The American Rescue Plan Act became law March 11, 2021. The Alliance for Strong Families and Communities and Council on Accreditation published a comprehensive summary of the legislation for human services organizations. The new law includes many important wins for our sector including access to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for midsize nonprofits, historic levels of funding for the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, a newly expanded Child Tax Credit, and more. As the bill moves into the implementation phase, there are several actions you can take, recommended by our partner the National Council of Nonprofits, to ensure resources get to the communities and organizations that need them the most. 

  • Make sure state and local governments spend their aid on nonprofit community-based organizations
  • Apply for a PPP loan now
  • Advocate to extend the PPP application deadline
  • Take advantage of the Employee Retention Credit refund

Read more about these actions from the National Council of Nonprofits.

Children’s Bureau Releases Guidance on Supporting Foster Youth & Families through the Pandemic Act

The Children’s Bureau recently released new program instruction to provide guidance on opportunities available through the Supporting Foster Youth and Families through the Pandemic Act provisions in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021. The program instruction addresses numerous topics including the youth and young adult provisions, emergency funding for the MaryLee Allen Safe and Stable Families Program, Court Improvement Program supplemental funding, Family First Prevention Services Program pandemic flexibility, and more. 

Find the entire program instruction, ACYF-CB-PI-21-04, online:

  • Attachment A: John H. Chafee Program for Successful Transition to Adulthood Additional Funding Allotments 
  • Attachment B: Educational and Training Voucher Program Additional Funding Allotments 
  • Attachment C: Title IV-E Certification: Temporary Changes Related to Aging Out of and Re-entry into and Eligibility for Title IV-E Foster Care for Older Youth 
  • Attachment D: Program Purposes of the John H. Chafee Foster Care Program for Successful Transition to Adulthood 
  • Attachment F: Court Improvement Program Supplemental Funding Allotments 
  • Attachment G: Funding Certainty Baseline for FY 2020 and Estimated Baseline for FY 2021

Source: Child Welfare & Mental Health Coalition

New Kinship Navigator Program Guidance

The Children’s Bureau has released new program instruction on temporary flexibilities for participating in the Title IV-E Kinship Navigator Program. The program instruction details:

  • Program requirements for participating in the Title IV-E Kinship Navigator Program during the COVID-19 public health emergency period from April 1, 2020 through Sept. 30, 2021
  • Temporary flexibilities in the program enacted the Supporting Foster Youth and Families through the Pandemic Act provisions in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021
  • Steps a Title IV-E agency must take in order to participate in the program during this time period

The Children’s Bureau will issue a separate program instruction on how to apply for the FY 2021 Title IV-B Subpart 2 kinship navigator funding. 

Find the entire program instruction, ACYF-CB-PI-21-05, online:

  • Attachment B: Title IV-E Plan Pre-Print Attachment – Election to Participate in Kinship Navigator Program During COVID-19 Public Health Emergency Period

Source: Child Welfare & Mental Health Coalition

Three Foster Youth Health Care Bills Introduced

Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) introduced three bills that would strengthen health care access for foster youth. The first bill, called DJay’s Law, would allow foster youth to remain on Medicaid to age 26 no matter what state they reside in, a provision that was originally in the Affordable Care Act but not implemented. The second bill, the Expanded Coverage for Former Foster Youth Act, would grant Medicaid coverage to foster youth who were placed in a legal guardianship or emancipated from foster care before the age of 18. It also discontinues the requirement that foster youth be enrolled in Medicaid to qualify for coverage until the age of 26. The last bill, the Foster Youth Dental Act, would give current and former foster youth under age 26 access to early and periodic screening, diagnostic, and treatment services, including dental services, under Medicaid.

Meals for Children Extended Through Summer

On March 9, the U.S. Department of Agriculture extended two national free meal programs until Sept. 30, 2021. The affected programs, the Summer Food Service Program and the Seamless Summer Option, provide meals to students who rely on school meals during the academic year. The two programs were initially extended through June 30; however, the department opted to provide another extension to give providers a sense of certainty during the summer months. Currently, up to 12 million children do not always have enough to eat, according to USDA. Program sites can include schools, parks, community centers, libraries, and churches. Learn more about becoming a sponsor site online.

Xavier Becerra Confirmed as HHS Secretary

With a vote of 50-49, the attorney general of California, Xavier Becerra, was confirmed as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. He will assume his position as the nation attempts to recover from an ongoing public health emergency that has taken over 530,000 lives. He will also oversee the implementation of myriad health and social policies recently passed in the American Rescue Plan, including increased tax subsidies on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchanges. As attorney general, Becerra led legal efforts to protect the ACA against Republican attempts to undermine it. Before becoming attorney general, he served 12 terms in Congress as a representative of the Los Angeles area. Susan Collins of Maine was the only Republican to vote in favor of Becerra.
Source: New York Times and Bloomberg Government

House Republicans Lift Party Ban on Earmarks

Following on the heels of Democratic efforts to revive earmarks, House Republicans voted to lift a decade-old ban on the practice, which allows members of Congress to reserve funds for projects in their districts during the appropriations process. In a secret-ballot vote of 102-84, House Republicans decided to allow its members to request earmarks, as long as they are publicly disclosed, have written justification from community members, and do not enrich individual members of Congress. These criteria closely align with the rules proposed by House Democrats, led in this effort by Rep. Rosa Delauro (D-Conn.), chair of the Appropriations Committee. DeLauro has also recommended limiting all earmarks to 1% of the discretionary budget and banning for-profit entities as recipients. While Republicans have historically opposed earmarks, current House leaders feared being at a disadvantage if they constrain their members while House Democrats, who ultimately control the chamber and its rules, do not. With both House and Senate Democrats on board for reviving earmarks, Republicans in the Senate are the final group to sign off. 


Biden Eyes Tax Increases on High Income Families to Fund Infrastructure Bill

Having just passed the American Rescue Plan, which will provide much-needed relief to poor and working families for the duration of the pandemic, the Biden administration is preparing its next major round of legislation, which will be geared toward long-term recovery. Though the administration has not put forward any concrete details or price tag for the bill, members of the cabinet and advisory team are already signaling ways to pay for it. In addition to raising taxes on families earning more than $400,000 annually, Biden’s team wants to raise the corporate tax rate to 28% from 21%. Higher capital gains and dividend taxes for individuals earning more than $1 million and higher taxes on pass-through businesses (such as LLCs and partnerships) are also under consideration. These tax increases, together with other Biden tax policies, would raise more than $4 trillion over a decade, with the top 20% of income earners assuming 93% of tax increases, according to a Tax Policy Center analysis.

Source: Bloomberg Government

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