October 9, 2020
Congress will be on recess until November 9. We will continue to publish as needed with current events and also keep you updated via twitter and our blog. You can also continue to access our COVID-19 related resources including our policy analysis and a collection of federal guidance here.

Check out our latest blog post, exploring a toolkit to help agencies plan a path forward and make more informed decisions on tech during COVID-19.

We are hiring - check out our recent job openings in our Career Center, including listings for a SNAP E&T Project Manager, Knowledge Mobilization Coordinator, Organizational Effectiveness Consultant, and Data and Technical Assistance Specialist/Analyst.
Legislative Updates
S4747 Informing Grandfamilies Act

U.S. Senators Bob Casey (D-PA) and Todd Young (R-IN) introduced the bipartisan Informing Grandfamilies Act, which would help connect grandparents and other relative caregivers with available resources and support to raise relative children. The Act would require states to directly communicate with grandparents who receive or are applying for cash assistance through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program to provide information about additional supports such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) and Medicaid. The bill would also require states to inform grandparents about potential options for the family to receive financial support on behalf of the child through the child welfare system. The bill was introduced last week and referred to the Committee on Finance.

Child and Family Well-Being
Administration for Children and Families (ACF) Summary of Waiver Approvals

The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) has released this updated summary of all the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) waiver approvals submitted from March 1 until now. This list shows all of the states, territories, and tribal nations that have applied and been approved for CCDF since the beginning of the pandemic. 

HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) Releases a Snapshot of State Agency Approaches to Child Care During COVID-19

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) conducted an audit to provide a national snapshot of State-level approaches to some of the issues posed by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in child care settings. The OIG’s objective was to identify the approaches that CCDF lead agencies in each State adopted to ensure access to safe child care as well as to protect the providers rendering that care in their CCDF programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

CMS and ACF Issue a Joint Guidance on the Support for Family-Focused Residential Treatment

This information bulletin released by the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services (CMS) and the Administration for Children, Youth and Families (ACF) identifies existing opportunities and flexibilities for Title IV-E programs and Medicaid to support family-focused residential treatment and addresses how states can coordinate efforts and funding between these programs.

HUD Notice PIH 2020-28: FYI Vouchers for the Youth to Independence Initiative

On October 6, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued a notice expanding the Foster Youth to Independence (FYI) program to reach more youth aging out of foster care. The notice lifts restrictions that prevented some Public Housing Authorities (PHAs) from being able to apply for the FYI program, specifically PHAs that currently had Family Unification Program (FUP) vouchers. Now, all Public Housing Authorities across the country that manage Housing Choice Voucher programs, which is most PHA, are eligible to apply for FYI vouchers for youth aging out of foster care.

Employment and Economic Well-Being
House Ed & Labor and Senate Ag Send Letter to USDA Addressing Continuing Resolution

After the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2021 and Other Extensions Act was signed into law on September 30, the House Committee on Education and Labor and the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry sent a letter to the USDA that describes the intent of the legislation for the Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) program and urges the USDA to promptly provide guidance that addresses the stated intent.

DOL Releases Report on Audit of the Impact of Credentials on WIOA Participants

The Department of Labor (DOL) released a report of an audit on the impact credentials have on WIOA Title I participant outcomes. DOL determined that the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) lacks adequate data to measure the impact credentials have on participants' employment outcomes. DOL has recommended that ETA develop a mechanism to measure the impact of credentials on participant outcomes and ensure states validate performance data submitted to ETA.

FNS Awards Grants to Improve SNAP Program Integrity

The USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) announced the District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, and Washington as the recipients of the Fraud Framework Implementation grants, and Montana, New Mexico, and Wyoming as the recipients of the Income Verification grants. These grants will support ongoing efforts that states are taking to enhance program integrity for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

FNS Releases SNAP Benefit Redemption Report for FY17

The USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) released their report on benefit redemption patterns for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in Fiscal Year 2017. The report looks at the number, value, and time of transactions.

Free School Meals Waivers Extended Through June 2021

The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and the Seamless Summer Option (SSO) programs have now been extended through June 30, 2021. These waivers allow schools and participating organizations to serve free meals to children under 18 without prior verification of income. These programs typically only operate through the summer, but had previously been extended through December 2020.

APHSA Partner Updates
ACF Digital Inclusion Resources for State and Tribal Human Services Leaders

The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) Office of Regional Operations (ORO) compiled this document in response to the pressing need for connectivity, devices, internet access and technical assistance so that more families have access to digital resources. Funding streams and opportunities from several federal agencies are highlighted, as well as information to learn more about digital inclusion such as policy and data briefs from both federal agencies and external organizations.

Upcoming APHSA Virtual Events
APHSA Leadership Corner Series: Conversations to Spark Inspiration and Innovation

Join us virtually on Wednesday, October 14 from 1:00-2:15 PM EDT for our next session, "My Journey from Boxing Ring to Boardroom: 5 Essential Virtues for Life and Leadership," featuring Héctor Colón. There are five essential virtues that influenced Héctor Colón’s path from being bullied, to the boxing room, then to the boardroom. These virtues have transformed him into the person and Servant CEO he is today. In his presentation, you will experience his touching and inspirational story. You also will learn how the 5 essential virtues can change you as a person and a leader too.

If you missed any of our earlier events or may have experienced technical issues, you can access recordings here.
Experience AAHHSA 360: Conference Registration

The American Association of Health & Human Services Attorneys (AAHHSA) will be holding a two-day virtual event to facilitate the exchange of information between attorneys and promote pragmatic innovation in the field of H/HS services. Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits will be available with live and on-demand sessions. Group discounts are available.

October 20-21, 2020
Upcoming Webinars & Events
Advancing Health Equity Science, Practice, & Outcomes:
A Culture of Health Listening Workshop

The National Academy of Medicine Culture of Health Program will host a public meeting to examine gaps, barriers, priorities, and opportunities for decision-makers advancing health equity through policy. The Culture of Health Program is a multiyear collaborative effort to identify strategies to create and sustain conditions that support equitable good health for everyone in America.

Wednesday, October 14 , 11:00 AM-3:30 PM EDT
APHSA Webinar - Improving Economic Stability for Young Parents – Spotlight on Kentucky & Massachusetts

Join us along with Third Sector and representatives from the Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA), and the Kentucky Department of Family Support (DFS) to hear how they are working to better meet the needs of young parent families through TANF-funded programs. Examples will include place-based adjustments, cross-agency coordination, and gathering ongoing feedback from participants to inform program improvements. The Kentucky Works Program will share how they are working to establish participant and frontline staff “feedback loops” to better understand the needs of young parents in order to identify more enhanced, targeted TANF funded services to promote economic stability. MA DTA will share their new approach to using TANF funding in flexible and effective ways to support young parents through their Young Parents Program.

Thursday, October 15, 1:00-2:00 PM EDT
APHSA Webinar - Insights for Community Action Agencies (CAAs): Designing Better Programs to Support Young Parent Families

Join us along with representatives from the National Community Action Partnership, Third Sector and the Waccamaw Economic Opportunity Council (WEOC) from South Carolina to discuss the importance of elevating young parent families as a priority population and the importance of leveraging a 2Gen approach within Community Action Agencies. A key topic will include how to measure program performance to achieve 2-gen outcomes using ROMA in conjunction with on-going young parent and provider feedback.

Monday, October 19, 12:00-1:15 PM EDT
APHSA Webinar - “If I Knew Then What I Know Now…” COVID-19 Lessons Learned and Planning for the Future

Join us with Maximus for a review of COVID-19 impacts. In an effort to better understand how the pandemic has impacted governments, and to facilitate the sharing of experiences and insights, Maximus conducted a survey of state and county leaders. In this interactive webinar, we reveal the results of the survey and discuss possible implications with our panel of state and county leaders. Join us to listen, learn, and share your insights in this data-driven, peer group discussion. 

Thursday, October 22, 3:00-4:15 PM EDT
APHSA Career Center - Post Your Open Positions Today

APHSA serves as a clearinghouse for job opportunities throughout the health and human services (H/HS) field. Employers reach a wide audience of candidates looking for careers in H/HS and job seekers will find a bevy of opportunities throughout the country.