August 14, 2020
We have been closely tracking the executive orders recently issued, to provide and extend existing Coronavirus relief; see updates below.

We'll continue to keep you updated on current events on twitter, our blog, and you can also continue to access our COVID-19 related resources including our policy analysis and a collection of federal guidance here.
Legislative Updates
President Issues Executive Orders Related to Coronavirus Relief

On Saturday, President Trump issued four executive orders to provide and extend existing Coronavirus relief. One of the executive orders provides for extension of the extra federal unemployment benefits (previously the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) under the CARES Act) for qualifying individuals at a reduced rate of $400/month. The additional unemployment benefits would be funded using the Disaster Relief Fund, at a 25% match rate for states. A second executive order allows for employee deferral of federal payroll taxes through the end of the calendar year for employees with bi-weekly, pre-tax wages of less than $4,000. In a separate order, federal agencies were instructed to review existing federal authorities to prevent evictions and foreclosures. The final executive order extends student loan payment relief through the end of the calendar year.

Child and Family Well-Being
OCC Updates Child Care FAQs for CCDBG and School Age Children

This week, the Office of Child Care (OCC), within the department of Health and Human Services (HHS), updated the frequently asked questions section of their website to include guidance on using the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) for school age children. While CCDBG traditionally cannot be used for children during what would normally be school hours, OCC has advised that CCDBG can be used for school age children on distance learning days but cannot be used to support education services. 

ACF Releases Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) Guidance on Deadlines for CARES Act and FY 2021 State Plans

The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) issued guidance regarding application deadlines for the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 CSBG Plans. The CSGB CARES Act Plans are due September 1, 2020, with all states and territories required to submit a FY 2020 CSGB Plan amendment specifically relating to the CSGB CARES Act supplemental funding. Also included are guidelines for FY 2021 CSGB Plans, with a new two-year state plan due December 1, 2020.

ACF Seeks Comment on New Study to Examine Child Welfare Agency Family Contact Activities after Adoption or Guardianship

Last Friday, the Administrations for Children and Families (ACF) posted a request for public comment on a one-time study examining child welfare agency family contact activity. The study aims to describe how child welfare agencies receive information or are in contact with children who have exited the foster care system through adoption or guardianship, particularly children who experience instability. Comments are due within 60 days of publication.

HHS Awards $101 Million to Combat the Opioid Crisis

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded over $101 million in funding to combat substance use disorders (SUD) and opioid use disorders (OUD). The award will be distributed across 116 organizations in 42 states and Washington DC with a focus on high-risk rural communities. The funding package will support prevention, treatment and recovery activities for SUD and OUD in rural communities, as well as training opportunities, and tuition support for health paraprofessionals and trainees working with families affected by opioids and other substance abuse disorders.

HUD Releases $472 Million in CARES Act Awards for Tenant-Based Rental Assistance

On Monday, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced $472 million in CARES Act Funding that will go to Public Housing Authorities (PHA) to help families assisted by Housing Choice Vouchers (HCV) and Mainstream vouchers during the coronavirus pandemic. The memo outlines a list of eligible activities, including procuring cleaning supplies and/or services to maintain safe and sanitary HCV units, relocation or transportation of families to health locations, and providing child care for children of PHA staff.

Employment and Economic Well-Being
DOL Issues Guidance on the Lost Wage Assistance Program

On Wednesday, the Department of Labor (DOL) announced new guidance for states implementing the Lost Wage Assistance Program (LWA). LWA, the additional unemployment benefits program authorized by President Trump’s executive order issued on Saturday, will provide claimants in most Unemployment Insurance (UI) programs up to $400 per week in additional benefits, starting with weeks of unemployment ending on August 1, 2020 through December 27, 2020.

SNAP Benefits May Face Danger of Running Out

There is a rising concern that the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) may run out of funding for benefit allotments before the end of the fiscal year in September. Senator Mekley of Oregon states that, considering Pandemic Unemployment Compensation has ended and large increases in SNAP participation are already being seen, including the 37% increase in Oregon in the first week in August, the current expected surplus of $2 billion may likely not be enough to support children and families that utilize SNAP.

Child Nutrition Monitoring Waivers Extended into 2021

The Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) has extended nationwide waivers of onsite monitoring requirements for the school meals programs through June 30, 2021, and has extended the waivers for the Summer Food Service Program and the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) through September 30, 2021.

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

Join us virtually for our Inaugural Event Leading Courageously in Crisis: Rules of the Road, featuring author and historian, Nancy Koehn. This session will present critical tools, insights and behaviors for leading courageously in crisis. We will examine a number of “Rules of the Road” for helping you, your team and your followers navigate through the current crises, including Covid-19, the economic downturn and the campaign for equality and justice. 

Wednesday, August 19, 1:00-2:15 PM EDT
APHSA Webinar - What Happens After CARES? Projections of Poverty and Program Eligibility from the COVID-19 Pandemic & Economic Recession

Join us for a presentation from the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), within the Department of HHS, as brought to you by the National Governors Association (NGA) and APHSA. Analysts from ASPE will examine three alternative economic scenarios after the benefits from the CARES Act wind down, with a range of demographic groups. This presentation uses state-of-the-art modeling to project what poverty rates and eligibility for Medicaid, SNAP, and TANF may look like for the remainder of 2020. We look at the national picture, as well as several important subgroups. In addition, the presentation will touch on other key indicators related to current labor force conditions. Results are both surprising and shocking, and have implications for government budgets and policy proposals.

Thursday, August 27, 2:00-3:00 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.