Welfare Watch September 28, 2016

From Children's Defense


The Senate may leave TONIGHT! Don’t let the Senate leave before passing the Family First Prevention Services Act! Call your Senators NOW!

The Senate needs to hear from us NOW! Please join us, no matter if this is your first or fourth time contacting your Senators on passing the Family First Prevention Services Act (S. 3065/H.R. 5456)!The bill has to pass the Senate leaves for recess, which could be as early as today!

As of today, it has been 100 days since the House of Representatives unanimously passed the Family First Prevention Services Act. In those 100 days an estimated 421 children have died from maltreatment, 190,281 children were victims of abuse and neglect, and 40,179 children were removed from their families and placed into foster care. We cannot afford to make our most vulnerable children wait any longer for these critically important reforms.  We must act NOW!

Please continue to call and email both of your Senators and encourage your networks to do the same, even if they contacted the Senators offices last week or yesterday. See below for the action alert from yesterday to share with your networks!

Time is Running Out!

Urge Your Senators to Support Critical Child Welfare Legislation

Time is running out for Congress to pass the Family First Prevention Services Act, a landmark bipartisan bill that would strengthen the child welfare system. Today, child welfare advocacy partners across the country are taking part in a Day of Action to urge the Senate to pass this legislation without delay.

Legislators are set to leave Washington by the end of this week, and after October 1, $400 million of the funds needed for the bill will no longer be available. Now is the time to act.

We need as many voices as possible coming together to share this message. Please join us, no matter whether this is your first or fourth time contacting your members of Congress on this issue!

Please tell your U.S. senators to cosponsor this important legislation.

Their cosponsorship is a critical means to demonstrate broad support for the bill and ensure vulnerable children are able to benefit from its critical policies. Call your Senators’ offices and use the talking points below. To reach your Senators’ offices, call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to be connected. Not sure of your Senators’ names? Click here. Be sure to call both of your Senators’ offices!

·         As your constituent, I am calling to urge Senator _____ to cosponsor the Family First Prevention Services Act (S. 3065/H.R. 5456) and ensure the Senate passes it as written without delay. The House of Representatives passed the bill with unanimous support in June. It is now time for the Senate to Act by passing the bill.

·         This bill would improve the lives of vulnerable children and families in [insert state]. It would allow child welfare dollars to be used for prevention services to keep families together and prevent unnecessary foster care placements.

·         Acting now is critical- $400 million in funding to pay for this essential bill becomes unavailable on October 1.

·         Please let Senator ____ know how important the Family First Prevention Services Act is, and that children and families in his/her state would benefit from the bill.

·         Thank you.

Not able to make phone calls? Click here to send an email your Senators.

Social Media Advocacy

You can also join the conversation on social media. Be sure to include both of your Senators’ Twitter handles in your messages! Click here to find your Senators’ Twitter handles. Sample tweets are listed below:

·         #FamilyFirstAct is a bipartisan, bicameral opportunity to improve the child welfare system. Congress, please support & #putkids1st.

·         Time is running out for the #FamilyFirstAct to pass to improve the child welfare system. Congress, please support & #putkids1st.

·         (state) pediatrician/advocate/foster youth (organization name or handle) on how  #FamilyFirstActwould protect children & #putkids1st. (link to op-ed/blog/resource)

·         RT this post on AAP/CDF blog: https://twitter.com/AmerAcadPeds/status/780529851044212736

Bill Background

·         Children in or at-risk for entering foster care are especially vulnerable as they are more likely to be exposed to trauma and often have complex health needs. Using an evidence-based, prevention-focused approach, the Family First Prevention Services Act offers states the flexibility to use federal foster care funding to support mental health, substance abuse and in-home parenting skills programs for families of children at-risk of entering foster care.

·         The bill also ensures children are placed in a non-family setting only if necessary to meet their needs, and that congregate care, or group home, facilities, when needed, are accredited and have licensed clinical and nursing staff.

Click here for a summary of the legislation.

Cosponsors of Family First Prevention Services Act:

Sen. Bennet, Michael F. [D-CO]*

Sen. Blumenthal, Richard [D-CT]

Sen. Blunt, Roy [R-MO]

Sen. Brown, Sherrod [D-OH]

Sen. Casey, Robert P., Jr. [D-PA]

Sen. Collins, Susan [R-ME]

Sen. Coons, Christopher A. [D-DE]

Sen. Flake, Jeff [R-AZ]

Sen. Grassley, Chuck [R-IA]*

Sen. King, Angus S., Jr. [I-ME]

Sen. Kirk, Mark Steven [R-IL]

Sen. Markey, Edward J. [D-MA]

Sen. Murkowski, Lisa [R-AK]

Sen. Murphy, Christopher S. [D-CT]

Sen. Peters, Gary C. [D-MI]

Sen. Reed, Jack [D-RI]

Sen. Stabenow, Debbie [D-MI]

Sen. Udall, Tom [D-NM]

Sen. Warner, Mark R. [D-VA]

Sen. Warren, Elizabeth [D-MA]

Sen. Wicker, Roger F. [R-MS]

Sen. Wyden, Ron [D-OR]*

* = Original cosponsor

Stefanie Sprow

Deputy Director, Child Welfare and Mental Health 

Children's Defense Fund 
25 E Street, NW

Washington, DC 20001
p  (202) 662-3568    f   (202) 662-3550


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The Georgia Conference on Children and Families  - November 2-4, 2016