New Policy Changes on Title IV-E Administration and Evaluation Costs for Family First 

Children’s Bureau recently released two new questions and answers to the Child Welfare Policy Manual stating that administrative dollars can now be used for evaluation and implementation of evidence-based services under Family First. This was the first time Children’s Bureau has issued guidance on this topic. This also made clear that under title IV-E, agencies can claim IV-E administration dollars for the costs of designing a rigorous evaluation of title IV-E prevention services under FFPSA. This also includes evaluation costs associated with independent systematic review required to draw down transitional payments for programs that have not yet been rated by the Clearinghouse. To learn more, see question 8.6C in the manual.

New Rulemaking on Discrimination by Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

Recently, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that they will soon be releasing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to reverse regulations from the Obama administration that were created to protect against discrimination by sexual orientation and gender identity in the foster care and adoption system. HHS plans to remove language that would ensure that no one is denied the benefits of or subjected to discrimination based on a long list of characteristics that include race, age, gender identity, and sexual orientation. Instead, HHS would guarantee protections required by federal statute. However, existing statute does not protect for sexual orientation and gender identity, which could have major implications on programs beyond foster care and adoption. There will be an opportunity for the public to provide comments and the Alliance will share that when it becomes available. However, HHS also gave notice that they plan to stop enforcing the current rules immediately. When the proposed regulations are published, the Alliance will be in touch with advocacy opportunities to speak out on this issue.

Bipartisan Budget Meeting Scheduled for Tuesday as Appropriations Deadline Looms

Top Senate and House of Representatives Appropriations Committee leaders will meet on Tuesday to discuss the future of the federal budget. Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) and Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) will convene with House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-NY) and ranking member Kay Granger (R-TX). The four appropriators will discuss process and procedures for reaching a compromise on the federal budget. Potential sticking points are the Senate’s Homeland Security bill, which includes $5 million for border wall funding, and the Senate’s Labor-HHS-Education bill, which the House Democrats say is underfunded. 

The stopgap measure that was previously agreed to runs out on Nov. 21, and lawmakers are scrambling to find a way out of the standstill. The White House says that negotiators are discussing possible dates in December for a second stopgap measure. Both sides claim they do not want another government shutdown. The specter of the forthcoming impeachment inquiry also hangs over the budget negotiations.

Source: Bloomberg Government

Department of Health and Human Services Rolls Out FindTreatment.Gov

On Oct. 30, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) launched a new website, FindTreatment.gov, which will link Americans with substance abuse treatment providers in their area. The website provides a list of 13,000 state-licensed facilities where individuals can find treatment. In an easily-accessible manner, individuals can search for treatment, payment and insurance options all in one place. Given that 19.3 million Americans had substance abuse disorder in 2018, FindTreatment.gov will be a critical tool in linking families with services.

Source: HHS

Department of Labor Announces Final Overtime Rule

The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that its Final Overtime Rule, which will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2020, will affect 7% of nonprofit workers, compared to 5% of for-profit employees. The rule increases the salary threshold for positions that are exempt from overtime pay. According to the Fair Labor Standards Act, individuals who are paid salary must, among other things, be paid above a certain threshold to be exempt from overtime pay. The DOL rule will raise this threshold from $23,660 to $35,568 per year. This rule change will mean that employers must pay overtime to workers earning below the new threshold or raise their salaries to the new threshold. In 2016, the Obama Administration tried to raise the threshold to $47,476 per year, though a federal district court in Texas struck it down.

Source: National Council of Nonprofits

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