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.
Be a voice for CASA/GAL programs across the country, and for the abused and neglected children they serve, by reaching out to your Senators and Representative.
- Send a message to your Senators and Representative using our legislative advocacy tool
- Use our Congressional leave behind materials in meetings with your Senators and Representative
- Spread the word on Twitter or Facebook about the need for full funding of the CASA Program
Contact National CASA Advocacy Staff with questions about critical legislation issues. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 800.628.3233, ext. 304
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.
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.
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
Senate (03/04/2015) by Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR)
Enables states to provide enhanced support to children and families and prevent foster care placements through the provision of time-limited family services and expanded kinship supports. Enhances federal funding available under parts B and E of title IV of the Social Security Act for prevention and family services to help keep children safe and supported at home with their parents or other family members, gives states and tribes the flexibility to adapt evidence-based family services to the specific needs of each family, and ensures that states and tribes are held accountable for allocating services in ways that maximize safety, permanency, and well-being for children, while minimizing the prevalence of lengthy foster care placements. Key components include:
- Allows title IV-E reimbursement for time-limited (up to 12 months) family services (such as family skills training, family counseling, and concrete goods and services to stabilize a family in crisis) when those services are needed to prevent entry into foster care or allow children to safely exit foster care to family placement.
- Defines eligible population as children identified as candidates for foster care (at imminent risk of entry into foster care) or who are in foster care, as well as to these children’s family members. Provides reimbursement for these services without regard to the income of the child’s biological parents.
- After a 3-year implementation phase, establishes national performance measures and outcomes-based reimbursement rates to target federal dollars to cost-effective services.
- Increases funding (by $470 million per year) for community-based prevention and intervention services through the Promoting Safe and Stable Families (PSSF) Program in title IV-B.
- Requires research and technical assistance to ensure appropriate service delivery and prioritization of evidence-based prevention and post-permanency interventions.
S.1932 — All Kids Matter Act
Senate (08/04/2015) by Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Michael Crapo (R-ID)
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.
S.1852, H.R.3641 — Health Insurance for Former Foster Youth Act
Introduced in the
House (09/29/2015) by Representative Karen Bass (D-CA-37)
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.
S.1639 — Educational Stability for Foster Youth Act
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 a child in foster care to
remain in and be transported to his or her school of origin if in the child’s best
interest, or immediately be enrolled in new school and transfer academic records.
S.1439, H.R.3160 —
Foster Youth Independence Act of 2015
Senate (05/21/2015) by Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA)
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:
S.1254 — Families for Foster Youth Stamp
Act of 2015
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.
S.429, H.R.835 —
Family-Based Foster Care Services Act
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
foster care children under 21 with
structured daily activities, including the development of age-appropriate
social, communication and behavioral skills, trauma-informed and
gender-responsive services, crisis intervention and crisis support services,
medication monitoring, counseling, and case management; and
parents, kinship caregivers, and foster care parents
with specialized training and consultation in the management of children with
mental illness, trauma, other emotional or behavioral disorders, medically
fragile conditions, or developmental disabilities, the impact of trauma on
child and caregiver, and specific additional training on the needs of each
child provided such services.
Current Regulatory Action
Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Proposed Rulemaking on Overtime Compensation
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
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.