Alliance Releases New Federal Policy Agenda and Toolkit
The Alliance is pleased to publicly share its new Public Policy Toolkit. The toolkit provides helpful information on everything from planning an event with a legislator to engaging media around advocacy work. It is comprised of multiple short, informative guides that can easily help you find the information you need. Additionally, the Alliance has been conducting numerous webinars and in-person information gathering sessions, as well as engaging with members to update our Alliance policy agenda. Last week, at the Senior Leadership Conference, the Alliance policy staff officially released our updated 2019-2020 federal public policy agenda. We encourage you to review it and look forward to your feedback.
Family Separation Update from Department of Health & Human Services
The U.S Department of Health & Human Services Office of Inspector General released an issue brief detailing the current situation on Family Separation. The Office of Inspector General is responsible for overseeing the work of the department from an objective view point. The brief says that children were being separated from their families prior to the 2018 zero-tolerance policies, estimating that thousands of children were received and released prior to the June 2018 federal court case that ordered for children to be reunited with their families. This statistic is only an estimate though, since HHS was not required to account for the exact number of children separated until required by the court in June of 2018. Since June 2018, HHS has reported that 2,737 children have been separated from their parents. Read more here.
House Committee on Appropriations Reviewing the Administration’s Current Unaccompanied Children Program
The House Committee on Appropriations heard Wednesday morning from several policy experts and advocates on the Administration’s current unaccompanied children program. The harm children endure while on their journey to come to the U.S and the abuse that occurs inside agency facilities was discussed calling for Congress to make decisions that best promote the welfare of immigrant children who are often fleeing from dangerous situations.
New Federal Law Improves Evidence-Based Policy Practices
At the beginning of this year, Congress passed the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act, which sets a standard of requirements for federal government agencies to use and conduct quality research and data. The Foundations Act will require federal agencies to designate an evaluation officer position and an advisory committee that will oversee evidence-building functions. This objective, non-partisan roles will require candidates with extensive experience conducting research. All federal agencies will also need to develop an evidence-building plan that will help further develop strategies around research and evaluation.
We expect that changes will take time and will look different within each agency. The Alliance is a strong supporter of evidence-based research and informed policies. According to the Alliance’s Change in Mind Institute Director Jennifer Jones: "Through and with our strategic action network, the Alliance incubates research, practices, and policies to generate new strategies and solutions to some of society's most complex issues. The Alliance is a strong supporter of evidence-based decision making, which research shows will ultimately improve outcomes for children, families, and communities."
West Virginia Expanding School Mental Health Care
The West Virginia state legislature is set to vote on a bill that would expand access to mental health services in schools across the state. This would require schools teaching Kindergarten through 7th grade to hire 1 psychologist for every 1,000 students. Additional legislation targets mental health care to students involved and impacted by drug abuse in the state.
House and Senate Introduce Child Care Legislation
This week, both the House and Senate introduced the Child Care for Working Families Act which would provide affordable, high-quality child care for middle-class, working families. Chairman of the House Committee on Education and Labor and sponsor of the bill Bobby Scott gave the following statement.
“The high cost of childcare is a heavy burden that falls on children, families, and our economy as a whole. Children are too often denied the foundation they need to reach their potential, parents are forced to choose between child care and work, and these challenges have both short- and long-term consequences for our economy. The Child Care for Working Families Act addresses this national crisis by ensuring that all families can afford to send their children to a quality child care program that will support them through a critical stage in their lives,”
Chairman Bobby Scott, House Committee on Education and Labor.
Protecting Health Care and Social Service Providers
On Wednesday afternoon The House Committee on Education and Labor Subcommittee on Workforce Protections met to discuss ways to protect health care and social service workers from workplace violence. The National Association of Social Workers and two nurses were witnesses in the hearing explaining to the subcommittee the risk they encounter in their professions when directly providing care to those involved with drugs and with a history of violence.
Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) 2019 Priorities: House Committee on Energy & Commerce
With the change in the House of Representatives earlier this year, the House Energy and Commerce Committee is now under new leadership with Chairman Frank Pallone from New Jersey. The following are some of Chairman Pallone’s priorities for the committee this year.
- Lower the cost of health care and prescription drugs
- Strengthen Medicare and Medicaid
- Invest in green energy and broadband
- Address the current situation of climate change
- Protect net neutrality
- Provide privacy and data security protection
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