November 19, 2021
November is National Adoption Month. The theme this year is Every Conversation Matters, and the focus is on teens in foster care in need of an adoptive family. It is crucial that young people feel a sense of belonging and a positive support system as they prepare for adulthood. In partnership with the Children’s Bureau, the Child Welfare Information Gateway has shared resources to start the conversation and engage youth in permanency planning.
Our latest blog post, part of our ongoing blog series that takes a detailed look at the American Rescue Plan, is "Reimagining SNAP Administration through a Human-Centered Lens," by APHSA Policy Associate Chloe Green. It includes recommendations for building upon lessons learned through the COVID-19 pandemic to promote a stronger, more human-centered experience for people applying for and receiving the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
We want to wish a healthy and happy Thanksgiving to all of you. We will be on a short recess next week and hope everyone has a relaxing holiday break!
Legislative Updates

Today, the House passed the Build Back Better Act, the $1.7 trillion social spending package that includes landmark investments in early childhood services, climate change, child nutrition, paid leave, and anti-poverty measures. The bill now moves to the Senate, where the timeline for receiving a vote remains uncertain and potential changes to the bill remain possible. 

Congressional Budget Office Releases Estimates on Deficit Impacts of Build Back Better Proposal

This week, the Congressional Budget Office released estimates on the fiscal impact of the Build Back Better Act. The analysis found the bill would slightly add to the national deficit, though the White House disputes projections of the effect increased IRS enforcement will have to offset expenditures.

Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) Introduces 21st Century Children and Families Act

The 21st Century Children and Families Act would overhaul the 1997 Adoption and Safe Families Act by giving states more flexibility on the timeline requirements for terminating parental rights. Currently states are required to terminate parental rights if the child has been in foster care 15 out of 22 months. This bill would extend the timeline to 15 out of 24 months add more conditions for exemption to terminations.

Child and Family Well-Being
President Biden Nominates Rebecca Jones Gaston for Top Child Welfare Position
President Biden has nominated Rebecca Jones Gaston, the Child Welfare Director for the Oregon Department of Human Services, to serve as the Commissioner of the Administration for Children, Youth and Families within the Department of Health and Human Services. In this position she will oversee both the Children’s Bureau and the Family and Youth Services Bureau. Jones Gaston’s appointment is subject to confirmation by the Senate.
Advisory Council to Support Grandparents Raising Grandchildren Delivers Report for Improving Support to Kin and Grandparent Caregivers
This week, the Advisory Council to Support Grandparents Raising Grandchildren, through the Administration for Community Living (ACL), delivered its initial report to Congress. The report is a culmination of a two-year effort that gathered information from kin and grandparent caregivers of children across the country. It provides an overview of the complex issues faced by these families and recommendations for addressing them.
PSAs Launched to Inspire Parents to Adopt Teens in Foster Care
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Administration for Children and Families (ACF), AdoptUSKids, and the Ad Council have launched a new series of public service advertisements (PSAs) that encourage prospective parents to adopt teens from foster care. The PSAs are inspired by true stories of teens adopted from foster care to highlight how rewarding of an experience it is for both parents and teens. 
Employment and Economic Well-Being
APHSA Sends Coalition Letter to the Hill on SNAP Appropriations

APHSA and a coalition of national organizations representing the state and local governments that administer the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) sent a letter to the House and Senate Appropriations committee urging them to adopt language in the FY2022 budget to ensure that SNAP is adequately funded for the entire fiscal year, protecting program participants from losing benefits in the event of a government shutdown.

Withdrawal of Proposed Child Support Enforcement Rule Establishing Exceptions to the Prohibition on Treating Incarceration as Voluntary Unemployment

The Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) has withdrawn a previously published notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on two proposed optional exceptions to the prohibition against treating incarceration as voluntary unemployment in child support cases.

USDA Investing $86 Million to Improve Equitable Access to Jobs, Business Opportunities, Education, Health Care and Housing for People Who Live in Rural Areas

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) awarded 218 organizations $86 million to help expand economic opportunities, create jobs, and improve the quality of life for people living in rural America. The investments are part of a commitment to ensure that people living in rural communities have equitable access to infrastructure and opportunities.

FNS Posts Guidance on Claims During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) released guidance on regulatory flexibilities that state Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) agencies can use for claims of overpayments that have been affected by the pandemic.

Upcoming Events
Child Tax Credit Convening

The Center for Intergovernmental Partnerships at the National Academy of Public Administration will hold a convening to discuss the Child Tax Credit, in collaboration with APHSA and the National Association of Counties. This discussion will feature representatives from state and local governments as well as nonprofits to discuss our collective progress in connecting vulnerable households with the expanded Child Tax Credit. The convening aims to address what is working well, what challenges lie ahead, and what opportunities exist to increase enrollment among parents of the estimated 4 million children eligible for this benefit in 2022.

Friday, December 10, 3:00 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.