August 4, 2021

Welcome to the latest issue of The Connection, APHSA’s newsletter offering updates and resources pertaining to employment and economic well-being, child and family well-being, and H/HS integration.

Our latest Cornerstone series brief, Harnessing Data & Technology to Construct a Human Services System that Supports Thriving & Equitable Communities, highlights how recent innovations in technology have opened a path for H/HS agencies to dramatically strengthen their data and technology infrastructure, while providing fairer and more equal access to crucial benefits and services. It shares recommendations on concrete policy steps that the Federal Government can take to help human services agencies create next-generation systems. Check out our additional Cornerstone Series briefs.
APHSA Updates
Registrations are now open for our upcoming conferences! We are looking forward to welcoming our members & partners back to in-person conferences starting in August 2021.

ISM Awards of Excellence - The Information Technology Solutions Management for Human Services (ISM) awards celebrate state & local HHS agencies that are in the forefront of IT development & implementation. Nominate your agency! Deadline is August 6. Submit here.

NSDTA Awards - The National Staff Development and Training Association (NSDTA) awards recognize outstanding individuals and initiatives within your organization which are helping advance the delivery of health and human services practices or programs to staff. Deadline is August 20. Submit here.
Meeting Safely: APHSA is committed to putting the health, safety and well-being of attendees first and foremost as we continue planning for hybrid conferences. Please review the event Code of Conduct and FAQs. You can also access our Meeting Safely materials on each conference website, reachable via our events page.

Does SNAP Cover the Cost of a Meal in Your County? July 26, 2021 - This interactive map from the Urban Institute compares the maximum SNAP benefit per meal with the average cost of a low-income meal in 2020 with and without the 15 percent increase. Click on a county to zoom in and see more details.

State and Local Child Tax Credit Outreach Needed to Help Lift Hardest-to-Reach Children Out of Poverty, July 29, 2021 - This report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities shares resources and suggestions for outreach to families at risk for missing out on monthly Child Tax Credit payments this year, with roughly 4 million or more children affected.

August 2, 2021 - This analysis of renters and landlords conducted by the Pew Research Center uses data from several data sources, including the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey for demographic characteristics and the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances for information on renters' income and wealth.

Child Tax Credit Tools, 2021 - These advanced Child Tax Credit tools from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau include instructions on planning selected cash flow, debt action and savings action plans. The resources are also available in Spanish.

Department of Education Releases “Return to School Roadmap,” August 2, 2021 - The Department of Education has released a “return to school roadmap” that helps prepare children, teachers, schools, and parents to return in person for the 2021-2011 school year. The roadmap details three “landmark” priorities for schools and communities; they include:
  • Prioritizing the health and safety of students, staff, and educators;
  • Building school communities and supporting students’ social, emotional, and mental health; and
  • Accelerating academic achievement.
ACF Posts State-Specific Foster Care Data for FY 2019, July 2021 - The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) has released fiscal year 2019 state specific data on foster care entry rates and disproportionality rates.

Pandemic Posed Challenges, But Also Created Opportunities for Agencies to Enhance Future Operations, July 2021 - This report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) is based an all-state survey of child welfare administrators and details the challenges and innovation the child welfare system faced during COVID-19.

Contact with Child Protective Services is Pervasive but Unequally Distributed by Race and Ethnicity in Large U.S Counties, July 2021 - This study from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences uses administrative data from the 20 most populus counties to assess racial and ethnic disparities in Child Protective Services contacts. This study explores the higher rate of Black children's homes broadly scrutinized by abuse and neglect investigators. Lastly, this study addresses the disparities in foster care. 

Reforming Tax Credits to Promote Child Opportunity and Aid Working Families, July 29, 2021 - This report from the American Enterprise Institute proposes three reforms related to ongoing tax credit debates, intended to refocus the conversation toward expanding low-income children’s opportunity and providing targeted support to working- and middle-class families.

Early Care and Education Workforce Stress and Needs in a Restrictive Anti-Immigrant Climate, August 2021 - This study from Urban Institute assesses sociopolitical stressors the Early Childhood Education workforce face in an anti-immigrant climate.

Reframing Transition Age Foster Youth: A Communications Toolkit, August 2021 - A new online communications toolkit from FrameWorks Institute offers ways to learn about transition age foster youth that builds understanding about their specific needs, while also providing support to address those needs.

Progress and Peril: Child Care at a Crossroads, August 2021 - This report from the National Association for Education of Young Children summarizes data from over 7,500 providers, and found that while relief funds have provided critical support for stabilizing child care programs and preventing more widespread permanent program closures, they are just the beginning of what is needed to recover and rebuild.

Compendium of Measures and Data Sources: Understanding Judicial Decision-Making and Hearing Quality in Child Welfare, July 20, 2021 - This report from OPRE summarizes the types and range of measures (i.e., specific research tools/instruments like interviews and surveys used to collect data) and publicly available data sources used to better understand judicial decision-making and hearing quality in child welfare.

2021 Poverty Projections: Assessing the Impact of Benefits and Stimulus Measures, July 28, 2021- This brief from the Urban Institute assessing the American Rescue Plan Act now projects a poverty rate of 7.7% for 2021, down from an earlier projection of 8.7%. The revised projection accounts for improvements in the economy, incorporates updated state-level information on pandemic-related policies, and improves the method for weighting the data to reflect 2021.
Bridging the Gap How State and Local Governments Can Create More Equitable Digital Services, 2021 - This conversation with Cisco’s Sielen Namdar weighs in on how state and local governments can help change a growing digital divide that has made it difficult for many citizens to access critical services for everything from telehealth services to remote work.