October 18, 2019
The House and Senate are now back in session and h ere is the latest we are following around Washington. Be sure to check out our upcoming conferences and webinars in the events section below.
Legislative Updates
Committee on Education and Labor Introduced the College Affordability Act
The House this week introduced legislation to make college and other higher education programs more affordable.  The legislative package attempts to address a range of issues plaguing American students in the current higher education system, including restoring state and federal investments in public colleges, increasing the value of Pell Grants and improving student safety through stronger accountability and tracking of sexual harassment, assault or hazing. The act would also permanently fund Historically Black Colleges and Tribal Colleges and Universities, while also increasing funding and making Pell Grants available for short term programs or for the first time. Reforms are expected to cost $400 billion over 10 years.

Child and Family Well-Being
ACF Children's Bureau Requesting Comments on Title IV-E Revision
The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) Children's Bureau is requesting comment on its new revision to Title IV-E of the Social Security Act. The addition consists of two new programs, the Prevention Services Program and the Kinship Navigator Program. This modification has led the administration to request that the State Plan for Foster Care and Adoption Assistance be properly revised to incorporate information distinct to these supplemented programs. Comments are due by November 8.

ACF Provides Guidance on Disaster Relief Funds for Child Care
The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) released guidance last week on allowable activities under, and the process to apply for, funds made available to States, Territories and Tribes from the Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act of 2019. A total of $30 million has been allocated to agencies administering the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) programs that have been directly affected by natural disasters in calendar year 2018. Funds can be used for renovating, repairing, or rebuilding childcare facilities, as well as for other allowable CCDF activities that are directly related to a natural disaster and will be rolled out in two phases, based on the timing of the declaration of a disaster. In order to apply for funds, agencies must submit justification that demonstrates the need for additional allocations.

ACF Releases Guidance on Head Start Eligibility for Kinship Care
In response to increased inquiries regarding Head Start program eligibility for children living with relative care givers, both formally and informally, the Office of Head Start (OHS) released guidance encouraging grantees to include children in relative care in their enrollment and selection process. In the guidance they also highlight the varying ways children could be eligible and offer broad definitions of what they consider as a child in foster care or experiencing homelessness. OHS also highlighted that relative care givers are often eligible for public assistance such as TANF or SSI. Even if the families are not eligible, the child could receive a “child only” TANF grant that would also allow access to Head Start programs.

ACF Simplifies Accounting for Head Start Operation and Service Funds
With the start of the new fiscal year, the Office of Head Start (OHS), released new guidance on a simplified accounting process in hopes of decreasing administrative concerns for grantees operating Head Start and Early Head Start Programs. Currently Head Start programs operate with two separate Common Accounting Numbers or CAN(s). Moving into FY 2020 they will be funded by one Common Accounting Number, CAN 4122. OHS says this move will streamline a once complicated funding source that had administrators pulling shared costs from two different budgets. This change will only be applied to Head Start and Early Head and will not affect all programs operating out of the Office of Head Start.

GAO Releases Report on Medicaid Demonstrations
Last Thursday, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a new report on the administrative costs associated with implementing Medicaid work requirements. Since January 2018, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has approved 9 states to issue work requirements to be eligible for Medicaid services; however a Federal Court judge blocked most states enforcing the rule. The report, requested by Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), focuses on 5 states (Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, New Hampshire, and Wisconsin) and found the costs to implement work requirements range from $6.1 million to $271.6 million. GAO also found that CMS has not adequately reviewed the administrative costs, nor had they required states to submit projections of administrative costs as part of the waiver negotiation process, which conflicts with CMS goals of transparency and budget neutrality.
Employment and Economic Well-Being
Judge Blocks “Public Charge” Rule
Last week, a federal judge issued a temporary injunction to block a federal rule change from going into effect that would have considered a person’s receipt, or likelihood of receipt, of SNAP benefits when considering their application for legal permanent residency in the United States. The rule, which was scheduled to take effect on October 15, will be delayed until lawsuits on the matter are resolved in federal courts. 
USDA Releases Informational Analysis on Proposed Rule’s Impact on School Lunches and Reopens Public Comment Period
On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a new informational analysis on its proposed rule to limit the use of broad-based categorical eligibility in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The new informational analysis estimates the indirect impact of the proposal on school meals programs, something the original notice of proposed rulemaking lacked. USDA also announced that it is reopening the comment period for fourteen days, so that that the public may have an opportunity to review the new informational analysis and provide comments. The proposed rule was posted on July 24 and new informational analysis was released on Tuesday. Notice of the reopening of the comment period is posted in today’s issue of the Federal Register. Comments must be submitted by November 1. Today’s notice and instructions for submitting comments can be found here .

House Subcommittee Hearing Focuses on USDA’s Recent Regulatory Actions
On Wednesday, the House Committee on Appropriations’ Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies held a hearing entitled “Food and Nutrition Service: Policy and Program Overview.” Brandon Lipps, Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services (FNCS) at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) was the only witness. Deputy Under Secretary Lipps and Subcommittee members discussed the Administration’s fiscal year (FY) 2020 Budget request for the USDA’s FNCS, including proposals intended to advance the Administration’s nutrition assistance priorities. The Subcommittee expressed interest in USDA’s recent regulatory actions related to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), but Deputy Under Secretary Lipps stated that he could not discuss the content of the final rules in development or the comments received from the public. Many Subcommittee members’ questions for Deputy Under Secretary Lipps related to the USDA’s proposed rule to limit the use of broad-based categorical eligibility in SNAP, a state option that many states use to reduce administrative burden and increase efficiency.

Hearing Held on Diversity Practices for America's Changing Workforce
On Thursday, the Diversity and Inclusion Subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee held a hearing on "Promoting Inclusion: Examining the Need for Diversity Practices for America's Changing Workforce." This hearing examined how companies can create an inclusive culture for their employees, with a focus on promotion and retention of diverse talent. The hearing explored industry best practices that increase the representation of women and people of color in the workforce.

Upcoming Events
The National Staff Development and Training Association (NSDTA) Annual Education Conference ~ An APHSA Affinity Group Event
The 2019 NSDTA Education Conference is designed to assist Health and Human Services leaders responsible for training, staff and organizational development/effectiveness and workforce planning shape the future of these vital programs through collaboration, innovation and the exchange of experience and knowledge amongst attendees.

October 20-23 | Long Beach, CA
American Association of Health and Human Services Attorneys (AAHHSA) Annual Education Conference ~ An APHSA Affinity Group Event
The AAHHSA Annual National Education and Training Conference is a comprehensive learning and networking experience for attorneys who represent the state and local government agencies that administer health and/or human services programs. The overarching goal of the conference is to facilitate the exchange of information between attorneys and promote pragmatic innovation in the field of H/HS services.

October 27-30 | Arlington, VA
Webinar: Child Welfare – What Story is Your Data Telling You?
What is the price of not having the critical information that helps you improve outcomes for children, youth and families? Join NCCD Children’s Research Center and IBM Watson Health to learn how you can empower your child welfare staff to utilize data and analytics to efficiently and effectively modernize systems and services and meet quality reporting needs. Discover how you can improve data quality, recognize relationships within your data sets, and interact with data intuitively to uncover actionable information.

Tuesday, October 29, 2:00-3:00 PM EST
Webinar: How the Family First Act May Affect Child Welfare Financing
Child Trends and APHSA will host a webinar to highlight how the Family First Act may impact child welfare agency spending on services for children and families. Researchers will discuss child welfare agency spending on preventive services, family foster care, and congregate care, and challenges to tracking spending on evidence-based practices in 2016 and how spending may change with the implementation of the Family First Act

Wednesday, October 30, 2:00-3:30 PM EST
American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting & Expo
"Creating the Healthiest Nation: For science. For action. For health, " is the theme for the APHA Annual Meeting and Expo, the largest and most influential annual gathering of public health professionals. Nearly 13,000 attendees join each year to present, learn and find inspiration. APHA brings together people and organizations who make a difference from the global level to the local level.

November 2-6 | Philadelphia, PA
Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM) Annual Research Conference
"Rising to the Challenge: Engaging Diverse Perspectives on Issues and Evidence," is the theme for the APPAM Conference, a multi-disciplinary research conference attracting the highest quality research on a wide variety of important current and emerging policy and management issues. Conversations will reach across disciplinary, methodological and ideological divides and take place across 300+ educational programs in a variety of formats, including panels, roundtables, poster presentations, super sessions and special events.

November 7-9 | Denver, CO
Registration Now Open For 2020 State Healthcare IT Connect Summit
The State Healthcare IT Connect Summit has grown and evolved into an important national venue. Public and private sector thought leaders share ideas and benchmark implementation strategies of State Health IT Systems, with an anticipated 1000+ attendees & 45+ state teams at the 2020 program. Cross-cutting 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.