A group of national, state, and local organizations dedicated to the well-being of vulnerable children and families has written a Letter to Congress to urge immediate Congressional action in support of families involved in child welfare, and the organizations that serve them, as they manage the stress and disruptions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizations are invited to join in signing the letter (Sign on here).
The letter highlights the need the following investments:
- Increase funding to CAPTA Title II Community-Based Child Abuse Prevention (CB-CAP) grants by $1 billion to quickly deploy resources directly to locally-driven prevention services and programs.
- Increase funding to Title IV-B, Part 2, the MaryLee Allen Promoting Safe and Stable Families Program (PSSF) by $1 billion
- Ensure the FMAP rate increase is provided to the new Title IV-E Prevention Program.
- Increase funding to kinship navigator programs by $20 million to ensure access to information and resources for older relative caregivers at acute risk of COVID-19, such as food, health and safety supplies, and other necessities.
- Increase funding to CAPTA Title I by $500 million to ensure state and local child protection systems can adapt to these new circumstances while continuing to respond quickly to the reports of child abuse and address barriers to ordinary service delivery during the pandemic.
- Increase funding to the Court Improvement Program (CIP) by $30 million to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on the functioning of child welfare courts.
- Increase funding to Title IV-E Chafee funds by $500 million to allow states additional funding to support older youth in care and transitioning out of care.
Further, we support the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) Coalition request to increase funding to the Social Services Block Grant by several billion dollars to help states provide critical services and supports tailored to the needs of their community, including child protective services, child abuse prevention services, and foster care. These funds can fill in gaps not covered elsewhere and backfill many human services, given the flexibility of SSBG. This should also include a set-aside for Tribes, which does not currently exist