September 18, 2020
This September, communities across America are committing to fight hunger during Hunger Action Month. Due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, more than 54 million people may experience food insecurity in 2020, including a potential 18 million children. Thank you to those serving on the frontlines every day to help feed America – your work is vital to making hunger a thing of the past.
Our next Leadership Corner series session is upcoming - "The Chief Growth Officer: Achieving Breakthrough Growth in Outcomes and Value," with Antonio M. Oftelie, PhD. on September 23. Our Experience NSDTA 360 registration, award and scholarship opportunities are now open; nominate your agency or yourself! Our Experience AAHHSA 360 registration is also now open. Check out the events section below for details. Stay tuned for additional upcoming virtual events in the months ahead!
Child and Family Well-Being
Cherokee Nation Challenges AFCARS Reporting Changes

The Cherokee Nation, the largest tribe in the country, has joined a coalition that has filed suit against the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The coalition claims that the Administration has illegally eliminated certain Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) data reporting requirements for identifying tribal and LGBT children. AFCARS collects data and tracks outcomes of children in foster care, and the additional data points on tribal and LGBT identifiers were added to help direct resources more effectively. HHS finalized the removal of the data points in late 2019 after a public comment window.

2020 Census Deadline Remains Unclear

Several lawsuits and legislation are underway to try to extend the census schedule. The Administration made a decision in July to speed up counting to end by September 30, but several advocates and lawmakers are pushing for an extended schedule because of disruptions related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Employment and Economic Well-Being
Attorneys General Demand SNAP Waivers and Clear Guidance

Attorneys General from the District of Columbia and twenty-one other states sent a letter to USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) leadership addressing the continued need for operational support for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) agencies across the country. They ask for both an extension of previously approved waivers, including around interviews and recertifications, as well as for clear guidance on the FNS website of requirements for approvals of waivers.

Preliminary Injunction Issued for Emergency Allotment Interpretation in Pennsylvania

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) authorized Emergency Allotments for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients to raise their monthly benefits. After the USDA interpreted the legislative language as not applying to those already receiving the maximum benefit, a Pennsylvania judge issued an order to stop the USDA from denying additional benefits to those at the maximum benefit levels in July. Last week, a preliminary injunction was issued by a federal court to allow more Pennsylvanians to receive SNAP benefits.

Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on Optional Exceptions to the Prohibition Against Treating Incarceration as Voluntary Unemployment

The Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) proposes a rule to provide optional exceptions to the prohibition against treating incarceration as voluntary unemployment. Under the proposal, States would have the option to exclude cases where the individual is incarcerated due to intentional nonpayment of child support resulting from a criminal case or civil contempt action or incarceration for any offense where the individual's dependent child or the child support recipient was a victim. The deadline for comments on the proposed rule is November 16.

Census Bureau Releases Report Showing Decrease in Poverty in 2019

On Tuesday, the U.S. Census Bureau announced that the 2019 median household income increased 6.8% from 2018, and the official poverty rate decreased 1.3%. According to the Census Bureau, the poverty rate has fallen 4.3% since 2014, with rates decreased annually over five consecutive years. The 2019 poverty rate of 10.5% is the lowest rate observed since 1959, when estimates were first recorded.

Tribal TANF Caseload Data Released

The Office of Family Assistance (OFA) released tribal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) caseload data for 2017 and 2018. The caseload data is broken out by data for families, adults, and children and reported by region. Currently Tribal TANF supports 284 federally recognized Tribes and Alaska Native Villages.

Request for Information on Innovative Programs To Reconnect Youth to Education and Employment and Promote Self-Sufficiency

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued a request for information (RFI) on programs that provide services to help young people, ages 16 to 24, advance on education and employment pathways. This project is focused on young people who are out of work or school, particularly those from lower income families and communities. The information gathered from the RFI will result in a public compendium that profiles innovative programs operating in this area. Comments are due by September 28.

FNS Releases Studies and Evaluation Plan for 2020

The USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) released their Study and Evaluation Plan for 2020. The plan describes evaluation projects that were launched in fiscal year 2020.

Upcoming Webinars & Events
APHSA Leadership Corner Series: Conversations to Spark Inspiration and Innovation

Join us virtually for our next session — "The Chief Growth Officer: Achieving Breakthrough Growth in Outcomes and Value," featuring Antonio M. Oftelie, PhD. This session will help you embrace the challenge of leading organizations, institutions, communities – and yourself – into new levels of growth. Chief Growth Officers learn that successful transformation hinges on the ability to harmonize growth of outcomes, growth in organizational capacity, and growth in the purpose and identity of people doing the work.

If you missed our inaugural event on August 19: "Leading Courageously in Crisis: Rules of the Road," featuring Author and Historian, Nancy Koehn, you can access it here.

Wednesday, September 23, 1:00-2:15 PM EDT
Experience NSDTA 360: New Directions
Conference Registration, Awards & Scholarships Now Open

The National Staff Development and Training Association (NSDTA) will be holding Experience NSDTA 360, a two-day virtual event where we will share our collective work on supporting human services staff in response to the national pandemic. Early registration rates end September 29.

October 6-7, 2020
The NSDTA Recognition Awards and Joan Carrera Memorial Scholarships are now open for submission. Awards will recognize outstanding individuals and or initiatives which are helping advance the delivery of health and human services practices or programs to staff. The scholarship trust will provide scholarships for individuals who provide training or organizational development technical assistance to health and human service agencies to attend a NSDTA conference. The deadline for awards is September 25 and scholarships is September 18.
Experience AAHHSA 360: Conference Registration Now Open

The American Association of Health & Human Services Attorneys (AAHHSA) will be holding a two-day virtual event to facilitate the exchange of information between attorneys and promote pragmatic innovation in the field of H/HS services. Continuing Legal Education (CLE) credits will be available with live and on-demand sessions. Group discounts are available. Early registration rates end October 6.

October 20-21, 2020
APHSA Webinar - Improving Transition Strategies for Young Parents Aging Out of Foster Care – Spotlight on Georgia

Join us along with Third Sector and representatives from Georgia’s Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) to hear about their efforts to engage these young parents to better understand how to design programs (or align existing efforts) to support their needs through strategic coordination between child welfare agencies and the Office of Family Independence. DFCS will share some of the key insights gained that are shaping their efforts to better support young parents.

Wednesday, September 30, 4:00 PM EDT
APHSA Webinar - Family Well-Being and Child Welfare Services Against the Backdrop of COVID-19

Join us with the National Association for Welfare Research & Statistics (NAWRS) and HHS leaders to discuss COVID-19 effects on Child Welfare services. In the spring and summer of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic brought school closures and stay-at-home orders, followed by reports that calls to child maltreatment hotlines were decreasing dramatically. In this webinar, panelists will share research findings about maltreatment reports and substantiations, describe how some systems have responded to changes brought on by the pandemic, and discuss the role of the child welfare system now and into the future.

Monday, October 5, 2:00 PM EDT
APHSA Webinar - “If I Knew Then What I Know Now…” COVID-19 Lessons Learned and Planning for the Future

Join us with Maximus for a review of COVID-19 impacts. In an effort to better understand how the pandemic has impacted governments, and to facilitate the sharing of experiences and insights, Maximus conducted a survey of state and county leaders. In this interactive webinar, we reveal the results of the survey and discuss possible implications with our panel of state and county leaders. Join us to listen, learn, and share your insights in this data-driven, peer group discussion. 

Thursday, October 22, 3:00-4:15 PM EDT
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.