1:27 PM EDT

Geoff Davis, R-KY 4th

Mr. DAVIS of Kentucky. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members have 5 legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks and to include extraneous material on the subject of the bill under consideration.

1:27 PM EDT

Geoff Davis, R-KY 4th

Mr. DAVIS of Kentucky. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I rise today in support of H.R. 2883, the Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act, a bill that continues a tradition of bipartisanship in crafting child welfare legislation.

The bill we're considering today reauthorizes two important child welfare programs, incorporating a series of improvements developed during hearings held by the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Resources over the past few months.

In addition to continuing and making improvements to two major child welfare programs, this bill also renews authority for the Secretary of Health and Human Services to approve child welfare waivers during the next 3 years. Past waivers have allowed States to test new and better ways of helping children at risk of abuse and neglect.

Earlier this year, the House unanimously passed legislation renewing this authority, but the Senate has not followed suit.

This bill, which our colleagues in the Senate also support and which was favorably reported by the Senate Finance Committee yesterday, will allow innovation to continue and may yield information to improve child welfare programs in the future. The bill will also establish a process to create needed data standards in child welfare programs. This language is a first step towards improving collaboration between social service programs.

We have often heard in hearings that States and programs within States have difficulty coordinating services because of difficulty sharing data, and that this lack of coordination increases costs and decreases effectiveness. This bill directs the Secretary of HHS to work with the States to establish national data standards so that all State child welfare programs are speaking the same language.

To show the wide support for this bill, Mr. Speaker, I would like to insert letters of support into the Record from the following organizations: The National Conference of State Legislatures; the American Public Human Services Association; the Conference of Chief Justices and the Conference of State Court Administrators; the American Institute of CPAs; the American Humane Association; the North American Council on Adoptable Children; Voice for Adoption; the Association on American Indian

Affairs; the National Indian Child Welfare Association; Youth Villages; First Focus Campaign for Children; Zero to Three (The National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Families); the National Foster Care Coalition; the Child Welfare League of America; the Children's Defense Fund; the Center for the Study of Social Policy; and the Public Children Services Association of Ohio.

NATIONAL FOSTER CARE COALITION,

Washington, DC, September 13, 2011.

Hon. Max Baucus,

Chairman, Senate Finance Committee, U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.

Hon. Geoff Davis,

Chairman, Subcommittee on Human Resources, House of Representatives, Washington, DC.

Hon. Orrin Hatch,

Ranking Member, Senate Finance Committee, U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.

Hon. Lloyd Doggett,

Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Human Resources, House of Representatives, Washington, DC.

Dear Chairman Baucus, Ranking Member Hatch, Chairman Davis and Ranking Member Doggett: The National Foster Care Coalition extends its support to the reforms made through the Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act of 2011.

In these challenging times we still believe important reforms can be made with the child welfare system. Waiver provisions provide an opportunity for states to strengthen their child welfare systems in some very important ways.

We appreciate and support the inclusion of important provisions we highlighted including: Greater attention placed on the care and the development of infants and toddlers who come into contact with the child welfare system. Continuation of the substance abuse grants and that these grants will have a broader substance abuse focus. Funding for child welfare workforce development and the accompanying requirements on monthly visits to children in foster care. Additional clarification on the state

tracking and reporting of the adoption maintenance-of-effort provisions as enacted by PL 110-351 will provide a greater assurance that more funds are re-invested into state child welfare systems. Clarification of the education protection for children in foster care. Provisions that will help address issue young people in foster care face with identity theft. Attention to youth rights, participation in transition planning, and connections with birth family members.

We also support the increased attention to tracking the use of psychotropic medications, the increased focus on addressing trauma, the new study on the recruitment of foster, adoptive and kin parents and we want to extend our assistance in addressing the challenges of making improvements to data collection and data matching.

We appreciate your efforts to move the Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act of 2011 forward in a bipartisan/bicameral way by the end of September. The National Foster Care Coalition will promote this legislation among its membership and is pleased to provide any assistance in moving the legislation forward.

Sincerely,

THE NATIONAL FOSTER CARE COALITION.

--

PCSAO,

Columbus, OH, September 14, 2011.

Hon. Max Baucus,

Chairman, Senate Finance Committee, U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.

Hon. Geoff Davis,

Chairman, Subcommitte on Human Resources, House of Representatives, Washington, DC.

Hon. Orrin Hatch,

Ranking Member, Senate Finance Committee, U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.

Hon. Lloyd Doggett,

Ranking Member, Subcommitte on Human Resources, House of Representatives, Washington, DC.

Dear Chairman Baucus, Ranking Member Hatch, Chairman Davis and Ranking Member Doggett: Public Children Services Association of Ohio supports The Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act of 2011.

As a state that has shown improved outcomes related to our budget neutral Title IV-E Protect Ohio Waiver (Ohio leads the nation with a 43% Safe Reduction in the number of children in foster care between 2002-2010; AFCARS data), we strongly support Congress' recognition that children and families in other States can also benefit from Title IV-E Waivers allowing flexible funding. We encourage you to consider broader child welfare funding reform in the near future.

Ohio's child welfare system is also extremely supportive of reauthorization of the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Child Welfare Services and Promoting Safe and Stable Families programs under the present funding. Ensuring funds to strengthen families--keeping them intact, reunifying or finding and supporting alternate permanent families--is essential for our children's well being. We know that children grow best in stable, permanent families.

The Court Improvement Program in Ohio has aided in reforming our system. Courts play a critical role in decision making and oversight related to child safety and permanency, and the CIP in Ohio has focused on timeliness, improving procedures, focused well being oversight and adapting court philosophy and procedure as more children are raised by kinship families.

Ohio is struggling with too many children coming into foster care due to pervasive addictions to prescription pain killers, heroin, and other substances--we support the substance abuse grants part of this bill, and appreciate the broader application for various substances, to allow time-limited treatment services so children can safely reunify with recovered parents.

Ohio is ready to embrace other bill provisions such as addressing issues for foster children and youth including prevention of identity theft and improving transitional youth planning, improving educational outcomes, strengthening sibling connections, and addressing the developmental needs of infants and toddlers in foster care. Our Child Fatality Review system already strives to review all available data and apply lessons and recommend improved policy to prevent future child deaths, and Ohio

is dedicated to re-investing saved funds as more children become eligible for Title IV-E Adoption Assistance funds.

We appreciate your efforts to move The Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act of 2011 forward in a bipartisan/bicameral way by the end of September, 2011. As elected and representative Trustees of Public Children Services Association of Ohio, we urge Congress to promptly pass this important legislation.

Please contact PCSAO's Executive Director, Crystal Ward Allen, at 614-224-5802 or crystal@pcsao.org with any questions, concerns or requests.

Sincerely,

Crystal Ward Allen, [Page: H6297]

Executive Director, PCSAO on behalf of Public Children Services Association of Ohio, 2011 Board of Trustees:

Chip Spinning, President/Director, Madison Co. Dept. of Job & Family Services;

Denise Stewart, Vice President/Director, Mahoning County Children Services;

Randall Muth, JD, Secretary/Director, Wayne County Children Services;

Moira Weir, Treasurer/Director, Hamilton Co. Dept. of Job & Family Services;

Scott Ferris/Director, Allen County Children Services;

Andrea Reik/Director, Athens County Children Services;

Dwayne Pielech/Director Belmont Co. Dept. of Job & Family Services;

Kate Offenberger/Director, Carroll Co. Dept. of Job & Family Services;

Catherine Hill/Director Hocking County Children Services;

Teresa Alt/Director, Huron Co. Dept. of Job & Family Services;

June Cannon/Director, Miami County Children Services;

Gary Crow/Director, Lorain County Children Services;

Corey Walker/Director Paulding Co. Dept. of Job & Family Services;

Lisa Wiltshire/Director, Scioto County Children Services;

John Saros, JD/Director, Summit County Children Services.

--

FIRST FOCUS

CAMPAIGN FOR CHILDREN,

Washington, DC, September 15, 2011.

Hon. Max Baucus,

Chairman, Senate Finance Committee, U.S.Senate, Washington, DC.

Hon. Geoff Davis,

Chairman, Subcommittee on Human Resources, House of Representatives, Washington, DC.

Hon. Orrin Hatch,

Ranking Member, Senate Finance Committee, U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.

Hon. Lloyd Doggett,

Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Human Resources, House of Representatives, Washington, DC.

DEAR CHAIRMAN BAUCUS, RANKING MEMBER HATCH, CHAIRMAN DAVIS AND RANKING MEMBER DOGGETT: I am writing on behalf of First Focus, a bipartisan advocacy organization committed to making children and their families a priority in federal policy and budget decisions, to thank you for your leadership and commitment to moving forward The Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act of 2011 in a bicameral and bipartisan manner by the end of September 2011. We are pleased that the bill

reauthorizes the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Child Welfare Services Program and the Promoting Safe and Stable Families (PSSF) Program, and restores waiver authority to the Secretary of Health and Human Services. We hope that Congress will follow your lead and swiftly pass this critical legislation.

First Focus is dedicated to the long-term goal of substantially reducing the number of children entering foster care, while working to ensure that our existing system of care protects children and adequately meets the needs of families in the child welfare system. We are especially concerned with increasing our federal investments in prevention efforts and providing supports and services for at-risk families to ensure they never enter the child welfare system in the first place.

As you know, initially created in 1993, PSSF was reauthorized in 1997 under the Adoption and Safe Families Act. The program was amended in 2001 and again in 2005 as part of the Deficit Reduction Act. The 2006 Child and Family Services Improvement Act extended funding for the program until 2011. It is currently authorized through September 30, 2011. The program supports a number of critical State (and eligible tribal) child welfare activities, including family preservation services, family support

services, time-limited family reunification services, and adoption promotion and support services.

PSSF is a relatively small funding stream compared to the open-ended entitlement for foster care under SSA Title IV-E, but is still critical to the work of State social service agencies given that it may be used to provide services to children and families in need and to help keep families together. In contrast to the bulk of federal child welfare funding, which is targeted solely at foster care, PSSF seeks to prevent child abuse and neglect, avoiding the removal of children in the first place

while supporting timely reunification. These funds are often combined with other State and local resources as well as private funds, and support a range of services, including parenting classes that promote competencies and positive relationship skills; home-visiting services for at-risk parents as well as other family-based services; respite care for caregivers of children with special needs; and a range of other innovative programs and

services for at-risk families. According to the FY 2009 National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS), states reported that they provided prevention services to more than three million children. PSSF allowed states to pay for services to 30 percent of those children. These are critical services and we believe that the reauthorization of PSSF will only strengthen the program and its core goals, ensuring its success for years to come.

We also applaud your efforts to ensure that child welfare waiver demonstration projects are reauthorized and remain a critical vehicle for promoting flexibility while fostering innovation in practice at the state level. We are especially pleased that the bill authorizes ten new demonstration projects annually for a duration of five years. While we would urge you to consider extending waiver authority beyond FY 2014, we are encouraged by your efforts to ensure that demonstrations projects continue

in the near term. Absent a broader reform of the child welfare financing structure, states are in need of greater flexibility in the use of available federal child welfare funds. In addition to title IV-B programs, child welfare waiver demonstration projects are a critical vehicle for providing a broad array of support services to children and families, and promote flexibility and foster innovation in practice at the state level.

Among other provisions, we are pleased that The Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act includes new requirements for states to address the emotional trauma experience by children in foster care, adopt protocols for prescribing and monitoring psychotropic medications, and describe their efforts to address the developmental needs of young children in care and reduce their length of stay in care. The bill also continues grants to address substance abuse in families with children

at-risk of entering into foster care, continues funding for the Court Improvement Program, and provides needed clarification with respect to a provision in the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act related to ensuring the educational stability of foster children for each foster care placement.

First Focus stands prepared to work with you to ensure swift passage of The Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act. We thank you for your leadership on this and other issues impacting children and families, and look forward to working with you to ensure better care for our nation's most vulnerable children.

Sincerely,

BRUCE LESLEY.

--

CWLA,

Washington, DC, September 15, 2011.

Hon. Geoff Davis,

Chairman, Subcommittee on Human Resources, Longworth, Washington, DC.

Hon. Lloyd Doggett,

Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Human Resources, Longworth, Washington, DC.

DEAR CHAIRMAN DAVIS AND RANKING MEMBER DOGGETT: On behalf of the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) and our public and private member agencies that work directly with abused, neglected, and vulnerable children, youth, and their families, this letter is in support of the Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act (HR 2883) to reauthorize Title IV-B of the Social Security Act and restore the authority of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to authorize

demonstration projects via a waiver of Title IV-E. CWLA members are located in all fifty states and provide a range of child welfare services from prevention to placement and permanency services including child protection, family support and preservation, adoptions, foster care, kinship care, and treatment

services provided in residential settings. As a non-profit leadership and membership-based child welfare organization, CWLA is committed to engaging people everywhere in ensuring that all children and youth have the support that they need to grow into healthy contributing members of society.

Part I, Child Welfare Services (CWS) provides critical flexible funding for a broad range of services designed to support, preserve, and/or reunite children and their families. While we know that prevention services are underfunded, in light of current austerity we acknowledge that the maintenance of this program's $325 million authorization is positive. However, with the expectation of further cuts to discretionary funding levels over the next decade, it is critical to reiterate within this

context that vulnerable children and families should be held harmless in all budget balancing strategies.

State Child Welfare Services Plans serve as a lynchpin for the continuum of strategies designed to prevent and ameliorate maltreatment. Through requirements encompassing case reviews, permanency planning, program development, agency administration, and systems collaboration activities, fundamental protections and core service provision is ensured for the vulnerable populations served with these funds. CWLA commends the subcommittee for strengthening these plans. H.R. 2883 requires the plans to

respond to identified emotional trauma needs associated with maltreatment and removal, strengthens oversight of prescription medication monitoring protocols, encourages activities to reduce time in foster care and address developmental needs especially for children younger than five, and mandates the reporting of child maltreatment deaths.

Part II, Promoting Safe and Stable Families (PSSF) is an important funding stream for the operation of specific service categories. Although the services overlap, the four specified categories in PSSF create important distinctions in types of families in need. The additional targeted activities bring attention and resources to pressing needs including caseworker visits, substance abuse, court improvement, and mentoring for children of prisoners. CWLA supports the way that HR 2883 maintains this

structure. Again, while we see a need for additional resources, we recognize the nation's strained financial condition. Therefore, we appreciate [Page: H6298]

the continuation of $200 million in discretionary funds and the room appropriators have to fully fund the program. In recognition of the difficulty of increasing

funding, we think it is important that HR 2883 amends the reporting requirements to Congress to include actual spending in addition to planned spending by service category. We believe that increased tracking of these funds will further reveal that they are supporting necessary and effective programs for vulnerable children and families.

Courts are an integral component of the child welfare system, providing pivotal decisions of maltreatment findings and approval of permanency changes. PSSF is one of the few places in child welfare law where funding is provided for the courts. We appreciate your receptiveness to our suggestions for the continuation of the $30 million annual set-aside for the Court Improvement Program and the dedication of $1 million specifically for tribal courts and are pleased to see them both included in HR

2883. In addition, we support the way the bill bolsters court improvement plans by clarifying that they should include requirements related to concurrent planning and increasing and improving the engagement of the entire family in court processes. CWLA also applauds the enhancement of the substance abuse

and mentoring grants under HR 2883. Because all children affected by parental substance abuse, regardless of the particular substance used, deserve assistance, CWLA strongly agrees with the removal of the provision giving greater weight to applicants addressing methamphetamine abuse specifically.

CWLA welcomes the bill's data standardization and improved data matching section. We understand that the administration has undertaken efforts in this direction and appreciate the recognition in both branches of government of the critical importance of sharing information across systems. CWLA is also very pleased to see the changes HR 2883 makes related to foster care and adoption, including the clarification of the educational stability requirement for children in care, the efforts to address

any credit issues for foster children at least 16 years of age, and the requirement for states to document savings from the de-link of adoption assistance payments. Furthermore, we support the related requirement to document spending on post-adoption services. This is a strong recognition of the importance of supporting lasting permanency.

Title II of the bill restores the ability of HHS to authorize demonstration projects through Title IV-E waivers designed to increase permanency, improve outcomes, and prevent abuse and neglect. CWLA believes that waivers can be helpful in testing and evaluating innovative approaches within the child welfare system that have promising potential. However, CWLA does not believe that the restoration of waiver authority constitutes a comprehensive solution to the problems facing the child welfare

system. More ambitious approaches to reforming the federal financing structure should be undertaken. Accordingly, CWLA supports the bill's three-year restoration of waiver authority while consensus on more comprehensive approaches is being developed. CWLA specifically supports the eligibility requirements included in HR 2883. The policy conditions have the power to encourage states to implement practices that will improve their child welfare systems and the lives of those within them.

CWLA appreciates your leadership in crafting this important legislation. HR 2883 makes positive improvements to IV-B and IV-E of the Social Security Act and we support its passage. If you have any follow up questions, feel free to contact Sean Hughes, Director of Congressional Affairs at 202-590-8772 or Suzanne Ayer, Policy Associate at 202-688-4178.

Sincerely,

Christine James-Brown,

President/CEO.

--

September 19, 2011.

Hon. Geoff Davis,

Chairman, Subcommittee on Human Resources, Committee on Ways and Means, House of Representatives, Washington, DC.

Hon. Lloyd Doggett,

Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Human Resources, Committee on Ways and Means, House of Representatives, Washington, DC.

DEAR CHAIRMAN DAVIS AND RANKING MEMBER DOGGETT: We write in support for the Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act (H.R. 2883) and specifically to express our appreciation for the provisions that would promote the positive development of very young children in the child welfare system. Our organizations have worked together to identify ways that all levels of government could better address the developmental needs of infants and toddlers who have been abused or neglected.

This work resulted in the publication last spring of A Call to Action on Behalf of Maltreated Infants and Toddlers, which advocates for child welfare policies and practices that view the care of young children through a developmental lens. We are so pleased that the legislation you have introduced would take important steps toward infusing child welfare policy with that developmental approach.

We particularly appreciate the provision requiring state child welfare plans to include a description of activities to address the developmental needs of young children. Early brain development occurs at life-altering speeds, making infants and toddlers particularly vulnerable to the effects of abuse and neglect. Maltreatment can literally alter the chemistry of the brain, weakening its architecture and placing young children at significant risk for later cognitive, social, and emotional deficits.

If child welfare practices are not oriented toward supporting this sensitive stage of development, as well as families' ability to nurture their children, they can compound the effects of maltreatment. Ensuring that child welfare practices are informed by what we know from the science of brain development can promote early intervention that will improve the outlook for these babies and avoid the costs to both child and society resulting from developmental impairments.

The significance of the legislation you have authored becomes clear when we consider that infants and toddlers represent a quarter of children who are abused and neglected and almost a third of children entering foster care. We believe it will encourage states to reexamine how they are addressing child welfare cases involving young children and consider steps to systematically promote positive development for vulnerable babies.

We appreciate your leadership in highlighting the needs of young children within federal child welfare law. We stand ready to help the Congress, the Administration, and the states in building a child welfare system that helps all young children realize their potential.

Sincerely,

American Humane Association,

Center for the Study of Social Policy,

Child Welfare League of America,

Children's Defense Fund,

Zero To Three.

--

ZERO TO THREE

Washington, DC, September 19, 2011.

Hon. Geoff Davis,

Chairman, Subcommittee on Human Resources, Committee on Ways and Means, House of Representatives, Washington, DC.

Hon. Lloyd Doggett,

Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Human Resources, Committee on Ways and Means, House of Representatives, Washington, DC.

DEAR CHAIRMAN DAVIS AND RANKING MEMBER DOGGETT: On behalf of Zero to Three, I write to offer our support for the Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act (H.R. 2883) approved by the Ways and Means Committee last week. Zero to Three is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the healthy development of infants and toddlers. We believe this legislation will help ensure the well-being of our most vulnerable children: infants and toddlers in the child welfare

system. We particularly appreciate the provision requiring state child welfare plans to include a description of activities to address the developmental needs of young children. This provision is a tremendous step forward for children whose development is threatened by maltreatment

and, at times, foster care practices that are not informed by the science of early brain development. Other provisions adding services to enhance child development and facilitate family visitation will also promote child well-being and healing parent-child relationships.

These steps are particularly important, because infants and toddlers are the most vulnerable to maltreatment and comprise 31% of children entering foster care. The first three years of life are a time of rapid brain development, when the foundation for all learning that follows is created. Relationships are the context within which early development unfolds, so it is not surprising that babies are particularly sensitive to the effects of maltreatment. Maltreatment can literally alter the chemistry

of the brain, weakening its architecture and placing young children at risk for later cognitive, social, and emotional deficits. Maltreated infants and toddlers are four to five times more likely than other young children to have developmental impairments. The removal of babies from their parents' care, coupled with foster

care practices that often are not guided by their developmental needs, can compound the effects of maltreatment. The good news is that intervening early with practices that support healthy development can improve the outlook for these babies and avoid the costs to society that accompany developmental impairments.

Last spring, Zero to Three joined with American Humane Association, Center for the Study of Social Policy, Child Welfare League of America, and Children's Defense Fund to issue A Call to Action on Behalf of Maltreated Infants and Toddlers. This publication advocates for child welfare policies and practices at all levels of government that view the care of young children through a developmental lens. This legislation is the first step in answering that call. We believe it will spur states to bring

the science of early brain development into their child welfare systems. We applaud your leadership in infusing this perspective into federal child welfare law and promoting positive development for vulnerable babies.

Thank you for all you do for young children who face great adversity in their lives.

Sincerely,

Matthew E. Melmed,

Executive Director.

[Time: 13:30]

I also want to thank the ranking member of the Human Resources Subcommittee, Mr. Doggett of Texas, for working with me on this legislation and for his efforts to improve how we serve children and families across the country.

Finally, I want to note that this legislation does not add to the deficit since it simply extends current funding levels of the programs that are extended.

I urge all of my colleagues to support this legislation, and I reserve the balance of my time.

1:30 PM EDT

Geoff Davis, R-KY 4th

Mr. DAVIS of Kentucky. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I rise today in support of H.R. 2883, the Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act, a bill that continues a tradition of bipartisanship in crafting child welfare legislation.

The bill we're considering today reauthorizes two important child welfare programs, incorporating a series of improvements developed during hearings held by the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Resources over the past few months.

In addition to continuing and making improvements to two major child welfare programs, this bill also renews authority for the Secretary of Health and Human Services to approve child welfare waivers during the next 3 years. Past waivers have allowed States to test new and better ways of helping children at risk of abuse and neglect.

Earlier this year, the House unanimously passed legislation renewing this authority, but the Senate has not followed suit.

This bill, which our colleagues in the Senate also support and which was favorably reported by the Senate Finance Committee yesterday, will allow innovation to continue and may yield information to improve child welfare programs in the future. The bill will also establish a process to create needed data standards in child welfare programs. This language is a first step towards improving collaboration between social service programs.

We have often heard in hearings that States and programs within States have difficulty coordinating services because of difficulty sharing data, and that this lack of coordination increases costs and decreases effectiveness. This bill directs the Secretary of HHS to work with the States to establish national data standards so that all State child welfare programs are speaking the same language.

To show the wide support for this bill, Mr. Speaker, I would like to insert letters of support into the Record from the following organizations: The National Conference of State Legislatures; the American Public Human Services Association; the Conference of Chief Justices and the Conference of State Court Administrators; the American Institute of CPAs; the American Humane Association; the North American Council on Adoptable Children; Voice for Adoption; the Association on American Indian

Affairs; the National Indian Child Welfare Association; Youth Villages; First Focus Campaign for Children; Zero to Three (The National Center for Infants, Toddlers and Families); the National Foster Care Coalition; the Child Welfare League of America; the Children's Defense Fund; the Center for the Study of Social Policy; and the Public Children Services Association of Ohio.

NATIONAL FOSTER CARE COALITION,

Washington, DC, September 13, 2011.

Hon. Max Baucus,

Chairman, Senate Finance Committee, U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.

Hon. Geoff Davis,

Chairman, Subcommittee on Human Resources, House of Representatives, Washington, DC.

Hon. Orrin Hatch,

Ranking Member, Senate Finance Committee, U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.

Hon. Lloyd Doggett,

Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Human Resources, House of Representatives, Washington, DC.

Dear Chairman Baucus, Ranking Member Hatch, Chairman Davis and Ranking Member Doggett: The National Foster Care Coalition extends its support to the reforms made through the Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act of 2011.

In these challenging times we still believe important reforms can be made with the child welfare system. Waiver provisions provide an opportunity for states to strengthen their child welfare systems in some very important ways.

We appreciate and support the inclusion of important provisions we highlighted including: Greater attention placed on the care and the development of infants and toddlers who come into contact with the child welfare system. Continuation of the substance abuse grants and that these grants will have a broader substance abuse focus. Funding for child welfare workforce development and the accompanying requirements on monthly visits to children in foster care. Additional clarification on the state

tracking and reporting of the adoption maintenance-of-effort provisions as enacted by PL 110-351 will provide a greater assurance that more funds are re-invested into state child welfare systems. Clarification of the education protection for children in foster care. Provisions that will help address issue young people in foster care face with identity theft. Attention to youth rights, participation in transition planning, and connections with birth family members.

We also support the increased attention to tracking the use of psychotropic medications, the increased focus on addressing trauma, the new study on the recruitment of foster, adoptive and kin parents and we want to extend our assistance in addressing the challenges of making improvements to data collection and data matching.

We appreciate your efforts to move the Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act of 2011 forward in a bipartisan/bicameral way by the end of September. The National Foster Care Coalition will promote this legislation among its membership and is pleased to provide any assistance in moving the legislation forward.

Sincerely,

THE NATIONAL FOSTER CARE COALITION.

--

PCSAO,

Columbus, OH, September 14, 2011.

Hon. Max Baucus,

Chairman, Senate Finance Committee, U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.

Hon. Geoff Davis,

Chairman, Subcommitte on Human Resources, House of Representatives, Washington, DC.

Hon. Orrin Hatch,

Ranking Member, Senate Finance Committee, U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.

Hon. Lloyd Doggett,

Ranking Member, Subcommitte on Human Resources, House of Representatives, Washington, DC.

Dear Chairman Baucus, Ranking Member Hatch, Chairman Davis and Ranking Member Doggett: Public Children Services Association of Ohio supports The Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act of 2011.

As a state that has shown improved outcomes related to our budget neutral Title IV-E Protect Ohio Waiver (Ohio leads the nation with a 43% Safe Reduction in the number of children in foster care between 2002-2010; AFCARS data), we strongly support Congress' recognition that children and families in other States can also benefit from Title IV-E Waivers allowing flexible funding. We encourage you to consider broader child welfare funding reform in the near future.

Ohio's child welfare system is also extremely supportive of reauthorization of the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Child Welfare Services and Promoting Safe and Stable Families programs under the present funding. Ensuring funds to strengthen families--keeping them intact, reunifying or finding and supporting alternate permanent families--is essential for our children's well being. We know that children grow best in stable, permanent families.

The Court Improvement Program in Ohio has aided in reforming our system. Courts play a critical role in decision making and oversight related to child safety and permanency, and the CIP in Ohio has focused on timeliness, improving procedures, focused well being oversight and adapting court philosophy and procedure as more children are raised by kinship families.

Ohio is struggling with too many children coming into foster care due to pervasive addictions to prescription pain killers, heroin, and other substances--we support the substance abuse grants part of this bill, and appreciate the broader application for various substances, to allow time-limited treatment services so children can safely reunify with recovered parents.

Ohio is ready to embrace other bill provisions such as addressing issues for foster children and youth including prevention of identity theft and improving transitional youth planning, improving educational outcomes, strengthening sibling connections, and addressing the developmental needs of infants and toddlers in foster care. Our Child Fatality Review system already strives to review all available data and apply lessons and recommend improved policy to prevent future child deaths, and Ohio

is dedicated to re-investing saved funds as more children become eligible for Title IV-E Adoption Assistance funds.

We appreciate your efforts to move The Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act of 2011 forward in a bipartisan/bicameral way by the end of September, 2011. As elected and representative Trustees of Public Children Services Association of Ohio, we urge Congress to promptly pass this important legislation.

Please contact PCSAO's Executive Director, Crystal Ward Allen, at 614-224-5802 or crystal@pcsao.org with any questions, concerns or requests.

Sincerely,

Crystal Ward Allen, [Page: H6297]

Executive Director, PCSAO on behalf of Public Children Services Association of Ohio, 2011 Board of Trustees:

Chip Spinning, President/Director, Madison Co. Dept. of Job & Family Services;

Denise Stewart, Vice President/Director, Mahoning County Children Services;

Randall Muth, JD, Secretary/Director, Wayne County Children Services;

Moira Weir, Treasurer/Director, Hamilton Co. Dept. of Job & Family Services;

Scott Ferris/Director, Allen County Children Services;

Andrea Reik/Director, Athens County Children Services;

Dwayne Pielech/Director Belmont Co. Dept. of Job & Family Services;

Kate Offenberger/Director, Carroll Co. Dept. of Job & Family Services;

Catherine Hill/Director Hocking County Children Services;

Teresa Alt/Director, Huron Co. Dept. of Job & Family Services;

June Cannon/Director, Miami County Children Services;

Gary Crow/Director, Lorain County Children Services;

Corey Walker/Director Paulding Co. Dept. of Job & Family Services;

Lisa Wiltshire/Director, Scioto County Children Services;

John Saros, JD/Director, Summit County Children Services.

--

FIRST FOCUS

CAMPAIGN FOR CHILDREN,

Washington, DC, September 15, 2011.

Hon. Max Baucus,

Chairman, Senate Finance Committee, U.S.Senate, Washington, DC.

Hon. Geoff Davis,

Chairman, Subcommittee on Human Resources, House of Representatives, Washington, DC.

Hon. Orrin Hatch,

Ranking Member, Senate Finance Committee, U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.

Hon. Lloyd Doggett,

Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Human Resources, House of Representatives, Washington, DC.

DEAR CHAIRMAN BAUCUS, RANKING MEMBER HATCH, CHAIRMAN DAVIS AND RANKING MEMBER DOGGETT: I am writing on behalf of First Focus, a bipartisan advocacy organization committed to making children and their families a priority in federal policy and budget decisions, to thank you for your leadership and commitment to moving forward The Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act of 2011 in a bicameral and bipartisan manner by the end of September 2011. We are pleased that the bill

reauthorizes the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Child Welfare Services Program and the Promoting Safe and Stable Families (PSSF) Program, and restores waiver authority to the Secretary of Health and Human Services. We hope that Congress will follow your lead and swiftly pass this critical legislation.

First Focus is dedicated to the long-term goal of substantially reducing the number of children entering foster care, while working to ensure that our existing system of care protects children and adequately meets the needs of families in the child welfare system. We are especially concerned with increasing our federal investments in prevention efforts and providing supports and services for at-risk families to ensure they never enter the child welfare system in the first place.

As you know, initially created in 1993, PSSF was reauthorized in 1997 under the Adoption and Safe Families Act. The program was amended in 2001 and again in 2005 as part of the Deficit Reduction Act. The 2006 Child and Family Services Improvement Act extended funding for the program until 2011. It is currently authorized through September 30, 2011. The program supports a number of critical State (and eligible tribal) child welfare activities, including family preservation services, family support

services, time-limited family reunification services, and adoption promotion and support services.

PSSF is a relatively small funding stream compared to the open-ended entitlement for foster care under SSA Title IV-E, but is still critical to the work of State social service agencies given that it may be used to provide services to children and families in need and to help keep families together. In contrast to the bulk of federal child welfare funding, which is targeted solely at foster care, PSSF seeks to prevent child abuse and neglect, avoiding the removal of children in the first place

while supporting timely reunification. These funds are often combined with other State and local resources as well as private funds, and support a range of services, including parenting classes that promote competencies and positive relationship skills; home-visiting services for at-risk parents as well as other family-based services; respite care for caregivers of children with special needs; and a range of other innovative programs and

services for at-risk families. According to the FY 2009 National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS), states reported that they provided prevention services to more than three million children. PSSF allowed states to pay for services to 30 percent of those children. These are critical services and we believe that the reauthorization of PSSF will only strengthen the program and its core goals, ensuring its success for years to come.

We also applaud your efforts to ensure that child welfare waiver demonstration projects are reauthorized and remain a critical vehicle for promoting flexibility while fostering innovation in practice at the state level. We are especially pleased that the bill authorizes ten new demonstration projects annually for a duration of five years. While we would urge you to consider extending waiver authority beyond FY 2014, we are encouraged by your efforts to ensure that demonstrations projects continue

in the near term. Absent a broader reform of the child welfare financing structure, states are in need of greater flexibility in the use of available federal child welfare funds. In addition to title IV-B programs, child welfare waiver demonstration projects are a critical vehicle for providing a broad array of support services to children and families, and promote flexibility and foster innovation in practice at the state level.

Among other provisions, we are pleased that The Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act includes new requirements for states to address the emotional trauma experience by children in foster care, adopt protocols for prescribing and monitoring psychotropic medications, and describe their efforts to address the developmental needs of young children in care and reduce their length of stay in care. The bill also continues grants to address substance abuse in families with children

at-risk of entering into foster care, continues funding for the Court Improvement Program, and provides needed clarification with respect to a provision in the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act related to ensuring the educational stability of foster children for each foster care placement.

First Focus stands prepared to work with you to ensure swift passage of The Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act. We thank you for your leadership on this and other issues impacting children and families, and look forward to working with you to ensure better care for our nation's most vulnerable children.

Sincerely,

BRUCE LESLEY.

--

CWLA,

Washington, DC, September 15, 2011.

Hon. Geoff Davis,

Chairman, Subcommittee on Human Resources, Longworth, Washington, DC.

Hon. Lloyd Doggett,

Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Human Resources, Longworth, Washington, DC.

DEAR CHAIRMAN DAVIS AND RANKING MEMBER DOGGETT: On behalf of the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) and our public and private member agencies that work directly with abused, neglected, and vulnerable children, youth, and their families, this letter is in support of the Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act (HR 2883) to reauthorize Title IV-B of the Social Security Act and restore the authority of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to authorize

demonstration projects via a waiver of Title IV-E. CWLA members are located in all fifty states and provide a range of child welfare services from prevention to placement and permanency services including child protection, family support and preservation, adoptions, foster care, kinship care, and treatment

services provided in residential settings. As a non-profit leadership and membership-based child welfare organization, CWLA is committed to engaging people everywhere in ensuring that all children and youth have the support that they need to grow into healthy contributing members of society.

Part I, Child Welfare Services (CWS) provides critical flexible funding for a broad range of services designed to support, preserve, and/or reunite children and their families. While we know that prevention services are underfunded, in light of current austerity we acknowledge that the maintenance of this program's $325 million authorization is positive. However, with the expectation of further cuts to discretionary funding levels over the next decade, it is critical to reiterate within this

context that vulnerable children and families should be held harmless in all budget balancing strategies.

State Child Welfare Services Plans serve as a lynchpin for the continuum of strategies designed to prevent and ameliorate maltreatment. Through requirements encompassing case reviews, permanency planning, program development, agency administration, and systems collaboration activities, fundamental protections and core service provision is ensured for the vulnerable populations served with these funds. CWLA commends the subcommittee for strengthening these plans. H.R. 2883 requires the plans to

respond to identified emotional trauma needs associated with maltreatment and removal, strengthens oversight of prescription medication monitoring protocols, encourages activities to reduce time in foster care and address developmental needs especially for children younger than five, and mandates the reporting of child maltreatment deaths.

Part II, Promoting Safe and Stable Families (PSSF) is an important funding stream for the operation of specific service categories. Although the services overlap, the four specified categories in PSSF create important distinctions in types of families in need. The additional targeted activities bring attention and resources to pressing needs including caseworker visits, substance abuse, court improvement, and mentoring for children of prisoners. CWLA supports the way that HR 2883 maintains this

structure. Again, while we see a need for additional resources, we recognize the nation's strained financial condition. Therefore, we appreciate [Page: H6298]

the continuation of $200 million in discretionary funds and the room appropriators have to fully fund the program. In recognition of the difficulty of increasing

funding, we think it is important that HR 2883 amends the reporting requirements to Congress to include actual spending in addition to planned spending by service category. We believe that increased tracking of these funds will further reveal that they are supporting necessary and effective programs for vulnerable children and families.

Courts are an integral component of the child welfare system, providing pivotal decisions of maltreatment findings and approval of permanency changes. PSSF is one of the few places in child welfare law where funding is provided for the courts. We appreciate your receptiveness to our suggestions for the continuation of the $30 million annual set-aside for the Court Improvement Program and the dedication of $1 million specifically for tribal courts and are pleased to see them both included in HR

2883. In addition, we support the way the bill bolsters court improvement plans by clarifying that they should include requirements related to concurrent planning and increasing and improving the engagement of the entire family in court processes. CWLA also applauds the enhancement of the substance abuse

and mentoring grants under HR 2883. Because all children affected by parental substance abuse, regardless of the particular substance used, deserve assistance, CWLA strongly agrees with the removal of the provision giving greater weight to applicants addressing methamphetamine abuse specifically.

CWLA welcomes the bill's data standardization and improved data matching section. We understand that the administration has undertaken efforts in this direction and appreciate the recognition in both branches of government of the critical importance of sharing information across systems. CWLA is also very pleased to see the changes HR 2883 makes related to foster care and adoption, including the clarification of the educational stability requirement for children in care, the efforts to address

any credit issues for foster children at least 16 years of age, and the requirement for states to document savings from the de-link of adoption assistance payments. Furthermore, we support the related requirement to document spending on post-adoption services. This is a strong recognition of the importance of supporting lasting permanency.

Title II of the bill restores the ability of HHS to authorize demonstration projects through Title IV-E waivers designed to increase permanency, improve outcomes, and prevent abuse and neglect. CWLA believes that waivers can be helpful in testing and evaluating innovative approaches within the child welfare system that have promising potential. However, CWLA does not believe that the restoration of waiver authority constitutes a comprehensive solution to the problems facing the child welfare

system. More ambitious approaches to reforming the federal financing structure should be undertaken. Accordingly, CWLA supports the bill's three-year restoration of waiver authority while consensus on more comprehensive approaches is being developed. CWLA specifically supports the eligibility requirements included in HR 2883. The policy conditions have the power to encourage states to implement practices that will improve their child welfare systems and the lives of those within them.

CWLA appreciates your leadership in crafting this important legislation. HR 2883 makes positive improvements to IV-B and IV-E of the Social Security Act and we support its passage. If you have any follow up questions, feel free to contact Sean Hughes, Director of Congressional Affairs at 202-590-8772 or Suzanne Ayer, Policy Associate at 202-688-4178.

Sincerely,

Christine James-Brown,

President/CEO.

--

September 19, 2011.

Hon. Geoff Davis,

Chairman, Subcommittee on Human Resources, Committee on Ways and Means, House of Representatives, Washington, DC.

Hon. Lloyd Doggett,

Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Human Resources, Committee on Ways and Means, House of Representatives, Washington, DC.

DEAR CHAIRMAN DAVIS AND RANKING MEMBER DOGGETT: We write in support for the Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act (H.R. 2883) and specifically to express our appreciation for the provisions that would promote the positive development of very young children in the child welfare system. Our organizations have worked together to identify ways that all levels of government could better address the developmental needs of infants and toddlers who have been abused or neglected.

This work resulted in the publication last spring of A Call to Action on Behalf of Maltreated Infants and Toddlers, which advocates for child welfare policies and practices that view the care of young children through a developmental lens. We are so pleased that the legislation you have introduced would take important steps toward infusing child welfare policy with that developmental approach.

We particularly appreciate the provision requiring state child welfare plans to include a description of activities to address the developmental needs of young children. Early brain development occurs at life-altering speeds, making infants and toddlers particularly vulnerable to the effects of abuse and neglect. Maltreatment can literally alter the chemistry of the brain, weakening its architecture and placing young children at significant risk for later cognitive, social, and emotional deficits.

If child welfare practices are not oriented toward supporting this sensitive stage of development, as well as families' ability to nurture their children, they can compound the effects of maltreatment. Ensuring that child welfare practices are informed by what we know from the science of brain development can promote early intervention that will improve the outlook for these babies and avoid the costs to both child and society resulting from developmental impairments.

The significance of the legislation you have authored becomes clear when we consider that infants and toddlers represent a quarter of children who are abused and neglected and almost a third of children entering foster care. We believe it will encourage states to reexamine how they are addressing child welfare cases involving young children and consider steps to systematically promote positive development for vulnerable babies.

We appreciate your leadership in highlighting the needs of young children within federal child welfare law. We stand ready to help the Congress, the Administration, and the states in building a child welfare system that helps all young children realize their potential.

Sincerely,

American Humane Association,

Center for the Study of Social Policy,

Child Welfare League of America,

Children's Defense Fund,

Zero To Three.

--

ZERO TO THREE

Washington, DC, September 19, 2011.

Hon. Geoff Davis,

Chairman, Subcommittee on Human Resources, Committee on Ways and Means, House of Representatives, Washington, DC.

Hon. Lloyd Doggett,

Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Human Resources, Committee on Ways and Means, House of Representatives, Washington, DC.

DEAR CHAIRMAN DAVIS AND RANKING MEMBER DOGGETT: On behalf of Zero to Three, I write to offer our support for the Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act (H.R. 2883) approved by the Ways and Means Committee last week. Zero to Three is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the healthy development of infants and toddlers. We believe this legislation will help ensure the well-being of our most vulnerable children: infants and toddlers in the child welfare

system. We particularly appreciate the provision requiring state child welfare plans to include a description of activities to address the developmental needs of young children. This provision is a tremendous step forward for children whose development is threatened by maltreatment

and, at times, foster care practices that are not informed by the science of early brain development. Other provisions adding services to enhance child development and facilitate family visitation will also promote child well-being and healing parent-child relationships.

These steps are particularly important, because infants and toddlers are the most vulnerable to maltreatment and comprise 31% of children entering foster care. The first three years of life are a time of rapid brain development, when the foundation for all learning that follows is created. Relationships are the context within which early development unfolds, so it is not surprising that babies are particularly sensitive to the effects of maltreatment. Maltreatment can literally alter the chemistry

of the brain, weakening its architecture and placing young children at risk for later cognitive, social, and emotional deficits. Maltreated infants and toddlers are four to five times more likely than other young children to have developmental impairments. The removal of babies from their parents' care, coupled with foster

care practices that often are not guided by their developmental needs, can compound the effects of maltreatment. The good news is that intervening early with practices that support healthy development can improve the outlook for these babies and avoid the costs to society that accompany developmental impairments.

Last spring, Zero to Three joined with American Humane Association, Center for the Study of Social Policy, Child Welfare League of America, and Children's Defense Fund to issue A Call to Action on Behalf of Maltreated Infants and Toddlers. This publication advocates for child welfare policies and practices at all levels of government that view the care of young children through a developmental lens. This legislation is the first step in answering that call. We believe it will spur states to bring

the science of early brain development into their child welfare systems. We applaud your leadership in infusing this perspective into federal child welfare law and promoting positive development for vulnerable babies.

Thank you for all you do for young children who face great adversity in their lives.

Sincerely,

Matthew E. Melmed,

Executive Director.

[Time: 13:30]

I also want to thank the ranking member of the Human Resources Subcommittee, Mr. Doggett of Texas, for working with me on this legislation and for his efforts to improve how we serve children and families across the country.

Finally, I want to note that this legislation does not add to the deficit since it simply extends current funding levels of the programs that are extended.

I urge all of my colleagues to support this legislation, and I reserve the balance of my time.

1:30 PM EDT

Lloyd Doggett, D-TX 25th

Mr. DOGGETT. I yield myself 5 minutes.

Mr. Speaker, the chairman, Mr. Davis, is correct. We have worked on this together. We have participated in hearings and have learned together and cooperated on this very important subject to which we may bring differing perspectives but a common goal of wanting to respond to the needs of America's most vulnerable children.

I believe that this bipartisan legislation which I do fully support, is important; however, it is also important to understand what we support and where we have differences and to understand what this legislation accomplishes and what it fails to accomplish. This bill is certainly preferable to allowing two very important laws to expire next week.

Each year, over 700,000 children here in America become victims of abuse and neglect, perpetrated by the very people who are supposed to love and care for them. I think most Americans, as do my wife, Libby, and I, when we're back home in Texas and surrounded by Clara, Zayla, and Ella, our three granddaughters, believe it's just almost incomprehensible that parents or grandparents could cause harm to a member of their own families. Yet that is the reality that too many of our children face. One

expert came to our committee during the hearing and suggested that, once every 6 hours of every day, a child dies in America as a result of abuse.

I agree that both the Child Welfare Services and the Promoting Safe and Stable Families laws should be renewed for another 5 years. I disagree that these programs should be continued at their current baseline funding levels since, with need growing and funding limited, too many of our most vulnerable children cannot access the services that they so desperately need. These are the children whose neglect not only produces problems for them, but will produce more problems for all of American society

in the future. They are the children we should be helping today so that we are not incarcerating them after they have done harm to someone tomorrow.

Less than half of the children in foster care in America today receive federal assistance to help with the room and board. Today, 40 percent of children who are found to be victims of abuse and neglect don't receive any follow-up or intervention at all. That is a very big gap that will likely only grow over the course of the next 5 years with the legislation that we are renewing.

In my home State of Texas, the Promoting Safe and Stable Families Act accounts for a very significant source of funding to help our youngest Texans. According to one of our witnesses in committee, Dr. Jane Burstain of the Center for Public Policy Priorities in Austin, funding from this program accounted for $2 of every $3 supporting child abuse and neglect prevention programs last year. In San Antonio, for example, these programs provide important resources to help vulnerable families through

the Bexar County Child Welfare Board.

This bill also grants States support for parental substance abuse programs. My friend Darlene Byrne, a district judge in Austin, Texas, who helped establish the Family Treatment Drug Court that was partially funded by dollars from this act that we're renewing, writes that she has seen new babies who are not drug positive, moms and couples reunify with their families, and workers receive their GEDs or high school diplomas and find employment. Those are the people that these programs help.

In short, she says that this program has contributed in transforming lives and in helping to stop the cycle of drug abuse, poverty, and violence in Texas. It is important both to those who benefit directly and to all of us who have a stake in having folks participate to the full extent of their God-given potential, not posing dangers to the rest of our society.

Today's legislation also includes, as Mr. Davis indicated, some modest policy changes that strengthen the States' abilities to respond to at-risk children. Mr. Speaker, the bill, I believe, leaves too many problems unresolved. I think, though, in this current climate that the renewal of the legislation as it's proposed is the best that we can do for our at-risk children. This bill reauthorizes help to at least some children who become victims of maltreatment. It provides family support

and activities to some vulnerable families, and it promotes adoption services for those children who cannot safely return to their biological parents.

I urge my colleagues to support this legislation, and I reserve the balance of my time.

1:36 PM EDT

Jim McDermott, D-WA 7th

Mr. McDERMOTT. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of this bill to renew the Nation's child welfare programs. I'm glad to see this happening as it has in the past by unanimous consent, and it's important not just to keep these programs funded and renewed. With more than one in five children in the country living in poverty and with so many odds stacked against foster kids, we need to do more. We need to make progress. That's why I'm so supportive of this bill, because it is not just

an extension of the program; it has some important and targeted innovations.

Some States, especially my home State of Washington, have some truly new ideas about how they can do more to prevent children being put into foster care even in tough economic times. One of the real innovations of this bill is to give States waivers for some governmental funding restrictions so that they can test these innovative interventions in their child welfare programs. If the States can maintain their current quality and if the innovations they want to try meet solid criteria, the Federal

Government should be a partner in making real progress. That's what these new waivers do.

Washington State is one of the leaders in innovating child welfare policy, and it has some things it has been eager to try out. Right now, the law doesn't allow for this kind of experimentation, but this bill gives States a way to begin. Washington State is not alone. There is room for 10 States to have these kinds of programs. There are some States already ready to make these moves.

Now, the Department of Health and Human Services allowed this kind of thing in the past, but it was allowed to lapse. This is really an extension of something we've had before. HHS was allowed to give out a number of waivers in the past, and some progress was made in a number of States. This bill restores that limited waiver authority and sets out criteria to keep the integrity and level of effort they need to have. We need to allow these States to do it.

In addition to extending the program and making more room for innovation, the bill does something else that's really important. In 2008, we passed the Fostering Connections and Increasing Adoptions law. This Fostering Connections law did a lot of good in helping foster kids have a better chance of truly making it in this country. Among other things, it addressed the health concerns of foster children who moved from home to home and from health care setting to health care setting, and it required

States to develop health coordination plans for these kids so that they had some continuity of care. These plans had to include oversight of prescription medications, including psychotropic drugs.

As a psychiatrist who has worked with children in child welfare and the juvenile justice system, I am very concerned about the use of psychotropic drugs. It has bothered me for a long time. In the fostering care population, it is a particularly vulnerable group because of this question of continuity of care. You want somebody to be monitoring what's happening as they move from home to home to home. We need [Page: H6300]

to do more. We need to get a clearer picture

of what is happening with these kinds of medications in the foster kids, and we need to make sure they are being used properly and are not overly prescribed.

[Time: 13:40]

One of the parts about this whole law that's crazy is that when a kid gets to 18 they could be on a medication. When they hit 18, they're done. Their Medicaid ends. They have no continuity of the drugs. They go off cold turkey. So there's some real questions that we need to answer here.

This bill takes the 2008 requirements another step forward and it requires States to adopt protocols for using and monitoring psychotropic medications among foster children.

Mr. Speaker, I speak strongly in favor of the bill and urge my colleagues to say ``yea.''

1:40 PM EDT

Lloyd Doggett, D-TX 25th

Mr. DOGGETT. I yield 2 minutes to my colleague from California (Ms. Bass), one of the leaders on this subject of foster children, who came and testified to our committee based on her long experience working in the State of California in the assembly on this subject.

1:41 PM EDT

Karen Bass, D-CA 33rd

Ms. BASS of California. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of H.R. 2883, the Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act. As cochair of the bipartisan Congressional Caucus on Foster Care, I am proud to stand with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in support of this important legislation.

Youth in the child welfare system fight for what so many of us take for granted--a family. In California, my home State, the Nation's largest foster care system in any given year, as many as 100,000 children can be placed in temporary out-of-home care. Foster parents and relatives are the frontline caregivers for children when their parents are unable to care for them.

A pool of dedicated, loving foster parents is critical for our Nation's foster youth as they wait to be reunited with their parents or achieve permanency with a relative caregiver or adoptive family. However, there is a significant shortage of foster parents.

In May, I introduced legislation calling for a study to find out how to best recruit and retain foster parents. This was included in the original House bill reauthorizing title IV-B child welfare programs introduced in August. I'm pleased that the modified bill before us today includes a provision that encourages States to develop and implement a plan to improve the recruitment and retention of high-quality foster family homes.

H.R. 2883 builds on some of the best practices that were shared with me as I've traveled California hearing from youth, child welfare workers, and parents. The bill also appropriately addresses challenges facing the child welfare system by requiring States to address emotional trauma in foster children and to adopt protocols for using and monitoring psychotropic medications.

I am very pleased with the comments of my colleague, Mr. McDermott, who talked about the use of psychotropics, and I would just add that, in too many cases, the children are prescribed multiple medications. And in talking with a number of youth up and down the State of California, one of the things that many youths said to me was, Can you please help me get off the medication.

I would like to thank Ways and Means Chairman Camp, Ranking Member Levin, Human Resources Subcommittee Chair Geoff Davis, and Ranking Member Doggett for their unwavering commitment to our most vulnerable youth.

1:43 PM EDT

Lloyd Doggett, D-TX 25th

Mr. DOGGETT. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to my colleague from Rhode Island (Mr. Langevin), who has been very active in a Foster Youth Financial Security Act.

(Mr. LANGEVIN asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)

1:43 PM EDT

Jim Langevin, D-RI 2nd

Mr. LANGEVIN. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of the Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act.

This bill includes a provision from the Foster Youth Financial Security Act that I introduced with my colleague from California (Mr. Stark) to address disturbingly high rates of identity theft among foster youth. I, along with many others, was absolutely outraged to find that foster children are disproportionately victims of identity theft since their personal information passes through so many hands.

Mr. Speaker, as I saw firsthand when my parents welcomed foster youth into our home over many years, they already faced tremendous obstacles without the increased threat of having their identity taken and their credit ruined, which prevents them from finding a place to live, accessing credit on their own, or obtaining other basic needs.

This bill would ensure that each foster youth over 16 years of age receives free credit checks before leaving the system and assistance clearing any inaccuracies that may have come to light. Reports have shown that if done effectively, the cost is minimal.

I want to thank, Mr. Speaker, the committee for their interest in this issue and the many advocates who have championed this cause. This is only the first step in providing foster youth the tools that they need and deserve to succeed, and I look forward to our continued work together on this issue.

As I pointed out so many times, the kids in foster care already face significant challenges of their own of a personal nature. It is a shame that their identity is stolen and they're further victimized. This bill would identify problems early on and clear up the inaccuracies so they can start their adult life with a fresh start with their credit intact.

I thank both gentlemen, the chair, and the ranking member for their outstanding support of this provision.

1:46 PM EDT

Lloyd Doggett, D-TX 25th

Mr. DOGGETT. I yield myself the balance of my time.

Mr. Speaker, some in this House have suggested earlier in the year that the programs embodied in this legislation, and everything else that opens opportunities through government support from Pell Grants to Title I funding for education to the school lunch program to Head Start, that all of these are ``welfare'' and should be cut. Fortunately, that approach is not being taken here today. We are reauthorizing, in a bipartisan way, these two very important programs that would expire next week.

Mr. Speaker, however, it should be noted that, much like somebody might be flatlined, we are flat funding the renewal of these programs, meaning that in 5 years we are authorizing the same amount of money for these programs, if it can be appropriated, that existed last year. That means that there are many needs in our country that will not be fully addressed in this legislation. It means that last year, if less than half of those in foster care received support for food and board, they will be

in the same situation over the course of this legislation. It means that the 40 percent of children who are subject to abuse and neglect are unlikely to be able to access services as they were last year.

But renewing this legislation remains, despite those deficiencies, an important accomplishment in the current political environment. And, as Mr. Davis and a number of other speakers have noted, we have made some modest improvements.

Another of those not touched on yet is our work in this legislation to ensure that children in foster care can stay in the schools that they started in, even though they may be moved between families. That's an important part of adding a little certainty to the lives of children who have been abused or neglected and find themselves with a great deal of uncertainty.

It is for the improvements in this act and the recognition of what harm would be done if this act were not adopted here in a bipartisan way that so many child advocacy groups have joined in supporting it--the Child Welfare League of America, First Focus, Zero to Three--as well as groups of those organizations that are involved in administering some of these funds: the National Conference of State Legislatures, the American Public Human Services Association, and the Conference of State Court Administrators.

[Time: 13:50]

I believe this legislation is important. It's important to get it adopted promptly. I hope the Senate will respond to our bipartisan approval today, as Mr. Davis has suggested they have already begun to do in the committee process, and move forward to see it fully adopted by next week. I urge all of my colleagues to join in supporting this legislation, and I yield back the balance of my time.

1:49 PM EDT

Geoff Davis, R-KY 4th

Mr. DAVIS of Kentucky. Mr. Speaker, I am grateful to my friend, the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Doggett), for working with me to bring this measure to the floor today and thank him and thank both the majority and minority staffs for their hard work on this effort. H.R. 2883 is a bipartisan, bicameral, no-cost effort to extend and make modest adjustments to programs designed to help ensure the safety and well-being of children at risk of abuse and neglect. We need to do all we can to ensure

more children remain safely in their homes, and this bill will help to do so.

NATIONAL CONFERENCE

OF STATE LEGISLATURES,

September 13, 2011.

Hon. Dave Camp,

Chairman, House Ways & Means, Cannon House Office Building, Washington, DC.

Hon. Sandy Levin,

Ranking Member, House Ways & Means, Longworth House Office Building, Washington, DC.

DEAR CHAIRMAN CAMP AND REPRESENTATIVE LEVIN: On behalf of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), we urge you to support H.R. 2883, a bill to renew the authority of the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services to approve demonstration projects designed to test innovative strategies in state child welfare programs and reauthorizing the Promoting Safe and Stable Families (PSSF) program. Congressmen Geoff Davis and Lloyd Doggett have fashioned bipartisan legislation

that helps create opportunities to enhance the state-federal partnership to assist our nation's most vulnerable children.

NCSL supports reinstating and expanding federal waiver authority so that states can test the results of increased funding flexibility on the development of service alternatives and on the overall delivery of child welfare services. This allows states to target programs to address the needs of their youngest citizens. By renewing and extending Title IV-E waiver authority through 2014, H.R. 2883 will give states an enhanced ability to provide early intervention and crisis intervention services

that will safely reduce out-of-home placements and improve child outcomes.

NCSL supports the reauthorization of the PSSF program. The PSSF program enhances state efforts to develop additional family preservation, family reunification, and family support programs. We appreciate the flexibility provided to states in H.R. 2883 and that the legislation does not preempt current state laws.

H.R. 2883 will allow states to improve the quality of their child welfare interventions and reinvest savings in their programs. It will also provide both state and federal legislators tools to develop innovative an effective approaches to transform the lives of children who are at risk of abuse and neglect. We applaud Congressmen Davis and Doggett for crafting this legislation.

Sincerely,

William T. Pound,

Executive Director, NCSL.

--

NATIONAL INDIAN

CHILD WELFARE ASSOCIATION,

Portland, OR, September 13, 2011.

Hon. GEOFF DAVIS, Chair,

Hon. LLOYD DOGGETT, Ranking Member,

House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Resources.

Hon. MAX BAUCUS, Chair,

Hon. Orrin Hatch, Ranking Member,

Senate Finance Committee.

DEAR REPRESENTATIVES DAVIS AND DOGGETT AND SENATORS BAUCUS AND HATCH: The National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA) writes this letter in support of the Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act (HR 2883/S 1542) which would reauthorize programs under Title IV-B of the Social Security Act--Stephanie Tubbs Jones Child Welfare Services; Promoting Safe and Stable Families; Regional Partnerships on substance abuse; and the Court Improvement Program.

Committee staff on both sides of the aisle has been most open to meeting with us, and we thank them for their hard work and interest in more heavily involving Indian and Alaska Native communities in these programs. We especially thank Sonja Nesbit, Ryan Martin, Diedra Henry-Spires, and Becky Shipp.

NICWA has worked on several reauthorizations of Title IV-B, notably in 2006 when a number of improvements were enacted regarding tribal participation. The 2006 Act increased tribal allocations and provided common sense flexibility for tribal administration of the programs.

In fiscal year 2011, 170 tribes/tribal organizations received $6.2 million from the Child Welfare Services Program and 126 tribes/tribal consortia received $11 million from the Promoting Safe and Stable Families Program. In addition, tribes are the lead grantee in six of the 53 Regional Partnerships substance abuse grants.

The Title IV-B program that has bypassed tribes is the Court Improvement Program and we are most grateful for the breakthrough on this matter in the Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act. The bill would, for the first time, make tribes eligible to apply for competitive grants for this program and would allocate $1 million annually for this purpose. There is a great need in Indian Country for assistance for tribal courts work in the area of child welfare. We also appreciate

the provision which would allow tribes operating Title IV-E (Foster Care and Adoption Assistance) programs to apply for waivers for child welfare demonstration projects.

Again, thank you. We look forward to continuing to work with you on child welfare matters.

Sincerely,

Terry L. Cross,

Executive Director.

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YOUTH VILLAGES,

September 13, 2011.

Hon. Geoff Davis, Chairman,

Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Resources, Longworth House Office Building, Washington, DC.

Hon. Lloyd Doggett, Ranking Member,

Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Resources, Longworth House Office Building, Washington, DC.

DEAR CHAIRMAN DAVIS AND RANKING MEMBER DOGGETT: On behalf of Youth Villages, I am writing in support of your bill, H.R. 2883, and to thank you for your leadership on this issue. This legislation provides for the extension of the important Promoting Safe and Stable Families program as well as critical authority for the Department of Health and Human Services to extend the Title IV-E waiver program, which has demonstrated substantial impact since creation in 1994. These waivers provide states

with greater flexibility in the use of Federal funds for alternative services and supports that promote safety, permanency and well-being for children in the child protection and foster care system.

Youth Villages is a leader in innovative and effective services for troubled youth and their families. Since 2008, Youth Villages has had the opportunity to work collaboratively with several local, privatized child welfare organizations, known as Community Based Care agencies in implementing Florida's Title IV-E waiver. Youth Villages has three offices in Florida and is working with local entities to implement our intensive in-home Intercept services, identify and serve underserved or `stuck'

populations, and provide them with outcome data to support the impact of their waiver effort.

As a result of the flexibility afforded by the Title IV-E waiver, intensive reunification and targeted prevention services are given greater focus in the state's child welfare service approach. Without the award of the waiver, it would have been difficult for Youth Villages to expand its Intercept program into the state to serve the child welfare population. In the three years that Youth Villages has been operating in Florida, we have served over 300 children across the Central and Southern regions

of the state at a significantly lower cost than traditional child welfare placement services. More importantly, they have achieved such outcomes as: over 70% of children still at home, over 80% having graduated or actively engaged in school, and over 80% having had no trouble with the law six months after discharge from services.

Youth Villages pledges its full support of H.R. 2883, as this legislation has the ability to transform the child welfare system from one that incentivizes out-of-home placement to a system that promotes in-home treatment and family unification.

Regards,

Patrick Lawler,

CEO, Youth Villages.

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VOICE FOR ADOPTION,

Washington, DC, September 14, 2011.

Hon. Max Baucus,

Hart Senate Office Building, U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.

Hon. Geoff Davis,

Longworth House Office Building, House of Representatives, Washington, DC.

Hon. Orrin Hatch,

Hart Senate Office Building, U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.

Hon. Lloyd Doggett,

Cannon House Office Building, House of Representatives, Washington, DC.

DEAR CHAIRMEN BAUCUS AND DAVIS AND RANKING MEMBERS HATCH AND DOGGETT: On behalf of Voice for Adoption's members I am writing to thank you for your leadership and your bipartisan and bicameral effort to introduce the Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act (S. 1542/H.R. 2883). Voice for Adoption (VFA) is a membership advocacy organization; we speak out for our nation's 107,000 waiting children in foster care. Our members, who are spread across the country, recruit families

to adopt children and youth with special needs. VFA members also provide vital support services both before and after adoption finalization to [Page: H6302]

help adoptive families through the challenges they often face raising children with painful pasts.

Voice for Adoption supports this legislation, which acts to reauthorize two major child welfare programs, the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Child Welfare Services Program and the Promoting Safe and Stable Families (PSSF) program. Under the PSSF program the adoption promotion and support services category provides funding to recruit and support families for children who are waiting to be adopted.

We commend the authors of this bill for not only acting in a bipartisan/bicameral manner, but also for making potentially impacting improvements in the reauthorization of these programs. We applaud the strengthening of language that requires states to document the use of dollars saved from the federal adoption assistance de-link, created under the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-351). Voice for Adoption hopes that through future guidance States

are encouraged to spend a portion of these adoption de-link funds on post-adoption support services. VFA also supports other important improvements made in the bill including: the requirement for better reporting on post-adoption services spending and transparency to access this data, the requirement of States to address the developmental needs of young children and reducing their amount of

time spent in foster care, the requirement of States to address emotional trauma and the clarification of educational protections for children in foster care, the requirement for state protocols and procedures relating to the use of psychotropic medications, ID theft issues for foster youth, inclusion of state waivers and measures that include quality of care improvements for foster children.

Voice for Adoption is proud to support this bipartisan/bicameral legislation, as it exists to reauthorize programs that protect children and families and promote both permanency and support for children in foster care. We are also happy to inform and encourage our members to support this bill.

Sincerely,

Nicole Dobbins,

Executive Director.

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ASSOCIATION ON

AMERICAN INDIAN AFFAIRS,

Rockville, MD, September 14, 2011.

Re H.R. 2883 and S. 1542.

Hon. Max Baucus, Chair,

Hon. Orrin Hatch, Ranking Member,

Senate Finance Committee.

Hon. Geoff Davis, Chair,

Hon. Lloyd Doggett, Ranking Member,

House Ways and Means Committee, Subcommittee on Human Resources.

DEAR SENATORS BAUCUS AND HATCH AND REPRESENTATIVES DAVIS AND DOGGETT: Thank you for your introduction of H.R. 2883 and S. 1542, the Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act. The Association on American Indian Affairs (AAIA) strongly supports this legislation.

AAIA is an 89 year old Indian advocacy organization located in South Dakota and Maryland and governed by an all-Native American Board of Directors. We have been involved with Indian child welfare issues for decades, including working closely with the House and Senate on tribal provisions in the Child and Family Services Improvement Act of 2006 and the Fostering Connections to Success and Promoting Adoptions Act of 2008.

We are particularly supportive of the provisions in both bills that would allocate $1 million for competitive Court Improvement Program grants to Indian tribal courts and allow tribes operating Title IV-E programs to apply for waivers for child welfare demonstration projects. We also appreciate and support the language that would make the definition of Indian tribes consistent in both Parts 1 and 2 of Title 1V-B.

Once again, thank you for your support of this legislation and these tribal issues and to the House and Senate staff (Sonja Nesbit, Ryan Wilson, Diedra Henry-Spires and Becky Shipp) that have been so helpful in this process.

Sincerely,

Jack F. Trope,

Executive Director.

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AMERICAN HUMANE ASSOCIATION,

September 14, 2011.

Hon. Geoff Davis,

Chairman, Subcommittee on Human Resources, House of Representatives.

Hon. Max Baucus,

Chairman, Finance Committee, U.S. Senate.

Hon. Lloyd Doggett,

Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Human Resources, House of Representatives.

Hon. Orrin Hatch,

Ranking Member, Finance Committee, U.S. Senate.

Dear Chairman Davis, Congressman Doggett, Chairman Baucus and Senator Hatch: American Humane Association extends its support to the reforms made through the Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act.

Through the joint efforts of the House and Senate and the leadership of both parties, we believe you have written a strong bill to reauthorize the Child Welfare Services and Promoting Safe and Stable Families programs (Title IV-B part 1 and part 2).

In testifying last June in the United States House of Representatives, the American Humane Association outlined a number of important changes that could be made through this reauthorization. We appreciate and support the inclusion of many of those recommendations as well as several other provisions in this legislation that we believe will assist children and families touched by the child welfare system. Some of the key provisions of this bill that we see as particularly important include:

The greater attention placed on the care and the development of infants and toddlers who come into contact with the child welfare system;

The continuation of the substance abuse grants and that these grants will have a broader substance abuse focus;

The bill's continued funding for child welfare workforce development, the stronger language on workforce support and the accompanying requirements on monthly visits to children in foster care;

The clarification on the state tracking and reporting of the adoption maintenance-of-effort provisions as enacted by PL 110-351 (Fostering Connections Act);

The clarification on access to education for children in foster care;

The continuation of court improvement funding; and

The attention paid to the problem of identity theft for children and youth in foster care.

In addition there are several other improvements in this legislation in regard to reports by the Department of Health and Human Services and the extension of waiver authority which we have also talked positively of in past statements to both the House and Senate Committees.

Once again we restate our appreciation of your efforts to move this forward in a bipartisan fashion with all due speed. Please feel free to reach out to the American Humane Association for any additional assistance in moving forward with this legislation and other matters before your committees.

Sincerely,

John Sciamanna,

Director, Policy and Government Affairs,

Child Welfare.

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NORTH AMERICAN COUNCIL

ON ADOPTABLE CHILDREN,

St. Paul, MN, September 16, 2011.

Hon. Geoff Davis,

Longworth House Office Building, House of Representatives, Washington, DC.

Hon. Lloyd Doggett,

Cannon House Office Building, House of Representatives, Washington, DC.

Dear Representatives Davis and Doggett: On behalf of the North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC), I am writing to express our support for the Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act (H.R. 2883). We are grateful for your leadership in introducing this important legislation and strongly believe it will improve the lives of vulnerable children and their families.

NACAC is an adoption support and advocacy organization with more than 1,000 members nationwide. We represent adoptive and foster parents, adoptees, adoption professionals, parent support groups, and adoption agencies and organizations. Since 1974, we have supported the right of every child to have a permanent, loving family and advocated for adoptive families to receive necessary supportive services.

NACAC strongly supports the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Child Welfare Services Program and the Promoting Safe and Stable Families (PSSF) program. In particular, we are happy that the PSSF program has required states to designate at least 20 percent of the funds to adoption support and promotion services. These funds have been used across the country to recruit families for foster children who cannot return home and to support families raising these children with special needs.

We were pleased that H.R. 2883 will continue these valuable efforts while also adding several enhancements. We strongly support requiring states to document how they spend the funds reinvested as a result of the maintenance of effort provision of the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008, which expanded federal eligibility for Title IV-E adoption assistance. In addition, however, NACAC would recommend that the legislation require states to spend a portion of these

reinvestment funds on post-adoption services. Since special needs adoptions generate this additional revenue for states, it is reasonable to request that a specific portion of the funds be invested in post-adoption services. As you well know, the majority of children adopted from foster care have significant special needs, and post-adoption services ensure these children have the best chance of being adopted and for living successfully in safe and stable families.

Again, we thank you for your commitment to children and families through your introduction of the Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act.

Sincerely,

Joe Kroll,

Ececutive Director. [Page: H6303]

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AMERICAN PUBLIC

HUMAN SERVICES ASSOCIATION,

September 16, 2011.

Hon. Max Baucus,

Chairman, Senate Finance Committee, U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.

Hon. Geoff Davis,

Chairman, Subcommittee on Human Resources, House of Representatives, Washington, DC.

Hon. Orrin Hatch,

Ranking Member, Senate Finance Committee, U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.

Hon. Lloyd Doggett,

Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Human Resources, House of Representatives, Washington, DC.

Dear Chairman Baucus, Ranking Member Hatch, Chairman Davis and Ranking Member Doggett: On behalf of the American Public Human Services Association (APHSA), I write to thank you for your leadership in introducing the Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act of 2011. This legislation addresses the importance of prevention programs and support of community-based services for children and families at risk or in crisis, including through extending grant authority to the Department

of Health and Human Services (HHS) for new child welfare waivers through 2014. This legislation also reinforces Congress's recognition of the need for state flexibility and accountability to enable public agencies to be good stewards of public funds and to manage performance, self-correct, innovate and enhance their ability to achieve positive outcomes.

The Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act reauthorizes two essential prevention and family support programs and outlines key improvements to child welfare practices designed to improve outcomes for at-risk children, youth and families. APHSA members appreciate the changes to the current methodology for calculating monthly caseworker visits. These provisions are closely linked with the recommendations that APHSA and The National Association of Public Child Welfare Administrators

(NAPCWA) presented before the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Resources during the ``Hearing on Protecting At-Risk Youth.'' The change in calculation will not only better reflect states' performance on this indicator, but also highlight the diligent efforts made by casework staff.

APHSA and our member agencies fully support the efforts to address children's emotional and behavioral health needs and welcome stronger, more collaborative partnerships with other agencies across the human service continuum to meet the enhanced data and tracking provisions outlined in the bill.

APHSA also fully supports the renewal and expansion of the HHS Secretary's authority to grant waivers for states to flexibly use IV-E funds to test innovative strategies in child welfare programs. Earlier this year, APHSA provided comments, concerns and recommendations to the previous House and Senate proposed waiver bills (H.R 1194 and S. 1013) and are pleased to see that the current bill includes provisions consistent with our member states' practices, as well as new provisions that conform

to our member states' views.

APHSA members are pleased to see the time period to operate a waiver expanded to five years. We are also pleased to see that states can apply for a waiver by implementing two program improvement areas and that only one of them needs to be a new program. APHSA also appreciates the clarification that states currently operating waivers and successfully achieving outcomes will be allowed to continue those improvements as this bill expands the program to 10 new demonstration projects. In these current

budgetary times, it is critical for new waiver states to innovate their practices and service array, while current waiver states increase the knowledge and evidentiary base for programs and practices that work.

APHSA also fully supports reauthorization of the Court Improvement Program. The Court Improvement Program allows our member agencies to work in close partnership with their state and local judicial system to meet the safety, permanency and well-being needs of children in a timely and complete manner. This program also supports the essential cross-system training of judges, attorneys and other legal representatives in child welfare cases.

Once again, we look forward to continuing the work of improving services and outcomes for at risk children. We continue to be available as a resource as regulations and guidance is developed to meet the provisions of the Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovations Act of 2011.

Sincerely,

Tracy L. Wareing,

Executive Director.

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AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF CPAS,

Washington, DC, September 20, 2011.

Re The Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act, H.R. 2883.

Hon. Geoff Davis,

Chairman, Subcommittee on Human Resources of the Committee on Ways and Means, House of Representatives Washington, DC.

Hon. Lloyd Doggett,

Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Human Resources of the Committee on Ways and Means, House of Representatives, Washington, DC.

Dear Chairman Davis and Ranking Member Doggett: On behalf of the 377,000 members of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), I am writing in support of your legislation, H.R. 2883, the ``Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act.'' The bill calls for grantees of Federal funds under the Child Welfare Services program and the Safe and Stable program to report certain data to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), and for DHHS to develop

a rule designating standard data elements and data reporting requirements for the information to be reported. The legislation specifies that DHHS ``shall, to the extent practicable, incorporate existing nonproprietary standards, such as eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL).''

The use of data tagging to enhance both the transparency and the ability to analyze financial and other data has been proved time and time again. XBRL provides a detailed yet customizable approach to gathering data and will provide significant transparency to the Federal government and the American people regarding the use of taxpayer funds.

XBRL has been used for a number of years by the Federal government in areas such as Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation call reports and public company financial reporting to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Importantly, such standardized business reporting is also expanding in both the United States by state governmental agencies and worldwide, where data standards are being leveraged to significantly reduce the compliance reporting burden and, at the same time, enhance the usability

and transparency of reported information. Including provisions to require reporting of information under the Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act will make the reporting process more efficient and enhance comparability of such information for DHHS, the Congress, and other stakeholders who need to monitor and analyze the use of these funds.

Thank you again for your leadership on this important issue. We are also happy to discuss with you additional areas where implementation of data standards can further enhance reporting and make it more valuable to all types of stakeholders of data. If you have any questions, or if we can be of any further assistance, please contact Diana Huntress Deem.

Sincerely,

Barry C. Melancon, CPA,

President and CEO.

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Conference of Chief Justices, Conference of State Court Administrators,

Washington, DC.

Re Child and Family Services Act (HR 2883).

Hon. GEOFF DAVIS,

House of Representatives, Longworth House Office Building, Washington, DC.

Hon. LLOYD DOGGETT,

House of Representatives, Cannon House Office Building, Washington, DC.

DEAR CHAIRMAN DAVIS AND RANKING MEMBER DOGGETT: On behalf of the Conference of Chief Justices and the Conference of State Court Administrators, we write to support the Child and Family Services Act that includes reauthorization of the three Court Improvement Program (CIP) grant programs through FY 2016 at the current $30 million level. The three Court Improvement Program (CIP) grant programs are critical for state courts as they provide the only federal funds to state courts for the purpose

of improving state court oversight of abuse and neglect cases; and have been invaluable in assisting courts to improve and expedite our processes and procedures. These funds have resulted in abused and neglected children moving more expeditiously to safe and permanent homes and improved outcomes for children in need of protection. Our work, however, is not complete, so the reauthorization of these funds will allow us to continue our work to improve results for these children.

We appreciate the new purpose which would allow CIP funds to be used ``to increase and improve engagement of the entire family in court processes relating to child welfare, family preservation, family reunification, and adoption''. This new purpose provides state courts with greater flexibility in the use of the funds. We also support the provision that would allow state courts to submit a single application for the three CIP grants. This will allow state courts to eliminate duplicative paperwork

and reporting, which will free up time for reform efforts. While the legislation reduces the amount of funds available to state courts, we do understand the need to also provide financial assistance to tribal courts.

Thank you again for your efforts on behalf of state courts. If we can provide you with additional information, please do not hesitate to contact us or Kay Farley, who is with the Government Relations Office of the National Center for State Courts.

Sincerely,

Chief Judge Eric T. Washington,

President, Conference of Chief Justices.

Rosalyn W. Frierson,

President, Conference of State Court Administrators.

Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.