March 13, 2020
With everyone’s health and well-being remaining top priority, we continue to monitor and assess the impact of COVID-19 (coronavirus) on our members and communities. As we all work through this time of uncertainty, APHSA remains dedicated to the support of our members and our collective mission to advance well-being for all people across the nation. We know health and human services professionals are an integral piece of the puzzle during challenging times and we can’t thank you enough for your continued passion and dedication for communities, families, and people everywhere.
Please continue below for more specific updates surrounding COVID-19 and current happenings in Washington.
Latest COVID-19 Updates
Families First Coronavirus Response Act H.R.6201
Late Wednesday night, Congresswoman Lowey and six other co-sponsors announced the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. This bill includes flexibilities in SNAP that include a suspension to work and work training requirements, additional EBT funds to households with children eligible for free or reduced meals and who have had school canceled for five+ consecutive days, free COVID-19 diagnostic testing to everyone including the uninsured, and mandatory increases in paid sick leave. House leadership is in the process of negotiating the final version; an updated bill and our APHSA analysis will be shared when available.

Administration Declares National Emergency to Combat COVID-19
Today, the Administration declared a national emergency to combat the rising number of COVID-19 (coronavirus) cases in the country. The declaration frees up additional funding and waives certain regulations to expedite testing and care. Certain draft provisions within the proposed Families First Coronavirus Response Act to provide nutritional supports in effected areas are contingent on a designation of a public health emergency. APHSA will provide further analysis in the coming days on specific implications for state and local agencies.

CDC Shares Mitigation Strategies for Communities with Local COVID-19 Transmission
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has issued guidance for local and state health departments to recommend in their community to both prepare for and mitigate community transmission of COVID-19. The resource provides a framework that can be adapted based on local characteristics of disease transmission, demographics, and public health and healthcare system capacity. 

HHS Announces Initial Funding Awards to States for Combating COVID-19
On March 6, the President signed an emergency spending package (H.R. 6074), allocating $8.3 billion in supplemental spending for coronavirus preparedness and response. Of the $8.3 billion, the Department of Health and Human Services is allocating a total of $560 million to states and localities to support response efforts to COVID-19. On Thursday, the CDC announced the first award of $35 million and is in the process of awarding an additional $570 million in accordance with the formula requirements specified in the supplemental package, plus funding for additional localities.

Child and Family Well-Being
ACF Proposes Data Collection on Youth Transitioning From Foster Care
The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) is seeking public comment on data collection on human trafficking and other victimization experiences among youth recently or currently involved in the child welfare system. This will be a one-time survey that aims to identify risks and protective factors associated with trafficking victimization and to inform child welfare, policy, programs and practice. Comments are due by April 9.
HUD Announces Additional $1.1 Million to Public Housing Authorities to Assist Young People Aging out of Foster Care
Ten housing authorities will receive an additional $1.1 million dollars to support the Foster Youth to Independence (FYI) within the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). FYI provides housing assistance and supportive services to youth aging out of the foster care system who are at risk of experiencing homelessness. HUD awarded nearly 500,000 in January and another 260,000 in February.

COVID-19 Essential Health Benefits
Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued, “Frequently Asked Questions to Ensure Individuals, Issuers and States have Clear Information on Coverage Benefits for COVID-19.” This action is part of the broader, ongoing effort by the White House Coronavirus Task Force to ensure that all Americans have access to the health benefits that can help keep them healthy while helping to contain the spread of this disease.

Employment and Economic Well-Being
Secretary Perdue Announces Flexibility for School Meals
On Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced flexibilities for school lunch programs at the House Appropriations hearing, stating that the USDA would accept state waivers permitting lunches to be served in non-group settings. USDA has already begun approving waivers and will continue to do so through at least June 30, 2020. All Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) programs have built in flexibilities and contingencies to respond to emergency situations such as a pandemic.

USDA Releases Draft Language on Proposed SNAP E&T Rule
The USDA Food and Nutrition Service has released draft language on their proposed rule pertaining to the Employment & Training program and aspects of the work requirement for Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWDs). The proposed rule would require states to consult with their State workforce development boards, include mandatory reporting on coordination with the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), modifies certain Employment & Training components, and codifies changes in ABAWD discretionary exemptions. The rule also requires notification of Employment & Training opportunities to individuals subject to the general work requirement. 

Special Announcement
2020 Census Partnership
We are excited to announce that we are partnering with the U.S. Census Bureau to support the 2020 Census! The census counts everyone in the United States and the results are the basis for congressional representation and help determine how more than $675 billion in federal funds is distributed each year to support vital programs in states and communities across the country. These funds shape local health care, housing, education, transportation, employment, and public policy.
As leaders in your community, we encourage you to urge every household to complete the census. Households will be receiving official Census Bureau mail March 12-20 with detailed information on how to respond to the 2020 Census by phone, mail, or new this year, online!

We know you continue to work day in and out to build capacity in your communities and enhance well-being across the nation—and by doing your part to help us achieve an accurate 2020 census count you can also help ensure your community receives the resources and representation they deserve. The Census Bureau has a wealth of  materials and resources   to make your outreach simple.

Examples include:

You can also check out the most recent podcast from the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) where they dive into the stakes in the census—everything from federal money to redistricting.
Upcoming Events
At this time, we continue to prepare for events scheduled to take place later in the year with the hopes that we will be able to convene as planned. We will continue to assess the situation along the way and provide updates as needed. In addition to the announcements we share here, you can also check our events page for up to date information. Please continue below to review open items for events still in the works at this time.
Save the Date: APHSA 2020 National Health & Human Services Summit
Save the date for the APHSA National Health and Human Services Summit, June 7-10, Arlington, VA. Registration opening soon!
APHSA 2020 National Staff Development and Training Association (NSDTA) Call For Proposals
APHSA is now accepting proposals for our 2020 National Staff Development and Training Association (NSDTA) Education Conference, October 4-7, Spokane, WA. Deadline for submission is March 23.
APHSA 2020 American Association of SNAP Directors (AASD) & National Association of State TANF Administrators (NASTA) Call For Proposals & Distinguished Service Award Nominations
APHSA is now accepting proposals for our 2020 American Association of SNAP Directors (AASD) & National Association of State TANF Administrators (NASTA) Education Conference, August 23-26, Milwaukee, WI. Deadline for submission is April 24.
Distinguished Service Award Nominations: AASD and NASTA are pleased to offer the opportunity to recognize outstanding performance in the design, delivery, management and administration of the SNAP and TANF Programs by human services employees and programs.  Deadline for award submission is May 1.
APHSA 2020 National Association for Program Information and Performance Measurement (NAPIPM) Call For Proposals
APHSA is now accepting proposals for our 2020 National Association for Program Information and Performance Measurement (NAPIPM) Education Conference, August 3-6, Portland, OR. Deadline for submission is May 1.
Webinar: Exploring Family Resource Centers in Relation to Child Welfare and the Family First Act
As states focus their child welfare systems on reducing the removal of children from families in light of the Family First Prevention Services Act , understanding how Family Resource Centers (FRCs) support jurisdictions to achieve this goal is especially timely. This webinar will highlight the role of FRCs in relation to child welfare, featuring a case study from Colorado. Hosted by the National Family Support Network.

Wednesday, March 18, 12:30-1:30 PM EST
Center for Juvenile Justice Reform Youth in Custody Certificate Program
The Center for Juvenile Justice Reform (CJJR) recently released a Request for Applications for the Youth in Custody Certificate Program, which will be held at Georgetown University. The training is designed to help juvenile justice system leaders and child-serving partners improve outcomes for youth in custodial settings. The curriculum covers critical areas including leadership and changing culture, racial and ethnic disparities, family engagement, assessment, case planning, facility-based education and treatment services, and reentry planning and support. Applications are due by Friday, April 24.

July 20-24, Washington DC
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.