Federal Policy Updates

FY2016 Federal Budget

In February, President Obama released his proposed Fiscal Year 2016 Federal Budget. See Every Child Matters Education Fund’s blog post, President Obama’s Budget Delivers for Children, for a summary of how the president’s budget would impact our nation’s children. In April, the Senate and House passed separate budget resolutions, H. Con. Res. 27 and S. Con. Res. 11. Both houses have named their Budget Committee conference committee members to work toward a joint resolution. Learn more here.

For more info about the federal budget and its impact on children, and the most recent developments in the FY2016 budget process, visit the Child Welfare League of America Advocacy Center.

Legislation, 114th Congress of the United States (2015-16)

H.R. 2 – Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 – This bill reauthorized the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV). CHIP is a federal-state partnership that helps families find secure, affordable health care coverage for their children. Evidence-based home visiting initiatives like those supported by MIECHV are proven to increase parents’ knowledge and skills, improve the early learning abilities of children, reduce child abuse and neglect, and improve families’ self-sufficiency.

The House of Representatives passed the bill on March 26, 2015, and the Senate passed it on April 14, 2015. President Obama has stated that he supports the bill and intends to sign it in to law.

S. 355 – Teach Safe Relationships Act of 2015 – Relationship violence and sexual assault are major issues facing our nation, including our children. S. 355 was introduced by Senator Tim Kaine on February 3, 2015. The bill would amend the Elementary and Secondary Schools Act, with the goals of helping to ensure that students receive safe relationship behavior education and training, promoting safe and healthy relationships between students, and of providing financial assistance to schools in order to achieve those goals. Senator Kaine summarized his bill in this recent press release.

S. 369 – Supporting Adoptive Families Act – This bill, introduced on February 4, 2015, promotes efforts to prevent children from entering the foster care system through the provision of pre- and post-adoptive support services. If enacted, it would extend adoption support services to adoptions from other countries as well as domestic adoptions. It would allow for grants for developing and implementing post-adoption mental health service programs for adopted children, and would require states to collect and report information adopted children who enter into state custody as a result of the disruption of a placement for adoption or the dissolution of an adoption.Read a brief overview of the bill on The Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare’s blog, here.

Check out some of the websites and organizations we have listed on our Additional Policy Information and Resourcespage to learn about these and other federal bills related to child welfare and wellbeing.