February 26, 2021
We’re growing! APHSA is looking for a Manager of Member Engagement and Operations; see our new job opening that will focus on building relationships with current and prospective members. As a reminder, APHSA serves as a clearinghouse for job opportunities throughout the country in the health and human services field—those with job openings can post in our APHSA Career Center and job seekers can find a bevy of opportunities there.
Check out the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) recent blog post by our own Ann Flagg, Senior Director of Policy and Practice. Building a More Equitable Economy Post-Pandemic details how economic stability is a key social determinant of health and highlights how human services agencies are well positioned to address this key area.
Legislative & Regulatory Updates
H.R. 1319 The American Rescue Plan

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 was introduced in the House on Wednesday, February 24. The bill furthers the budget reconciliation process pursuant to title II of S. Con. Res. 5 and includes increased funding for child care, increased Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, a Pandemic Emergency Fund through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, and increases to certain tax credits, among many other provisions related to COVID-19 response and recovery. The House is anticipated to vote on the bill later this evening.  APHSA has previously developed a summary of the draft bill text.

Read Bill 
Child and Family Well-Being
New Prevention Services Clearinghouse Ratings

The Title IV-E Prevention Services Clearinghouse issued a new round of ratings for four programs. Two programs were found to not currently meet criteria, one was found to be “promising,” and the last was found to be at the highest level of “well-supported.” See more on the programs rated below:

HHS Postpones Regulation Repealing Nondiscrimination Protections

In response to a lawsuit filed by a foster youth organization and LGBTQ+ advocacy groups, a court order issued to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) immediately postponed the effective date of the rule. The rule would have eliminated protections preventing service providers from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, and other characteristics when providing HHS grant-funded services. The Biden Administration has stated that the Trump-era policy is now under review. President Biden issued an executive order on January 20 to extend existing federal nondiscrimination protections to LGBTQ+ people.

CDC Updates Operational Strategy for K-12 Schools

Last Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released an update to the Operational Strategy for K-12 Schools through Phased Mitigation. The strategy outlines recommendations based on the most recent evidence for schools to implement in order to slow the spread of COVID-19, and create a pathway for schools to safely re-open for in-person learning. The update includes new layered mitigation strategies and community spread indicators.

New Reports Released Measuring Number of Child Deaths Due to COVID-19

In light of the nation reaching a half-million deaths about a year after the first case of the coronavirus was recorded in the U.S., the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have released new data on the number of children killed by the disease. Although the number remains relatively small (217), parents who have experienced the death of their child are speaking out against the belief that COVID-19 does not affect children.

Employment and Economic Well-Being
USDA FNS Posts Guidance for SNAP QC Error Rate

The USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) released updated guidance for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Quality Control (QC) error rate for Fiscal Years 2020 and 2021. Given the waivers of QC reviews and other flexibilities used by SNAP in response to the pandemic, FNS will not be calculating an error rate or penalty for states for these two fiscal years.

CRS Brief on TANF and Proposed COVID-19 Pandemic Economic Relief

The Congressional Research Services (CRS) issued a brief outlining the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Pandemic Emergency Assistance Fund proposed in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. The $1 billion emergency fund would allocate funds to state TANF programs for non-recurrent short-term benefits based on a specified allocation formula. Estimates for each state's allocation are included on page 4 of the brief.

U.S. Department of Education Issues Guidance on SNAP Benefits for Eligible Students During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The U.S. Department of Education recently issued guidance to post-secondary institutions on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) eligibility for students in need. The guidance encourages post-secondary institutions to coordinate with campus stakeholders to conduct outreach to students and inform them of this benefit.

Guidance on Expanded PUA Eligibility

The Department of Labor (DOL) issued Unemployment Insurance Program Letter 16-20 providing updated guidance on expanded eligibility for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). Three additional eligibility criteria related to COVID-19 were added including: individuals who refuse to return to work that is unsafe or to accept an offer of new work that is unsafe; certain individuals providing services to educational institutions or educational service agencies; and individuals experiencing a reduction of hours or a temporary or permanent layoff.

FY 2021 SNAP E&T DATA Grants

The USDA has released a grant opportunity to support the development of state Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education & Training (SNAP E&T) data collection and reporting systems. The SNAP E&T Data and Technical Assistance (DATA) grants are meant to support State needs related to the development, collection, reporting, analysis, and use of SNAP E&T participant outcomes data. Applications are due by April 29.

USDA FNS Posts SNAP Longitudinal Data Grant Opportunity

The USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) released a grant opportunity for state governments to participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Longitudinal Data Project (SNAP LDP). This project aims to enable research on participation in and the operation of SNAP, including participation over time and across state lines. Deadline for submissions is April 13.

APHSA Partner Updates
Systems for Action Call for Proposals

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Systems for Action program seeks proposals to measure the impact of collaborations across medical, social, and public health systems that allow organizations to equitably share in the costs and the benefits, with up to $2M available in grants. Proposals are due June 9.

Last Chance: Take a News Break and Help Your Field!
It’s been an intense few week of following the news of both the election and the pandemic. We’re hoping, though, that you might be ready to pivot to a task that will make a positive contribution to your field. Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago needs your input to improve researcher-practitioner communication in child, youth and family services.  Take a break from the news and take a survey. 
Chapin Hall wants to know how researchers can best get actionable findings to those of you who work in child, youth and family services. They want your opinions about the relevance of research for what you do, your preferred modes of communication and content organization, and how you get information and continuing education now. They will share results with all those who take part so that you can see how your experience aligns with others in your field. If you have questions or concerns or any problems with the survey link, please contact Dr. Martha Van Haitsma at the University of Chicago Survey Lab at mvh@uchicago.edu. It's our last call for the survey -- let your voice be heard!
Upcoming Webinars & Virtual Events
Save the Date: APHSA 2021

With the future of in-person events still uncertain at this date, we are exploring a hybrid combination of virtual and in-person conferences for 2021. Save the dates and stay tuned for more details!

Third Thursday
Every Third Thursday January - June
Leadership Corner
March 23, May 25, July 27,
November 16
Economic Mobility & Well-Being Conference August 22-25
ISM Annual Conference & Expo
September 26-29
NSDTA Education Conference
October 3-6
AAHHSA Education Conference
October 17-20
APHSA Third Thursday 360: Virtual Mini-Series of Health and Human Services Collective Learning

Join us on the Third Thursday of each month through June - building on our January & February sessions, we're continuing with topics on Child Welfare, SNAP, TANF, IT, Performance Management, Child Care, & more. It's never too late to join in as your registration allows full access to the entire series!

Our next sessions will feature speakers from Mathematica, Accenture, and Optum on Thursday, March 18, 12:30-5:15 PM EST.

Certificates of attendance will be provided for the pursuit of continuing education (CE) credits. Pay once for entire series! Group discount available for five or more registrants. Learn more!
Three-Part Webinar Series - Moving Mindsets: The Ways Minds Can Shift

Join the Frameworks Institute for the first webinar in a three-part series to hear practical advice and lessons from real-world efforts that can guide your own work to shift mindsets. The latest report from Frameworks Institute, Mindset Shifts: "What Are They? Why Do They Matter? How Do They Happen? provides a roadmap for advocates, activists, and funders.

Friday, March 12, 1:00 PM EST
Continuing through March
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.