December 11, 2020
Happy Hanukkah to all those celebrating! With the holiday season upon us, we hope everyone will consider supporting a local charity this year to any extent you are able. APHSA is supporting United Community, an Alexandria, VA based charity that works with families and individuals to transform their lives. We encourage you to find your own local organizations that need a boost this year.

We're excited to announce Third Thursday 360, our first virtual event offering of 2021! Beginning January 21, join us on the third Thursday of the month for this exciting new virtual mini-series. Slated to take place from January to June, each event will offer rich content equivalent to a day spent at a traditional conference and bring policy, practice, and program together on one platform. Learn more and register here.
Legislative Updates
Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2021, and Other Extensions Act

The Continuing Appropriations Act was passed today and prevents a temporary government shutdown through December 18. Specifically, Division A of the bill extends both the Child Care Entitlement to States (CCES) and the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) block grants, and Division B extends Medicaid and Medicare programs.

Biden’s Cabinet Picks for the Secretaries of Agriculture and Health and Human Services

Over the past week, President Elect Joe Biden has nominated additional members to his cabinet. Xavier Becerra, former California Attorney General and congressman, was chosen for the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Tom Vilsack, the former Secretary of Agriculture during the Obama administration, was chosen to replace Sonny Perdue as the Secretary of Agriculture.

Child and Family Well-Being
National Campaign Focuses on the Importance of Teen Adoption

The Administration for Children and Families (ACF), along with several other partners, has released a series of public service advertisements (PSAs), in order to encourage prospective parents to consider adopting teens from foster care. These PSAs emphasize the benefits for adopting older youth and have been distributed to media outlets nationwide.

$119 Million in Healthy Marriage and Responsible Fatherhood Grants Awarded by ACF

The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) Office of Family Assistance has awarded 113 grants to 100 organizations across 30 states to promote healthy marriage and responsible fatherhood. The funding represents a 33% increase in the number of grants in operation throughout 2015-2020. The grant awards will help individuals, couples, fathers and youth build strong relationship to support families and communities. 

Signs Point to Growing Mental Health Struggles for Young Adults

Senator Hassan joined Senator Klobuchar and other colleagues in urging the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) to prioritize efforts to study and understand the impact of the pandemic on the mental health of children and young adults. This comes after the release of a new study that showed children and young adults made up a large portion of those who are waiting on beds at psychiatric facilities. 

Children’s Bureau Letter on the Needs of Older Youth

The Children’s Bureau sent a letter to child welfare directors summarizing the themes from twelve roundtable discussions with youth who are, or were, in foster care across the country. The discussion surfaced several affirming themes, as well as ongoing challenges, including social isolation, job loss, housing, healthcare, reunification, and more.

Children’s Bureau Issues Guidance on Virtual Adaptation of Evidence Based Practices

The Children’s Bureau has shared a letter addressing flexibilities related to the Title IV-E Prevention Program. Finding authority in the Stafford Act, child welfare agencies can modify programs and services to be used in virtual environments so that agencies can meet the critical needs of children, young people, parents, and caregivers during the pandemic.

Child Welfare Policy Manual Update

The Children’s Bureau posted a new question and answer to the child welfare policy manual, which clarifies whether a title IV-E agency may contract out IV-E administrative activities under the Title IV-E prevention services program to private or public agencies. 

Employment and Economic Well-Being
Congressional Research Services Report - COVID-19: The Potential Role of TANF

The Congressional Research Services (CRS) released a report, COVID-19: The Potential Role of TANF in Addressing the Economic Effects, detailing possible uses of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program in economic recovery efforts from the pandemic. The report indicates several areas where legislative action would be necessary in order to adjust the TANF program in response to the pandemic, including establishing additional emergency funding, adjusting or suspending the work participation rate (WPR) or TANF time-limits, and addressing hardship extensions.

Request for Information on Expanding Work-Based Learning Opportunities for Youth
The Department of Education is requesting information on successful approaches for expanding work-based learning opportunities for youth by working across Federal, State, and local education and employer systems. This information will inform the implementation of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006, as amended by the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act. Comments are due by January 13, 2021.

FNS Releases Guidance on Special Supplemental Nutrition for WIC Waivers Extended in the Continuing Resolution

This guidance released by the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) provided further clarification on the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) programmatic waivers as authorized under the Continuing Appropriations Act, in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency. This guidance states that all new and currently approved WIC waivers will be active until 30 days after the end of the nationally declared public health emergency. 

FNS Posts Updated Community Characteristics Data by State and Congressional District for SNAP

The USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) released an interactive map that provides detailed information about the characteristics of specific SNAP programs that are currently in place within each state and congressional district across the country.

APHSA Partner Updates
RFP - Coordinating SNAP & Nutrition Supports
We are partnering with Share Our Strength to offer a new grant opportunity for state Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (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 grants administrator to support cohort learning. The RFP is due by January 29, 2021.
CompTIA 2020 State of State HHS Technology Programs Survey

APHSA partnered with CompTIA's Health & Human Services (HHS) Technology Committee to conduct their annual research initiative based on a survey of state and local HHS thought leaders relative to agency technology issues, challenges, trends, and perspectives. This year’s major areas include Disaster Responsiveness & Business Continuity, Service Delivery Modernization/Transformation, Emerging Technology Trends Modularity, and Data and Analysis.

Upcoming Webinars & Virtual Events
APHSA Leadership Corner Series: Conversations to Spark Inspiration and Innovation
Our Leadership Corner sessions have concluded for 2020, yet stay tuned! We'll be back in 2021 with more virtual events. If you missed any of our earlier sessions or experienced technical issues, you can access recordings here.
APHSA Third Thursday 360 - Virtual Mini-Series of Health and Human Services Collective Learning

Starting January 2021, join us on the Third Thursday of the month for this exciting new virtual mini-series! Slated to take place from January to June, 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 childcare. 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.
Beginning Thursday, January 21, 2021
Census Bureau Hosts News Briefing to Announce 2020 Demographic Analysis Estimates

The U.S. Census Bureau will hold a virtual news conference to announce the release of the 2020 Demographic Analysis population estimates, which include national-level estimates of the population by age, sex, and select race and Hispanic origin groups as of April 1, 2020.

Instead of collecting responses to a questionnaire like the 2020 Census, Demographic Analysis uses birth records, death records, data on international migration, and Medicare enrollment records to estimate the size of the U.S. population. By releasing these estimates ahead of the first 2020 Census results, Demographic Analysis offers an independent measure of the population for comparison with the official census counts once available. A live media Q&A session will immediately follow the briefing.

Tuesday, December 15, 1:00 PM EST
Webinar - Families Cannot Wait: Ensuring Judicial Oversight in Child Welfare Proceedings

Join the National Center for State Courts (NCSC), the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (NCJFCJ) and the United States Children’s Bureau (CB) for a discussion of the critical need for continued access to justice and judicial oversight in child welfare proceedings during the ongoing public health crisis. This 60 minute conversation will reinforce the need for proactive court action to ensure child well-being and family integrity. The conversation will feature remarks from national judicial leaders and CB, offer examples of proactive court strategies and judicial practice, highlight resources to support ongoing judicial oversight - and call all jurisdictions to take immediate action to prioritize child welfare proceedings, support family connections and prevent unnecessary family separation and trauma.

Tuesday, December 15, 4:00 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.