CYF Update

Children, Youth and Family News
Friday, December 11, 2020



LSA CYF members,

If you have any questions, would like to be added to the CYF Update mailing list, or have recommendations for future webinars, please contact Caitlyn Gudmundsen at

To view all previous issues of our CYF Update newsetters, prior webinars on a wide variety of EBPs and other topics, Family First Act resources, and more, please visit our CYF members-only resource page. Contact for the login and password.

LSA Updates

Announcing Our COVID-19 Vaccine Resources Hub  We have heard interest from the Lutheran Services in America network in peer guidance & resources on developing COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution and Communication plans for your organizations.  

In response, Lutheran Services in America has created a COVID-19 Vaccine Resources Hub which will be updated daily with the latest resources including:

*Please email if your leadership would be interested in a peer forum to discuss current strategies or recommend additional resources.

Council on Accreditation Membership As a reminder, your membership with Lutheran Services in America makes you eligible for a discount on a membership with the Council on Accreditation. Please contact Caitlyn Gudmundsen at with questions.

National Influenza Vaccination Week National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) is December 6 – 12, 202. NIVW is an annual observance in December to remind everyone 6 months and older that there’s still time to get vaccinated against flu to be protected during the winter and holiday months. Together, we can use NIVW as a nationwide call to action to encourage everyone, who have not already, to get their annual flu shot—especially those with chronic conditions. Visit CDC’s NIVW Digital Toolkit page for more resources and information on how to participate in NIVW.

Advocacy Updates

LSA Advocacy Update

Congressional leaders suggest adding COVID-19 relief provisions to must-pass spending bill: This week the House of Representatives passed a one-week stop-gap spending bill to keep the government open through December 18th.  The measure is currently on the Senate floor and must be passed before midnight today to avoid a government shutdown.  The one-week extension would allow more time for negotiations on an otherwise stalled COVID-19 relief package.  If Congress does not act before adjournment, COVID-19 relief enacted in the spring, including unemployment benefits and a housing eviction moratorium, will expire at the end of the year.  While negotiations are slowly progressing there remain fundamental differences between Democrats and Republicans and Senate Republican leadership and the Trump Administration on what that package should include.  Disagreement centers on state and local government aid, liability protections for businesses related to the virus and the extension of unemployment benefits.  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer are suggesting that the $908 billion package offered by a bipartisan group of Senators last week should be the base bill for negotiations, while a White House $916 billion proposal offered this week appears to fall short largely due to its lack of continued unemployment benefits.  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has offered to forgo both liability protections and state and local government aid to get to a package that both the House and Senate can pass.  All the proposals include extension of the Paycheck Protection Program, however all limit the extension in some way, such as the bi-partisan Senate proposal outline, which limits eligibility to businesses with 300 or fewer employees.  Lutheran Services in America continues to advocate for PPP and additional relief for nonprofits of all sizes. Today, we ask you to join us in an URGENT FINAL PUSH to send a message to your lawmakers: don't adjourn without passing legislation that includes significant, urgently needed financial relief for nonprofits. Click here for our NEW call to action to tell your members of Congress that you need relief now.

Wyden, Jayapal Introduce New Legislation to Provide Alternatives to Incarceration for Parents and Caregivers to Keep Families Together, Children Out of Foster Care

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., introduced new legislation to create an alternative to incarceration for eligible parents and caregivers and provide them the resources they need so their children can stay safely at home instead of entering the foster care system.

The Finding Alternatives to Mass Incarceration: Lives Improved by Ending Separation Act (FAMILIES Act) would allow federal judges to divert parents and caregivers from incarceration into a comprehensive program that would better serve them, their families and society by offering resources, services and training to meet their unique needs. The legislation is modeled after successful programs in Oregon and Washington state that have kept hundreds of families together and been key to reducing recidivism. Press release here.

Senators Hassan, Cornyn, Smith Lead Bipartisan Bicameral Group of Lawmakers in Calling for Final Passage of Child Welfare Bills This Year

U.S. Senators Maggie Hassan (D-NH), John Cornyn (R-TX), and Tina Smith (D-MN) led a bipartisan, bicameral group of their colleagues in calling for the House to pass two pieces of legislation, which unanimously passed the Senate earlier this year, to help prevent child abuse and improve mental health support for at risk children. Read more here.

Senator Hassan, Colleagues Encourage National Institute of Mental Health to Prioritize Study of Mental Health of Children and Young Adults During Pandemic

U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and additional colleagues in urging the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) to prioritize efforts to study and understand the impact of the pandemic on the mental health of children and young adults. Read more here.

Virtual Meetings and Resources

Free Online Consumer CV19 CheckUp

CV19 CheckUp is an online system developed to help Americans be safer, healthier, and ensure their individual needs are met during the pandemic. CV19 CheckUp asks users to complete an easy, quick, confidential questionnaire. A personalized report is immediately provided, outlining the user’s level of risk and offering recommendations and resources to reduce those risks. CV19 CheckUp employs artificial intelligence and data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). Learn more here.

STOP THE CYCLE: LCFS' Annual Meeting 

Date: January 21st Time: 1 - 3 PM Join Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois for a virtual community meeting as we explore ways to achieve racial equity in the child welfare system and create equitable outcomes for children and families of color. Register here.

Webinar Recording: Parents and Caregivers: A Community-Based Multidisciplinary Approach to Strengthening Families 

In this webinar from the American Bar Association's Center on Children and the Law, Birth Parent National Network leaders and lawyers who work as part of interdisciplinary legal representation teams shared on the importance of parents and caregivers working together and how legal team members can support it. Find the recording here.

Child Welfare, Juvenile Justice, Education, and Behavioral Health News

Do We Need to Abolish Child Protective Services?

In 2018 Joyce McMillan left CWOP, and a coalition of parents and social workers, some of whom had once worked for ACS, created the Parent Legislative Action Network to work toward abolishing child protective services’ harmful practices. There are, of course, instances of terrible child abuse, and it’s the mission of ACS and child welfare agencies across the country to intervene. But often the child is not in danger and the caseworker has made a judgment call based only on the way the family is living. Read more here.

Supporting Children and Families Affected by the Opioid Epidemic: Emerging Policy Considerations

The opioid epidemic is one of the largest public health crises in a generation, and it takes place against a backdrop of deep and growing structural inequality in the nation’s social, economic, and political landscapes. To date, most of the response to the opioid epidemic has focused on people directly affected by problem drug use and addiction. Yet, about 8.7 million children ages 17 and younger live in households with at least one parent with a substance use disorder, and an estimated 623,000 parents with opioid use disorder live with children.

Read the Urban Institute’s full report here.

Lost in the Masked Shuffle and Virtual Void: Children and Youth Experiencing Homelessness Amidst the Pandemic

Schools provide safety, stability, and services for children and youth experiencing homelessness, as well as the education that is necessary to avoid homelessness as adults. However, in order to benefit from targeted educational protections and services, children and youth must first be identified as experiencing homelessness. New survey data suggests that an estimated 420,000 fewer children and youth experiencing homelessness have been identified and enrolled by schools so far this school year – despite evidence of increasing homelessness, and despite proactive identification efforts by many school district homeless liaisons. This decrease in homeless student enrollment, combined with previous estimates of under-identification, means that as many as 1.4 million children and youth experiencing homelessness may be un-identified and unsupported by their school during the pandemic. Survey responses also demonstrate significant unmet basic needs, as well as the failure of federal CARES Act dollars to reach children and youth experiencing homelessness. If our nation is ever to recover from COVID-19, we must increase outreach to and support for children, youth, and families experiencing homelessness through public schools and early childhood programs, and prioritize their education and well-being in all public systems of care. Read the School House Connection’s report here.

Letter to Child Welfare Leaders: IV-E Flexibilities

This letter from Associate Commissioner Jerry Milner addresses flexibility related to the title IV-E prevention program, allowing programs and services to be adapted to a virtual environment to help agencies meet the critical needs of children, young people, parents and caregiver during the pandemic. Read more here.

Indigenous-Led Survey Centers Boarding School, Adoption Experiences

The Child Removal in Native Communities Survey centers the experiences of American Indian and Alaskan Native people who were forced into boarding schools and the foster care system, focusing on the generational impact of these practices. Led by Native researchers, it is meant to study the trauma inflicted on Indigenous communities and subsequent healing. Read more here.

Federal Grant Opportunities

Statewide Family Network Grant Program

SAMHSA’s Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) is accepting applications for fiscal year 2021 Statewide Family Network grant program to more effectively respond to the needs of children, youth, and young adults with serious emotional disturbances (SED) and their families. Read more here. Closing date: Jan. 4, 2021.

Sexual Risk Avoidance Education (SRAE) Program

Forecasted HHS-2021-ACF-ACYF-SR-1927-- SRAE funds programs for youth which exclusively implement education in sexual risk avoidance. Programs also teach youth the benefits associated with self-regulation, success sequencing for poverty prevention, healthy relationships, goal setting, and resisting sexual coercion, dating violence, and other youth risk behaviors such as underage drinking or illicit drug use without normalizing teen sexual activity. Learn more here.

Estimated Post date Feb. 24, 2021. Estimated Closing date: April 25, 2021.

Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP) Competitive Grants

Forecasted HHS-202-ACF-ACYF-AK-1929 Department of Health and Human Services Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP) funds education programs to youth that must teach both abstinence and contraception for the prevention of pregnancy. Learn more here. Estimated Post date: Mar. 21, 2021 Estimated Closing date: May 20, 2021.