December 6, 2019
The House and Senate are back from the Thanksgiving recess; we hope everyone had a good holiday! Here are the latest updates we are following around Washington.
Legislative Updates
APHSA Releases Statement on USDA Rule Tightening Work Requirements
In response to USDA publishing its final rule restricting waiver criteria for Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWDs), APHSA has released a statement highlighting concerns on how the change will limit the flexibility of state and local leaders to support individuals and communities with economic barriers to employments.
USDA Finalizes Rule on ABAWD Waivers
USDA has finalized its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking: Requirements for Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWDs) . The final rule limits state flexibility in establishing geographic areas for ABAWD waivers, restricts criteria used to demonstrate if a geographic area qualifies for a waiver, and sets limits on state carryover of discretionary ABAWD exemptions. The final rule is set to go into effect on April 1, 2020.
Congressional Leaders Rush to Find Compromise on FY 2020 Budget
Congressional leaders are rushing to meet a soft deadline to agree to a compromise appropriations bill by today, December 6, to avoid a government shutdown. Under the current continuing resolution government agencies are funded through December 20. The soft deadline is intended so that legislators have sufficient time to write and pass bills by the December 20 deadline.

Child and Family Well-Being
ACF Releases CCDF Priorities Report for FY 2019
The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) is required to submit a report to Congress annually detailing whether states are prioritizing higher need populations through the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) program. The priority for services categories identified in the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Act include: children of families with very low family incomes (in relation to family size), children with special needs, and children experiencing homelessness. The report examines administrative data and information from 2019-2021 CCDF state plans. Overall, ACF found that all states are prioritizing CCDF funds as prescribed by the CCDBG Act, but that only 15 percent of all children eligible under federal rules and 24 percent of all children eligible under state rules receive child care subsidies.

GAO Urges Stronger Cross-Agency Collaboration
In a report released this week, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that while many federal agencies try to align priorities and programs to fit national objectives, there are greater opportunities for collaboration. The report looked at efforts from five federal agencies: the Departments of Education, Health and Human Services (HHS), and Labor (DOL); the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS); and the U.S. Agency for International Development. GAO conducted this study in response to Congressional intention to strengthen federal evidence-building activities. In 2017, a federal commission found that agencies had uneven capacity to support, or did not fully coordinate, a full range of evidence-building activities between programs that cross agencies’ lines. Overall, GAO issued seven recommendations along with the report, to improve leading collaboration practices in evidence prioritization processes. 

Employment and Economic Well-Being
Proposed Information Collection Activity: TANF Financial Reporting Form for States
The HHS Administration for Children and Families, Office of Family Assistance, has issued a proposed information collection request to renew approval of the ACF-196 Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Financial Reporting Form. The ACF-196 is the form used by states to estimate funding needs and request grant awards under the TANF program. In addition, the form is used to report data in substantiation of state claims and to certify the availability of the legislatively mandated state match. No changes are proposed to the form. Comments are due by February 23, 2020.
Upcoming Events
Webinar - Continuing the Conversation: Competency Models Around the Country
The U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration will host a webinar to discuss current and future competency model initiatives. Speakers from the Competency Model Peer Learning Group will share real-time examples and program innovations. The interactive webinar will also provide opportunities for participants to offer their own experiences, raise questions, and share feedback on future initiatives.

Wednesday, December 18, 2:00-3:00 PM EST
Early Bird Registration Open for 2020 State Healthcare IT Connect Summit
The conference has grown and evolved into an important national venue for public and private sector thought leaders to share ideas and benchmark implementation strategies of State Health IT Systems. An anticipated 1000+ attendees & 45+ state teams will attend the 2020 program. Agenda themes include: Data Quality, Program & Business Metrics, Evolving Procurement Approaches, Organizational Change Management, Interoperability, Consumer Data Access, Integrating SDoH, Advanced Analytics, Security and Privacy.
April 27-29, 2020 | Baltimore, MD
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.