LSA Public Policy Priorities
All children are entitled to safe and loving homes in which to thrive. The responsibility for the protection of children's welfare is the shared responsibility of the federal government, state government, faith and community-based organizations, communities and families.
LSA Child Welfare Priorities for the 111th Congress
- Implementation of Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act
- Reauthorization of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) and funding of CAPTA at its full authorized level of $200 million for state and discretionary grants and $80 million for community-based grants.
- Increase funding for the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) from current level of $1.7 billion to authorized level of $2.8 billion
Implementation of the Fostering Connections and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008
On October 7, 2008, the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act of 2008 was signed into law. Widely regarded as the most sweeping child welfare legislation of the past 15 years, the law promotes permanent families by making kinship care and kinship guardianship more accessible options, offers federal supports for families who adopt children with special needs and provides stronger supports for young adults aging out of foster care among other provisions. LSA was especially supportive of the provision expanding funding for child welfare worker training to private, nonprofit organizations.
Many provisions of the Fostering Connections and Increasing Adoptions Act went into effect immediately; others will go into effect by September 30, 2009. LSA is working with other organizations to guide the implementation strategy determined by the Administration for Children and Families in the Department of Health and Human Services. Many decisions about implementation are taking place on the state level, so LSA members should be engaged with their state departments of human services and children and family services to ensure smooth, effective implementation of the important provisions affecting their organization’s child welfare practices.
Reauthorization of CAPTA
Reauthorization of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) was to take place during 2008, but did not come up for a vote in the 110th Congress. LSA and its members call on the 111th Congress to address and pass the reauthorization of CAPTA to provide needed supports and improvements to the child welfare community.
CAPTA contains three main programs: state grants, which help states improve their child protective services; discretionary grants, which provide assistance to states for their practices in preventing and treating child abuse and neglect; and community based grants, which provide opportunities for states and private agencies to partner to provide child abuse prevention programs. CAPTA state and discretionary grants are authorized at $200 million and community grants are authorized at $80 million, but these programs have been consistently underfunded. In FY08, state and discretionary grants were funded at $64 million, and community-based grants were funded at $42 million. LSA requests that Congress fund CAPTA at its full authorized amounts and include reauthorization of the Adoption Opportunities Act within CAPTA, allowing financial support for improvement of adoption services.
The Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) is crucial to meeting increasing demand for a variety of health and human service needs on the local level. Funding is provided to states, which in turn contract with nonprofit organizations to provide essential services to their communities. LSA members use SSBG funds to meet the pressing needs in their community, from child protective services and domestic violence to nutrition assistance for seniors. This program is currently funded at $1.7 billion; LSA supports funding for SSBG at its full authorized level of $2.8 billion.
For more information on child welfare related topics, please visit the following websites: