February 5, 2021
February is Black History Month, an annual celebration of the contributions Black people and communities have made to this country and a time to reflect on the continued struggle for racial justice. You can find a host of documentaries highlighting the richness of the Black experience in American history here. The Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture offers free virtual events and conversations throughout the month here. APHSA continues to work towards racial equity by applying a race equity lens to all of our collective work. Read our Call to Action detailing how we strive to center equity in all we do.

As youth poet laureate Amanda Gorman powerfully shared with the nation during her inaugural poem, The Hill We Climb: “Somehow we've weathered and witnessed a nation that isn't broken but simply unfinished."
Legislative & Regulatory Updates
House Vote on The National Apprenticeships Act

The House is scheduled to vote today on H.R. 477, The National Apprenticeships Act. In 2020 the same bill passed the House with a majority of votes but was not taken up by the Senate. There are no major differences between the two bills, except that H.R. 477 carries bi-partisan support.

New Executive Order Directs Agencies to Review the Public Charge Rule

The Biden Administration released an Executive Order, Restoring Faith in Our Legal Immigration Systems and Strengthening Integration and Inclusion Efforts for New Americans, that calls for an immediate review of agency actions on the “public charge” inadmissibility rule. The review will evaluate implications for continued implementation, identify appropriate actions to address concerns about the current public charge policies’ effect on the integrity of the Nation’s immigration system and public health, and recommend steps for agencies to clearly communicate current policies and proposed changes to reduce fear and confusion among impacted communities.

Child and Family Well-Being
ACF Provides Guidance on Virtual Adaptations for Title IV-E Prevention Program

The Children’s Bureau (CB), an office of the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), has released guidance in response to requests for flexibility in meeting federal requirements of the title IV-E prevention program authorized under the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA). Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, CB will allow title IV-E agencies to adapt approved programs and services to a virtual format to allow children and families to receive necessary services without interruption and within public health guidelines. CB will only allow programs to be moved to a virtual format that otherwise could not be available absent modification.

ACF Provides Update on HUD’s Foster Youth to Independence Initiative

The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) released an update to the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Foster Youth to Independence Initiative (FYI). The update outlines recent changes to the program, including increased flexibility for public housing agencies to meet the needs of youth and expanding eligibility requirements for youth in the program.

Annie E. Casey Foundation Announces Increased Focus on Young Adults

The Annie E. Casey Foundation has announced Thrive by 25, a new investment focusing on youth and young adults aged 14-24. The foundation will dedicate at least half of its investments over the next decade to programs for young people of color in low-income families, youth in high-poverty communities, young parents, and youth involved in the child welfare or justice system who face significant obstacles to achieving their potential. Thrive by 25 emphasizes five key areas for addressing the needs of young people: basic needs, permanent connections, education and credentials, financial stability, and youth leadership.

Employment and Economic Well-Being
Lessons Learned from Child Support Enforcement Demonstrations

The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) has shared a series of research briefs that share lessons learned from the Procedural Justice-Informed Alternatives to Contempt (PJAC) demonstration project related to child support.

FNS Posts New Guidance for Expanded College Student Eligibility for SNAP

The USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has provided a question and answer guide explaining the student-related Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provisions of the Consolidated Appropriations Act that was passed in late December 2020.

Congressional Budget Office Provides an Overview of the Economic Outlook:2021 to 2031

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a new economic forecast covering the periods of 2021 to 2031. CBO is predicting a swifter recovery than its previous issued predictions in July. However, these predictions are based on an “unusually high degree of uncertainty,” and economic recovery will hinge on a number of factors, including the speed of vaccination distribution. CBO is using this forecast as the basis for updating budget projections for 2021 to 2031, which the agency plans to release later in February.
FNS Posts Updated P-EBT Guidance

Last Friday, the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) released updated guidance for the Pandemic EBT (P-EBT) program for school year 2020-2021. This is the first time that P-EBT guidance has addressed the child care provision which was added in the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2021 that was passed on October 1, 2020. The updated guidance also clarifies the approved uses of simplifying assumptions. Thus far, nine states and Puerto Rico have been approved to operate a P-EBT program for this school year. As of yet, no states have been approved to issue child care benefits.

FNS Posts Guidance for Child Nutrition Program Emergency Operating Costs

The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 that was passed in late December 2020 authorized additional emergency operational costs reimbursement for Child Nutrition programs. The guidance includes an application process for state agencies, details on how payments to program operators are calculated, and a summary of key dates and deadlines.

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 deadline has been extended to February 12.
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.
Upcoming Webinars & Virtual Events
APHSA Third Thursday 360: Virtual Mini-Series of Health and Human Services Collective Learning

Join us on the Third Thursday of each month for our exciting new virtual mini-series! Slated to take place through June 2021, 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.

Thursday, February 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!
Webinar - Harnessing Public Health and Human Services Systems to Create an Equitable & Resilient Nation

Join APHSA and the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) for a webinar that explores how human services systems can promote healthy and productive outcomes, and in doing so, advance a comprehensive investment strategy to dismantle systemic racism and build resilient, thriving communities. Moderated by APHSA President and CEO Tracy Wareing Evans, NAPA will host an interactive discussion with state, local, and community human services leaders on how federal policy is being translated into solutions on the ground to tackle the most pressing social and economic needs of families.

Thursday, February 25, 3:30 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.