January 8, 2021
Our President & CEO Tracy Wareing Evans took a few moments to share a special message in light of this week's happenings in Washington—view it here. As all of us continue to process what happened, we are reminded as to what undergirds and guides our collective work—people and public service. We are humbled and honored to work alongside you, our members and partners, to continue to build common ground and advance well-being for all people across the nation. 

We have much to look forward to in the new year and much to accomplish. Please join our new virtual mini-series of health and human services collective learning, Third Thursday 360, beginning Thursday, January 21. Bringing policy, practice, and program together on one platform, the series will deliver rich content with an array of sessions and networking opportunities.

We wish everyone a safe, healthy, and peaceful 2021.
Regulatory Updates
Final Rule Employment and Training Opportunities in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

On January 4, 2021, the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) issued a final rule, “Employment and Training Opportunities in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program,” effective March 8, 2021, to implement changes made by section 4005 of The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (Pub. L. 115- 334) to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Employment and Training (SNAP E&T) program. The new rule includes a number of provisions impacting SNAP E&T programs, including coordination and consultation with workforce development boards, changes to E&T components, including allowing subsidized employment as an eligible component, new case management requirements, a newly established provider determination when an individual is ill-suited for an E&T component, establishing workforce partnerships as an eligible work activity, and other provisions.

HHS Finalizes Regulatory Sunset Rule

Today, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) finalized a rule that requires the Department to review existing regulations once every ten years to reassess its appropriateness and regulatory impact. Regulations that are not reviewed in a timely manner would automatically expire.

Child and Family Well-Being
ACF Issues Court Improvement Guidance 

The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) has released guidance to states on submitting a new 5 year plan (FY 2022-2026) and applying for funding through the Court Improvement Project (CIP) for FY 2022. The guidance details eligibility requirements and grant application procedures.

ACF Releases Recommendation for Improving Permanency and Well-being of Foster Youth

The Administration for Children and Families’ (ACF) Youth Engagement Team released a report that details three key factors in improving permanency. The report focuses on permanency with kin, relational permanency, and older youth adoption. The report was developed from a series of round table discussions with foster youth and ACF leadership, including Associate Commissioner, Jerry Milner.

CMS Guidance: Opportunities in Medicaid and CHIP to Address SDOH

On Thursday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released guidance in the form of a State Health Official Letter. The letter describes opportunities under Medicaid and CHIP to better address social determinants of health (SDOH) and to support states with designing programs, benefits, and services that can more effectively improve population health, reduce disability, and lower overall health care costs in the Medicaid and CHIP programs by addressing SDOH.

Employment and Economic Well-Being
DOL Issues Guidance on FPUC and MEUC

The U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Employment and Training Administration (ETA) has issued updated guidance that provides implementation information to states regarding two unemployment insurance programs: Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) and Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation (MEUC). The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 reauthorized the payment of FPUC benefits and created the new MEUC program on December 27, 2020. This guidance provides states with important information about the extension of FPUC, and the initial program authorization of MEUC.

FNS Issues Guidance on Temporary Increase in SNAP Benefits

The USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) posted guidance on the recent temporary 15% increase in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits that was authorized in the Consolidated Appropriations Act. The legislation requires that the increased maximum allotments take effect beginning on January 1, 2021, and remain for each subsequent month through June 30, 2021. This increase in benefits is in addition to the Emergency Allotments authorized in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.

APHSA Partner Updates
RFP - Coordinating SNAP & Nutrition Supports
APHSA is partnering with Share Our Strength to offer a new grant opportunity for state SNAP agencies to increase coordination between their SNAP program and other nutrition supports to reduce childhood hunger. The demonstration project will fund 3-5 states and APHSA will serve as the grant administrator to support cohort learning. The RFP is due by January 29, 2021.
Upcoming Webinars & Virtual Events
APHSA Leadership Corner Series: Conversations to Spark Inspiration and Innovation
Stay tuned for more Leadership Corner sessions in 2021! We'll be back soon with more conversations to spark inspiration and innovation. If you missed any of the sessions you can access recordings here.
Webinar - Roundtable on the 2021 Poverty/Opportunity Policy Landscape 
Join Spotlight, the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), and the Brookings Institution for a conversation about poverty and opportunity policy proposals most likely to get bipartisan traction in a new era of a Biden administration and a closely-divided Congress. The virtual event will feature the voices of policy experts on both sides of the aisle and key topics will include COVID-19 relief to low-income communities, SNAP increases, family and medical leave, the continuing legislative battle over the Affordable Care Act, and more.

Thursday, January 14, 11:00 AM-12:30 PM EST
Join the Urban Institute for a discussion about how community engaged methods (CEM) can amplify the power of people with lived experience in rigorous, high-quality research. CEM are one set of tools to limit further harm, to develop more effective programs, policies, and systemic changes, and to further invest in communities who have been marginalized throughout history. Whether we call it civic engagement, human-centered design, or community-based participatory research, CEM seek to shift decisionmaking power, respond to histories of harm, and prioritize sustainable interventions.
Thursday, January 14, 12:00-12:45 PM EST

A public information campaign must be part of every state’s Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) plan. A robust P-EBT communications and outreach plan allows SNAP and child nutrition state agencies, elected officials, cities, school districts, and community-based organizations to work together to reduce confusion and the number of inquiries to which they must respond. Join this webinar with the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) to learn about effective state communications strategies from the first round of P-EBT, as well as resources FRAC and partners have developed to assist your efforts.

Thursday, January 14, 3:00 PM EST
Webinar - Event Information: Strategies to Increase School Meal Application Returns

With school districts across the country offering free meals to all students through the summer nutrition programs and many children attending school remotely, schools have struggled to collect school meal applications. These forms help link families to various benefits, including Pandemic EBT. Join this webinar with the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) to learn about best practices to collect applications during COVID-19, and resources FRAC and partners have developed to assist your efforts.

Tuesday, January 19, 2:00 PM EST
APHSA Third Thursday 360: Virtual Mini-Series of Health and Human Services Collective Learning

Beginning Thursday, January 21, join us for an exciting new virtual mini-series! Slated to take place from January to June on the Third Thursday of the month, each event will offer rich content equivalent to a day spent at a traditional conference with an array of sessions and networking opportunities. ​Bringing policy, practice, and program together on one platform, this unique series will showcase best practices and lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic and will also zoom in on agency management in child welfare, SNAP, TANF, IT, performance management, and child care.

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!
AHPSA Webinar - Creating the “Next Normal” in Human Services: Redesigning Service Delivery to Increase Capacity and Meet Demand
It is critical that human services agencies process requests for services with limited in-person contact as quickly as possible to provide supports to all qualifying customers impacted by COVID-19. Join Change & Innovation Agency for a roundtable discussion with human services colleagues as they discuss their experiences leading their agencies through these unprecedented times and how they are creating the “next normal” in service delivery by transforming operations to meet workload demand - now and for the foreseeable future.
Thursday, January 28, 2:00-3:15 PM EST
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.