Pages tagged "Child Abuse & Neglect"
As they continue to address the needs of the hundreds of thousands of young people who are currently a part of the foster care system and the tens of thousands who leave the system each year, Reps. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) and Jim McDermott (D-Wash.)—Co-Chairs of the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth—announced they introduced H.R. 3641, the “Health Insurance for Former Foster Youth Act of 2015,” legislation that will close a loophole and guarantee that foster youth will still receive health insurance through Medicaid until they turn 26 years old regardless of their state of residence.
One of the goals of the Affordable Care Act was to ensure that young people could stay on their parents’ insurance until they turn 26. Because foster youth do not have legal guardians, the law addressed foster youth by guaranteeing that as long they were in the foster care system by the time they were 18 years old, they would be able to receive Medicaid until they turned 26...
As organizations committed to improving the health and wellbeing of our nation’s children and families, we sent this letter in support of the Health Insurance for Former Foster Youth Act of 2015. This legislation removes a significant barrier to health coverage for young people aging out of foster care.
Recognizing the importance of health care coverage for youth who age out of foster care, Congress specifically provided Medicaid coverage for this population in the ACA. This provision equalizes coverage among young adults, placing young people aging out of foster care on par with their peers who are now able to stay on their parent’s insurance until age 26. The expansion of Medicaid to cover certain youth previously in foster care to age 26 is a significant victory for this population because it provides access to critical health coverage for an especially vulnerable group of young adults. Medicaid coverage will help young people become successful adults by ensuring that they, like their peers, have health care coverage and by removing barriers to success in post-secondary education and employment that can result from unexpected health care costs, unmet medical needs, and unaffordable insurance premiums or co-payments.
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Washington – The First Focus Campaign for Children, a bipartisan children’s advocacy organization, today endorsed the Health Insurance for Former Foster Youth Act. The legislation, introduced by United States Senator Bob Casey (D-Pennsylvania), ensures that young adults who grew up in foster care remain eligible for health care through Medicaid until they reach age 26, regardless of their state of residence.
“We applaud Senator Casey for his leadership and urge his colleagues to quickly advance this common-sense reform,” said First Focus Campaign for Children President Bruce Lesley.
The Affordable Care Act required states to extend Medicaid eligibility to age 26 for former foster youth who “aged out” of foster care within the state, paralleling a provision of the law that allows parents to keep young adult children on their family’s insurance policy until age 26. But the law gave states the option to apply the former foster youth provision to young adults who aged out of care in other states. Only 13 states (California, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Virginia, and Wisconsin) have adopted the option to cover young adults who aged out of foster care in other states.
Most children in foster care were victims of child abuse or neglect, and more than 20,000 children age out of foster care in a typical year. Foster children are more likely than their peers to face chronic physical and mental health problems, which often continue into adulthood. Former foster youth are also more likely than their peers to live in poverty and be uninsured. The Health Insurance for Former Foster Youth Act would ensure that former foster youth who age out of care in one state and live as young adults in another would always be eligible for Medicaid until they reach age 26.
“Moving across state lines shouldn’t cost young people their health care – especially former foster youth, who often struggle with extra health burdens,” said Lesley.
The First Focus Campaign for Children is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization affiliated with First Focus, a bipartisan children’s advocacy organization. The Campaign for Children advocates directly for legislative change in Congress to ensure children and families are the priority in federal policy and budget decisions. For more information, visit campaignforchildren.org.
First Focus Campaign for Children sent this letter in support of the Health Insurance for Former Foster Youth Act of 2015. The legislation removes a significant barrier to health coverage for young people aging out of foster care my removing the Medicaid eligibility restriction tied to state residency. This will allow youth previously in foster care to remain on Medicaid to age 26 in any state, irrespective of changes in residency.
On July 2nd, 2015, First Focus Campaign for Children sent this letter in support of The Alyce Spotted Bear and Walter Soboleff Commission on Native Children Act (H.R. 2751). The act would establish an 11-person committee to reexamine the federal government's commitment to Native children, and propose policy solutions to better serve them. If adopted, this bill could dramatically improve the lives of Native kids nationwide.
On June 17, 2015 the First Focus Campaign for Children sent this letter in support of the Foster Youth Independence Act of 2015. This bill extends federal funding for services for youth up to age 23 who age out of foster care. These services can include: assistance with enrolling in college, finding employment, obtaining health coverage, securing housing, and managing money.
On June 16, 2015 First Focus Campaign for Children sent letters in support of the Every Child Deserves a Family Act introduced by Senator Gillibrand in the Senate and Congressman Lewis in the House of Representatives. This bill would prevent entities receiving federal funds from discriminating against prospective foster and adoptive parents based on their sexual orientation, gender identity or marital status. This bill has the potential to help thousands of children in the child welfare system find loving and permanent homes.
Washington – A letter sent today by 160 leading children’s advocacy organizations urges Congress to support President Obama’s fiscal year (FY) 2016 proposed investments in child welfare. The letter was coordinated by First Focus Campaign for Children, Children’s Defense Fund, Child Welfare League of America, Foster Family-based Treatment Association, Generations United, National Foster Care Coalition, and Voice for Adoption.
“The federal budget reflects our nation’s priorities,” said Bruce Lesley, President of First Focus Campaign for Children. “Congress can make our most vulnerable children and families a priority by supporting President Obama’s child welfare proposals.”
The letter is addressed to the leadership of the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance and the Human Resources Subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Ways and Means, which have jurisdiction over a number of child welfare programs. In additional to the coordinating groups, signatories of the letter include the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychological Association, and the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities.
Federal investments in child welfare have historically been targeted at supporting foster care rather than prevention, interventions, and treatments that keep children out of foster care. President Obama’s proposed FY 2016 budget would:
- Increase investments in evidence-based prevention and post-permanency supports for children at risk of entering foster care;
- Encourage family-based care, including relative care, rather than group homes for children and youth; and
- Reduce overprescribing of psychotropic medications for children and youth in foster care.
“When Congress invests in prevention and early intervention, families stay together and children never come to the attention of child welfare in the first place,” said Lesley.
Title IV-E of the Social Security Act is the major federal source of funding for child welfare services. Beginning in 2012, states were given the authority through waivers to use Title IV-E to test innovation and learn about what works best.
President Obama’s budget builds on lessons from the waivers and reinforces the importance of increased federal support for a range of prevention and early intervention services. Title IV-E waivers, meant to be temporary and informative, will end in FY 2019, increasing the urgency that Congress invest now in services for children, youth, and families involved in child welfare.
Federal investments in child welfare have decreased about 3 percent since FY 2011, adjusted for inflation. President Obama’s proposed budget would reverse that trend, and increase investments in child abuse and neglect by 6.3 percent from FY 2015.
“We hope and expect that policymakers who are serious about reducing child abuse and neglect will support the administration’s child welfare budget,” said Lesley. “Congress needs to make greater long-term federal investments to keep children safe and in permanent families.”
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The First Focus Campaign for Children is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization affiliated with First Focus, a bipartisan children’s advocacy organization. The Campaign for Children advocates directly for legislative change in Congress to ensure children and families are a priority in federal policy and budget decisions. For more information, visit www.ffcampaignforchildren.org.
This letter signed by 160 leading children’s advocacy organizations urges Congress to support President Obama’s fiscal year 2016 proposed investments in child welfare. The letter was coordinated by First Focus Campaign for Children, Children’s Defense Fund, Child Welfare League of America, Foster Family-based Treatment Association, Generations United, National Foster Care Coalition, and Voice for Adoption.
By Bruce Lesley
Yes, progress on child abuse and neglect will require real investments (“Better child protection is going to cost,” May 12). But reform in Washington could accelerate progress, by focusing on prevention. Federal funding shortchanges prevention efforts that help parents manage mental health, substance abuse, financial distress, and other abuse and neglect risk factors. Today, the federal government pays $4 for foster care for every $1 on prevention. And federal foster care funding is insufficient, covering less than half of eligible kids. Continued underfunding of prevention will only drain this already-shallow funding pool.
Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., is developing legislation to invest in prevention. His plan would allow federal funds to help at-risk kids before they enter foster care, and it directs increased investments to prevention initiatives with proven track records of effectiveness. The likely result: stronger families, safer children and better value for taxpayers. Local and state resources are absolutely essential. But better federal child abuse and neglect policy would make every local and state dollar invested go further. If Minnesota wants better outcomes for kids, Minnesota’s leaders in Congress must also reform child abuse and neglect funding...
Bruce Lesley, Washington, D.C.
The writer is president of the First Focus Campaign for Children.