September 29, 2023

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Hello Donna,

The clock is running out to avoid a government shutdown come October 1. APHSA continues to engage state and local leaders and partners to consider the impacts. While the immediate effects on human services may be localized to a few key programs in the short term, a more protracted shutdown risks causing major disruptions for children, families, and agencies. APHSA will continue to monitor the situation and work to support our members in meeting their mission.

Legislative Updates

TANF Data Reporting for Work Participation Revised Instructions Sent to OMB for approval

After a sixty-day comment period, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Data Reporting for Work Participation was published last week for the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) approval and is open for comment through October 19, 2023. The Office of Family Assistance (OFA) has modified these documents based on comments during the previous 60-day comment period, and in particular, updated the Work Verification Plan Guidance to reflect current regulation (from 2008).

Comment Today

Final Rule Released: Separate Licensing or Approval Standards for Relatives or Kinship Foster Family Homes

On September 28, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) released a final rule revising the definition of "foster family home." The rule permits states to create separate licensing standards for kinship foster parents, which allows these caregivers to receive foster care maintenance payments (FCMP).

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Moving Human Services Upstream

The Administration Awards $20 Million to Launch Child Welfare System Program

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the ACF awarded $20 million to launch the first-ever National Center for Child Welfare Competent Mental Health Services (the Center).

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$24.5 Million in Awards in Major Expansion of the Tribal Home Visiting Program

The ACF announced $24.5 million in new awards to 34 tribes and tribal organizations to implement culturally grounded, evidence-based home-visiting programs throughout the nation. These grants are part of the Tribal Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program, which supports and promotes the health and well-being of American Indian and Alaska Native expectant families and families with young children.

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New Actions to Support Children and Families in Foster Care

The ACF released three new rules that will support kinship caregivers, protect LGBTQI+ children in foster care, and expand access to legal representation for children and families in the child welfare system. Together, they will help child welfare agencies fulfill their mission of putting children first.

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Advancing Social and Economic Mobility

SSA Proposes to Add SNAP to Definition of a Public Assistance Household

The Social Security Administration (SSA) is proposing to add the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) as an additional mean-tested public income maintenance (PIM) program to the definition of a public assistance households for purposes of their programs—particularly for the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program.

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FNS Shares Evaluation of SNAP Redemption Online

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) shared their evaluation of technology modernization for SNAP benefit redemption through online transactions. The study found that online purchasing grew over time, and delivery was more common in urban areas.

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FNS Awards Cooperative Agreement to Streamline Enrollment in WIC

FNS awarded a cooperative agreement of nearly $10 million to the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, in partnership with Benefits Data Trust and the National WIC Association, to support efforts to modernize and streamline enrollment through data matching for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).

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GAO National Review of Non-Assistance TANF Spending

Last week, the House Ways and Means Work and Welfare Subcommittee wrote a letter to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) requesting an in-depth national review of non-assistance spending in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program. In their letter, they list four key areas of concern, including state budgeting and expenditure reporting practices, populations served and performance metrics, federal and state audits, and transfers and direct spending. Read their letter.

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FNS Posts FY 24 Discretionary Exemptions for ABAWDs by State

FNS shared a state-by-state list of discretionary exemptions for fiscal year 2024 for Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWDs) in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The list is not adjusted for carryover of exemptions from past years.

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FNS Shares Analysis of RPA in SNAP

FNS shared an analysis of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) in SNAP based on case studies in Connecticut, Georgia, and New Mexico. As of January 2022, nine states were using RPA in SNAP, and insights from these case studies suggest opportunity to increase payment accuracy and reduce burden for customers.

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Administration for Children and Families submits proposed updates to the Annual Survey of Refugees

The ACF announced that it has submitted updates to the Annual Survey of Refugees to OMB for review. This survey aims to capture a nationally representative sample of refugees having arrived within the past 5 fiscal years. Results from the information gathered via the survey are made available to the public and are used to inform program planning, policy-making, and budgeting. It is anticipated that the proposed changes will result in 48 minute estimated completion time to 50 minute estimated completion time.

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Strengthening the Human Services Sector

Notice of Proposed Rule Making by the Office of Child Support Services (OCSS)

The Office of Child Support Services (OCSS) proposes to replace the gender-specific term “paternity” with the gender-neutral term “parentage” throughout the Child Support Services Program to be inclusive of all family structures served by the child support services program. Written comments on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) are due on November 27, 2023.

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Partner Events

NOHS Conference

Join Sheila J. Poole, Vice President for External Relations at APHSA, as she delivers the keynote speech at the NOHS 2023 National Conference, hosted by the National Organization for Human Services (NOHS). The event will be held at the Westin Hotel in Alexandria, VA.

November 10-13

Register Today

Strategies to Increase Digital Literacy and Create Better Long-term Outcomes for Citizens

Government agencies, working with technology industry partners, are pioneering ways to deliver digital assistance and create a more equitable distribution of opportunity. Join Adobe, an APHSA Strategic Industry Partner, to hear specific examples of the innovative programs that government is deploying to address the digital divide.

October 12, 2:00 to 3:00 PM EST 

Register Today

How Missouri Has Elevated Its Service Delivery to Help Citizens Grow to Their Fullest Potential

The state of Missouri is modernizing a common platform that places Missourians at the center of service delivery, enabling caseworkers to effectively and efficiently manage the families they support. Join Cúram by Merative, an APHSA Strategic Industry Partner, to learn how the Missouri Department of Social Services’ vision empowers residents to live safe, healthy, and productive lives.

October 11, 3:00 to 4:00 PM EST 

Register Today
Visit the Career Center

APHSA Career Center - Post Your Open Positions Today

APHSA serves as a clearinghouse for job opportunities throughout the Human Services sector. Employers reach a wide audience of candidates searching for careers and job seekers will find a number of opportunities throughout the country.

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