA)
Requires the United States Postal Service, for a period of at least four years, to provide for the issuance and sale of a “semipostal” (postage stamp issued to raise money and sold at a premium over the postal value) in order to increase funding for effective programs targeted at improving permanency outcomes for youth in foster care. Requires any amounts becoming available from the sale of the semipostal to be transferred to the Secretary of Health and Human Services for programs and activities under the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment and Adoption Reform Act (CAPTA) of 1978 that specifically target improvement in permanency outcomes for youth in foster care through adoption, guardianship, or kinship care.
Introduced in Senate (02/10/2015) by Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Rob Portman (R-OH), also Senators Stabenow, Casey, Brown
Introduced in the House 02/13/2015 by Representatives Rosa DeLauro (C-CT) and Tom Cole (R-OK))
Amends title XIX (Medicaid) of the Social Security Act to extend medical assistance coverage to therapeutic foster care services, and defines the term.
Requires a qualified therapeutic foster care program to be state-licensed and provide:
Current Regulatory Action
On June 30, 2015, the Department of Labor issued a proposed rulemaking to amend regulations governing overtime compensation under the Fair Labor Standards Act. There has been confusion about whether these changes will affect CASA/GAL programs. While the proposed revision would raise the salary threshold for employees to qualify for overtime compensation (from $23,660 to $50,440), the two standards which result in our programs being exempt would remain intact: CASA/GAL programs do not have business (non-charitable) revenue of at least $500K (Enterprise Coverage), nor are regularly involved in commerce between states (Individual Coverage). State law may differ, and will still apply.
Independent Sector, an association for nonprofit organizations of which National CASA is a member, prepared a summary of the Department of Labor Proposed Rule to Revise Overtime Regulations, and also submitted comments on behalf of its member organizations.