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.

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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.