January 31, 2020
We are pleased to share our 2019 annual report highlighting the many ways in which you, our members and partners, are building well-being from the ground up! We encourage you to take a few minutes to read through it; we believe—like us—you’ll draw inspiration and energy for the work ahead from the many successes and collective advances we made last year. Check it out here !

Our Call For Proposals is now open for the 2020 National HHS Summit; learn more and submit your proposal .
Legislative Updates
APHSA Raises Concerns on Impact of Rule Effecting Individuals with Disabilities
APHSA has submitted comments in response to a proposed rule from the Social Security Administration that would increase the frequency of redetermination reviews for many individuals receiving disability benefits. The proposed rule would add further stress on individuals to navigate an already burdened system, particularly impacting children and individuals with behavioral health needs. The rule also will cut disability benefits while raising administrative costs and place greater strain on TANF, SNAP, and Medicaid systems to help individuals with disabilities access the basic supports they need to thrive.
Public Charge Rule
On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled that the Administration can implement its “public charge” rule, which allows the Department of Homeland Security to consider receipt of SNAP, Medicaid, and housing vouchers when considering applications for admission, extension, or change to non-immigrant status for non-exempt aliens. The rule, which previously was prevented from going into effect through a lower court injunction, can now be implemented nationwide, with the exception of Illinois where a statewide injunction remains, while the case continues to work its way through the court system. It is expected that the Department of Homeland Security will be issuing a notice shortly clarifying when it will begin implementing the public charge regulation. APHSA has updated its Frequently Asked Questions , which details an overview of the rule and who it applies to. 

Child and Family Well-Being
ACF Information Memorandum on the Family First Transition Act
The Administration of Children and Families (ACF) has released an information memorandum regarding the Family First Transition Act (FFTA) which passed in early December 2019. The memo gives states more information on accessing additional funding and further outlines some provisions in the act. The FFTA was passed in order to support states in the implementation of Family First Prevention Services Act, and FFTA gives states $500 million in additional flexible funding, phases in certain state spending requirements, and provides states that were operating IV-E waivers financial certainty if they experience a lost of funding after the waivers ended in 2019.

CMS Offers States Medicaid Block Grant Option
In a letter to state Medicaid directors on Thursday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) details how states can convert a portion of their Medicaid services into a block grant, a program called “Healthy Adult Opportunity.” Medicaid traditionally operates as an open-ended program - states get a certain federal match for state spending in Medicaid, which changes due to demand in coverage. States will receive a fixed amount of money, that they can spend as they see fit, without some of the federal guidelines in traditional Medicaid programs. Under the block grant, states could implement cost-sharing programs and impose work requirements for recipients. While CMS has stressed that the program is optional and is meant to give states more power over their own state Medicaid programs, critics argue the change could cut enrollment in Medicaid and the guidance is expected to be challenged in court.

Report Shares Insights on Increasing Non-Custodial Parent Engagement
A recent report funded by the Administration For Childen and Familes (ACF) and prepared by the Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation ( MDRC) shares insights on behavioral interventions that can help improve child support services and increase parent engagement. The findings from eight states reveal inexpensive interventions that can create modest improvements in non-custodial parent participation.
Office of Child Support Enforcement Shares 2020 Priorities
In a recently released blog post, Deputy Commissioner Linda Boyer shares priorities for 2020 for the Administration For Childen and Familes (ACF) Office of Child Support Enforcement, including a focus on state system modernization, data analytics, and program awareness.
Employment and Economic Well-Being
House Democrats File Brief Supporting ABAWD Rule Lawsuit
Lawyers for the House filed a brief supporting a multi-state lawsuit that seeks to block a USDA rule restricting criteria that can be used to exempt Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents from work requirements. The lawsuit claims the rule is in conflict with Congressional intent and that the final rule exceeded its authority by restricting waiver criteria beyond that included in the proposed rule.  Unless blocked by the lawsuit, the rule is scheduled to go into effect on April 1. 
GAO Releases Report on Barriers to Treatment for Opioid Abuse and Addiction in Medicaid
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report highlighting barriers within Medicaid that restrict access to effective treatments in the fight against opioid abuse. The report focuses on the use of Medication-assisted treatment (MAT), a proven method to reduce opioid abuse that combines behavioral therapy and the use of medications like buprenorphine. Coverage of MATs are required by federal law, but GAO found that about 40% of states fail deliver all formats of MAT coverage. GAO also identified the barriers that are holding back successful delivery of addiction treatment services, including a complex waiver process and pre-authorization requirements that are delaying care. This study was conducted to monitor the treatment methods of opioid addiction after 70,000 people died of overdoses in 2018, 69% of which were caused by opioids. 

ACF Previews Upcoming CSBG Guidance
In a Dear Colleague letter, the Administration For Childen and Familes (ACF) shared its anticipated schedule on upcoming guidance to be released for the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) over the next several months. Anticipated guidance includes next steps on review of FY 2018 CSBG Annual Reports, next steps for continued implementation of Module 3 of the Annual Report, and funding schedules and updates. 
Upcoming Events
APHSA Webinar: How To Create a Unified Public Experience for Your Agency
Join us for webinar with the U.S. Census Bureau and health and human services experts from Adobe to learn about the 2020 Census, its importance to the communities you serve and how the Census Bureau has leveraged technology to expand its operations and outreach. To meet the public’s growing expectations of a digital-first government, agencies are looking for ways to enhance public communication and education about important government services and initiatives, increase inter-departmental integration and improve service delivery, while making operations more efficient and raising customer satisfaction.

Tuesday, February 11, 1:30-2:30 PM EST
APHSA 2020 National Health & Human Services Summit Call For Proposals
APHSA is now accepting proposals for our National Health and Human Services Summit, with the theme: Relentless Pursuit... Unlimited Possibilities. APHSA is elevating critical policy discussions focused on advancing social and economic mobility and working upstream, to address root causes and prevent downstream needs. We will also continue to showcase innovative approaches that are building the capacity of agencies to optimize data, put families at the center of the work, and support the well-being of the workforce. This year’s Summit is designed to showcase transformation efforts underway across the nation that demonstrate policy and practice in alignment to these focus areas.

Deadline for submission is February 18.
June 7-10 | Arlington, VA
All Hands on Deck: Improving Community Health
This day-long event offered in partnership with AcademyHealth and the de Beaumont Foundation will feature eye-opening interactions with elected leaders, policy experts and other influential speakers as they tackle tough topics, tell their stories and inspire you to create change. Attend in Washington, DC or purchase the livestream/on-demand video, to explore the social determinants of health — access to care, education, transportation, environment, immigration/citizenship, discrimination and income inequality.

Wednesday, February 12 | Washington, DC
2020 Senior Leadership Conference and Roundtable Gatherings
With the Alliance for Strong Families and Communities. During the 2020 Senior Leadership Conference, experienced leaders and rising stars alike will learn how they can accelerate the excellence, distinction, and influence of their organizations. Convene with the best of the Alliance’s national network and recognized thought leaders around key topic areas for achieving a stronger sector.

February 22-25 | Savannah, GA
2020 Alliance National Conference Call for Presentations
The Alliance for Strong Families and Communities seeks proposals for the 2020 Alliance National Conference. This event is for cross-sector human services leaders who are eager to learn, collaborate, and co-create solutions that advance innovative practice, policy, and research designed to achieve a healthy and equitable society.

Deadline for submissions is February 25.
October 19-21 | Ponte Vedra Beach, FL
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.