Pages tagged "Child Abuse & Neglect"
By Bruce Lesley
You rightly observed (“Sleep safer," May 11) that Missouri’s Legislature acted this month to protect kids from one danger, while increasing their vulnerability to another: child abuse and neglect. But Washington also has work to do, and National Foster Care Month is the time to do it.
Financial distress, unmet mental health needs, substance abuse problems and other risk factors contribute to abuse and neglect. By cutting supports for low-income families, the Legislature increased the risks. This shortsighted decision will have fiscal as well as terrible human consequences...
By Bruce Lesley
It’s ironic that child abuse prevention legislation was vetoed (“Senator considering options on veto override on child welfare bill,” April 30) during national Child Abuse Prevention Month, but Washington is an obstacle to progress, too.
Federal foster care's shrinking funding pool covers less than half of foster children today, and fewer by 2024. States tap other social services funding, but that just shifts resources from one set of kids and families to another. Worse yet, federal funding shortchanges prevention efforts that help parents manage mental health, substance abuse, financial distress and other abuse and neglect risk factors...
Washington – The United States Senate today passed legislation aimed at improving protections and support for victims of human trafficking. The Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act (S. 178) includes several provisions that would benefit child sexual abuse and trafficking victims:
- Stronger Supports and Increased Collaboration – Authorizes new state-administered supports for trafficking victims, like life skills training, educational and job services, and improved collaboration between law enforcement agencies and service providers;
- Judicial Training – Authorizes training to help judges understand child victims’ needs and the availability of community resources to meet those needs, as well as training to avoid the inappropriate criminal conviction of trafficking victims; and
- Victims Fund – Creates a new fund to provide supportive services to victims, funded by $5,000 penalties against convicted traffickers
The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a different trafficking bill, and the chambers must now reconcile differences between their proposals. This legislative effort comes on the heels of the bipartisan Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act, passed by Congress last year and enacted by President Obama. That law improves supports for children in foster care, aimed at reducing their vulnerability to trafficking.
But the Senate voted to reject an amendment (Senate Amendment 290) by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) that would have added the bipartisan Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act (S. 262) to the base bill. The bill would have extended federal housing initiatives serving runaway and homeless youth, improved training for adults likely to come into contact with runaway and homeless youth, and it would have required recipients of federal runaway and homeless youth funding to serve all eligible youth, regardless of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability. The Leahy amendment drew bipartisan support but failed 56-43 under a “unanimous consent” requiring a 60-vote supermajority for passage.
And the unanimous consent agreement reached yesterday, which allowed the bill to advance, did not permit a vote on an amendment (Senate Amendment 271) by Senator Rob Portman that would have added the bipartisan Homeless Children and Youth Act to the bill. Last year, local public schools reported serving nearly 1.3 million children, but most are ineligible for help from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) because they do not stay in HUD-funded homeless shelters and don’t meet HUD’s definition of “homeless.” The bipartisan Homeless Children and Youth Act would change HUD’s definition of “homeless” and require HUD to help all homeless children. The bill (S. 256) is sponsored in the U.S. Senate by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) and Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio). Companion legislation in the House (H.R. 576) is sponsored by Congressman Steve Stivers (R-Ohio), Congressman Rodney Davis (R-Illinois), and Congressman Dave Loebsack (D-Iowa).
Responding to the bill’s passage, the bipartisan children’s advocacy organization First Focus Campaign for Children released the following statement by its president, Bruce Lesley:
“For two years in a row, Republicans and Democrats have worked together to protect some of America’s most vulnerable children. We urge Senate and House negotiators to move quickly to deliver an anti-trafficking bill that protects kids and gives child victims the best chance to rebuild their lives.”
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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 the priority in federal policy and budget decisions. For more information, visit campaignforchildren.org.
Yes, Columbia must do more to oversight of and care for foster children (“DSS child welfare caseloads still high, agency says,” April 1st). But Washington has work to do, too.
Federal foster care funding’s shrinking pool covers less than half of foster children today, and fewer by 2024. States tap other social services funding, but that just shifts resources from one set of kids and families to another. Worse yet, federal funding shortchanges prevention efforts that help parents manage mental health, substance abuse, financial distress, and other abuse and neglect risk factors...
By Bruce Lesley
It’s encouraging that Denver is taking action on child abuse and neglect (Herald, April 8). But Washington also has work to do. Federal foster-care funding’s shrinking pool covers fewer than half of foster children today, and fewer by 2024. States tap other social-services funding, but that just shifts resources from one set of kids and families to another. Worse yet, federal funding short-changes prevention efforts that help parents manage mental health, substance abuse, financial distress and other abuse and neglect risk factors. Reform legislation in Congress would ensure that federal funds cover every foster child, but it would time-limit funding, creating incentives to find kids permanent homes and families.
Savings would be reinvested in prevention. Urge your congressional representatives to support this reform. If Colorado wants better outcomes for kids, Colorado lawmakers must reform federal child abuse and neglect funding...
Thursday, the House Health and Social Services Committee passed House Bill 27 sponsored by Representative Les Gara (D-Anchorage). The bill seeks to improve the lives of foster youth in Alaska by getting them into permanent loving homes, so they don’t keep suffering damage and neglect caused by bouncing between multiple temporary foster homes and schools. Rep. Gara thanked the members of the Health and Social Services Committee for their work on the bill.
“Foster youth deserve stability, love, and the same chances as all other children,” said Rep. Les Gara, who grew up in foster care. “Forty percent of our foster youth end up homeless or couch surfing. 24% end up in jail after the damage caused by an unstable upbringing. We are the legal guardians of these vulnerable youth and we must do a better job of caring for them.”...
On April 1, 2015, First Focus Campaign for Children sent this sign-on letter to House and Senate leadership in support of the Administration’s proposal for a five-year collaborative demonstration involving the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). It is designed to encourage states and tribes to provide evidence-based psychosocial interventions to children and youth in foster care and to reduce the inappropriate use and over-prescription of psychotropic medications.
First Focus Campaign for Children and Voice for Adoption coordinated this effort and 128 national, state, and local organizations signed on in support of the proposed demonstration. The joint proposal put forth by ACF and CMS will help coordinate efforts to build state and tribal capacity within child welfare and health care systems to more appropriately address the high rates of children who may be unnecessarily receiving psychotropic medications, often several at one time, even as few receive appropriate outpatient mental health services. The project will encourage the utilization of effective evidence-based therapeutic interventions, including therapeutic foster care, intensive in- home and community-based approaches, multisystemic therapy, and mobile response and stabilization services.
By Bruce Lesley
YES, GOVERNOR Charlie Baker must invest in stronger efforts to protect against child abuse and neglect (“Baker promised DCF reform, now he must budget for it”). But Congress also has room for improvement in its investments.
The shrinking pool of federal foster care funding covers less than half of foster children today, and will cover fewer by 2024. States tap other social services funding, but that just shifts resources from one set of kids and families to another. Worse, federal funding gaps shortchange prevention efforts that help parents manage mental health, substance abuse, financial distress, and other risk factors for abuse and neglect...
By Bruce Lesley
Nebraska’s progress on foster care (“Nebraska hits all 6 federal marks for protecting children — for the first time ever,” March 10 World-Herald) is encouraging. But Congress also has room for improvement.
The shrinking pool for federal foster care funding covers less than half of foster children today, and fewer by 2024. States tap funding for other social services, but that just shifts resources from one set of kids and families to another. Worse yet, inadequate federal funding shortchanges prevention efforts that help parents manage mental health, substance abuse, financial distress and other risk factors for abuse and neglect...
By Bruce Lesley
Sacramento is rightly pushing for reform of the overmedication of children in California's foster care system ("Senate panel examines why California foster care system 'addicted' to psychiatric drugs," Page 1A, Feb. 24). But Washington must also step up.
The president has proposed an initiative that would help states like California improve monitoring, so state officials can keep a closer eye on prescribing patterns. And it would reward states that reduce overprescribing and deliver improved mental health outcomes for kids in foster care...