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Public Policy Update - October 2014

In addition to supporting a network of 951 CASA/GAL programs throughout the country, the National CASA Association advocates for abused and neglected children on the national level by working with elected officials and government agencies, and by partnering with other child welfare organizations. 

Included below are highlights of issues that are of interest to the CASA/GAL network.  Contact Ashley Lantz, director of public policy, for more information.

FY 2015 Appropriations

When Congress returns from recess on November 12, one of the top priorities will be completing appropriations for Fiscal Year (FY) 2015.  The current short-term Continuing Resolution expires on December 11. Congress is likely to consider an Omnibus or yearlong stopgap funding measure. The House and Senate CJS Appropriations bills currently fund the Department of Justice’s Court-Appointed Special Advocate program at $6 million, half of the authorized level.

Medicare Expansion for Foster Youth

Our partner First Focus recently released a new policy brief on Medicaid access for youth formerly in foster care. This brief provides an overview of the mandatory Medicaid coverage for former foster youth under the Affordable Care Act and explains issues regarding the “state option” around portability of coverage for former foster youth that aged out of care in another state. Currently, only 10 states have opted to provide coverage for this special population of former foster youth. 

Sen. Grassley Recognized for Child Welfare Leadership 

Senator Grassley earned recognition from the Iowa Child Advocacy Board for his “outstanding leadership" on children’s issues during a ceremony at the Black Hawk County Courthouse on October 6. Iowa CASA is a program of the Iowa Child Advocacy Board. National CASA CEO Michael Piraino was in attendance to acknowledge Senator Grassely's efforts on behalf of National CASA. Read more about this event.

Trafficking, Adoption Incentives Legislation

Prior to adjourning in September, Congress enacted H.R. 4980, the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act. This legislation reauthorizes the Adoption Incentives Program for three years through FY 2016, extends Family Connections Grants for one year at $15 million, and provides screening and other initiatives to prevent children from becoming victims of sex trafficking. Further, the measure would eliminate another planned permanent living arrangement (APPLA) as a permanency goal for youth under age 16 and require, under a provision championed by Congressman Lloyd Doggett, that youth aging out of care leave with certain documents including a state-issued ID, birth certificate and social security card.

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The US Department of Justice has supported CASA advocacy since 1985 through its Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
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