RENEWING AUTHORITY FOR STATE CHILD WELFARE DEMONSTRATION PROGRAMS
(House of Representatives - September 23, 2010)

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[Pages H6896-H6898]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




   RENEWING AUTHORITY FOR STATE CHILD WELFARE DEMONSTRATION PROGRAMS

  Mr. McDERMOTT. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the 
bill (H.R. 6156) to renew the authority of the Secretary of Health and 
Human Services to approve demonstration projects designed to test 
innovative strategies in State child welfare programs, as amended.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The text of the bill is as follows:

                               H.R. 6156

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,

     SECTION 1. RENEWAL OF AUTHORITY TO APPROVE DEMONSTRATION 
                   PROJECTS DESIGNED TO TEST INNOVATIVE STRATEGIES 
                   IN STATE CHILD WELFARE PROGRAMS.

       Section 1130 of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1320a-9) 
     is amended--
       (1) in subsection (a)--
       (A) in paragraph (2), by striking ``1998 through 2003'' and 
     inserting ``2011 through 2016'';
       (B) in paragraph (3)--
       (i) in subparagraph (A), by inserting ``or kinship 
     guardianship'' after ``placements'';
       (ii) in subparagraph (C), by striking ``address kinship 
     care'' and inserting ``provide early intervention and crisis 
     intervention services that safely reduce out-of-home 
     placements and improve child outcomes''; and
       (iii) by redesignating subparagraph (C) as subparagraph (D) 
     and inserting after subparagraph (B) the following:
       ``(C) If an appropriate application therefor is submitted, 
     the Secretary shall consider authorizing a demonstration 
     project which is designed to identify and address domestic 
     violence that endangers children and results in the placement 
     of children in foster care.'';
       (C) in paragraph (4), by inserting ``or kinship 
     guardianship'' after ``assistance''; and
       (D) in paragraph (5), by inserting ``and the ability of the 
     State to implement a corrective action approved under section 
     1123A'' before the period;
       (2) in subsection (e)--
       (A) by striking ``and'' at the end of paragraph (6);
       (B) by striking the period at the end of paragraph (7) and 
     inserting ``; and''; and
       (C) by adding at the end the following:
       ``(8) an accounting of any additional Federal, State, 
     local, and private investments (other than those with respect 
     to which matching funds were provided under part B or E of 
     title IV) made, during the 2 fiscal years preceding the 
     application to provide the services described in paragraph 
     (1), and an assurance that the State will provide an 
     accounting of that same spending for each year of an approved 
     demonstration project.'';
       (3) in subsection (f)(1)--
       (A) in subparagraph (B), by striking ``; and'' and 
     inserting ``, including all children and families under the 
     project who come to the attention of the State's child 
     welfare program, either through a report of abuse or neglect 
     or through the provision of services described in subsection 
     (e)(1) to the child or family;''; and
       (B) by redesignating subparagraph (C) as subparagraph (D) 
     and inserting after subparagraph (B) the following:
       ``(C) a comparison of the amounts of Federal, State, local 
     and private investments in the services described in 
     subsection (e)(1), by service type, with the amount of the 
     investments during the period of the demonstration project; 
     and''; and
       (4) by adding at the end the following:
       ``(h) Indian Tribes Considered States.--An Indian tribe (as 
     defined in section 479B(a)) shall be considered a State for 
     purposes of this section.''.

     SEC. 2. BUDGETARY EFFECTS.

       The budgetary effects of this Act, for the purpose of 
     complying with the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2010, shall 
     be determined by reference to the latest statement titled 
     ``Budgetary Effects of PAYGO Legislation'' for this Act, 
     submitted for printing in the Congressional Record by the 
     Chairman of the House Budget Committee, provided that such 
     statement has been submitted prior to the vote on passage.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from 
Washington (Mr. McDermott) and the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Linder) 
each will control 20 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Washington.


                             General Leave

  Mr. McDERMOTT. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members 
may have 5 legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks 
and to include extraneous material on H.R. 6156.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from Washington?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. McDERMOTT. I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, the legislation before us today will help States test 
innovative approaches for improving outcomes for vulnerable children 
who come to the attention of our child welfare system.
  The bill restores the authority of the Secretary of Health and Human 
Services to permit up to 10 demonstration projects annually to allow 
States and tribes to test efforts to improve child welfare policy. The 
legislation is cost neutral, and it provides the renewed waiver 
authority for the next 5 years.
  To both increase our understanding of waiver policies and to ensure 
improved accountability, the legislation newly requires States to 
report the various sources of Federal, State, local, and private funds 
that are used in providing specific services under a demonstration 
project.
  Finally, the bill adds a new Federal emphasis on supporting child 
welfare waivers that identify and address problems related to domestic 
violence that lead to children being placed in foster care and for 
waivers that provide early intervention and crisis intervention 
services that safely reduce out-of-home placements.
  Past experience has taught us that child welfare waivers can help 
States improve outcomes for children while also informing child welfare 
policy at the national level. Twenty-three States received one or more 
waivers under the previous demonstration authority, which began in 
fiscal year 1996 and ended in March of 2006. Although the authority has 
expired, a handful of States continue to have demonstration projects in 
operation today.
  One of the most successful strategies tested through the prior waiver 
authority was providing assistance to grandparents and other relatives 
who assume legal custody of children in foster care. Through the use of 
kinship care and guardianship assistance arrangements, children were 
able to find safe and loving homes with family members. This strategy 
proved to be successful in improving the outcomes of foster children, 
and it became Federal policy when it was incorporated into the 
Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act, which 
was signed into law 2 years ago.
  While providing waivers can be a useful tool in improving child 
welfare policy, we ultimately need more comprehensive changes to fully 
reform the system:
  Waivers cannot correct certain basic flaws within our current method 
of financing child welfare programs, starting with the fact that 
increasing numbers of children are not eligible for Federal foster care 
assistance because of badly outdated eligibility criteria;
  We also need systemic reforms which place a much greater emphasis on 
preventing abuse and neglect from occurring in the first place. I 
intend to continue to work towards broader reform to address these and 
other challenges facing programs serving children at risk of 
maltreatment.
  Before I close, I want to quickly note that this bill continues a 
proud tradition of the Ways and Means Committee and of the Subcommittee 
on Income Security and Family Support of reporting out bipartisan 
legislation to improve our child welfare system.
  During the last Congress, I worked with Representative Jerry Weller 
of Illinois to enact the Fostering Connections Act, which made a series 
of important changes to Federal policy related to children in foster 
care. It passed here by unanimous consent.
  Today, I am joined by the ranking member of the subcommittee, 
Representative John Linder, in bringing this legislation to the floor; 
and I expect that it will also pass by unanimous consent. It has been a 
great pleasure to work with John.
  I know you are retiring, and I am going to have to work with a new 
subcommittee chairman one way or another, or with a ranking member.
  So I am looking forward to continuing this tradition of dealing with 
the problems of children who need somebody to look out for them, and it 
should be a bipartisan issue every time.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. LINDER. Mr. Chairman, thank you for your kind remarks.
  I yield myself such time as I may consume.

[[Page H6897]]

  Mr. Speaker, this bill comes to the floor in a fashion too many bills 
have not in this Congress:
  First, we held a subcommittee hearing. Then the legislation was 
drafted with bipartisan support. Finally, we ensured that it does not 
increase the deficit by a penny. It is an example of what can happen if 
we pursue goals that are widely shared and that have been demonstrated 
to achieve results.
  The legislation before us would allow all States to follow the 
successful child welfare reform model tested in Florida and other 
places. As we learned in our hearing, those reforms reduced the number 
of Florida children in foster care by 36 percent. It increased 
adoptions by 12,000, and it improved child safety, all without spending 
more taxpayer money.
  I would like to insert into the Record a letter of support for this 
legislation from Youth Villages, which has worked with local officials 
to achieve such successes in Florida.
  Since 1994, 22 States have joined Florida in using child welfare 
waivers. This legislation extends the authority for all States to do so 
for 5 years. This will allow other States to test and replicate 
policies that are working. It is my hope that this one day will pave 
the way for successful Federal reforms covering all States.
  While it appears to be good policy to allow States to waive Federal 
rules, perhaps future Congresses will find it equally propitious to 
abolish them. Meanwhile, let's move this bill forward and continue our 
efforts to improve the lives of all children.

                                               Youth Villages,

                                Arlington, VA, September 20, 2010.
     Chairman Jim McDermott,
     Ways and Means Subcommittee on Income Security and Family 
         Support, Washington, DC.
     Ranking Member John Linder,
     Ways and Means Subcommittee on Income Security and Family 
         Support, Washington, DC.
       Dear Chairman McDermott and Ranking Member Linder. On 
     behalf of Youth Villages, I am writing in support of your 
     bill, H.R. 6156. This legislation provides critical authority 
     for the Department of Health and Human Services to extend the 
     Title IV-E waiver program, which has demonstrated substantial 
     impact since creation in 1994. These waivers provide states 
     with greater flexibility in the use of Federal funds for 
     alternative services and supports that promote safety, 
     permanency and well-being for children in the child 
     protection and foster care system.
       Youth Villages is a leader in innovative and effective 
     services for troubled youth and their families. Since 2008, 
     Youth Villages has had the opportunity to work 
     collaboratively with several local, privatized child welfare 
     organizations, known as Community Based Care agencies in 
     implementing Florida's Title IV-E waiver. Youth Villages has 
     three offices in Florida and is working with local entities 
     to implement our intensive in-home Intercept services, 
     identify and serve underserved or `stuck' populations, and 
     provide them with outcome data to support the impact of their 
     waiver effort.
       As a result of the flexibility afforded by the Title IV-E 
     waiver, intensive reunification and targeted prevention 
     services are given greater focus in the state's child welfare 
     service approach. Without the award of the waiver, it would 
     have been difficult for Youth Villages to expand its 
     Intercept program into the state to serve the child welfare 
     population. In the two years that Youth Villages has been 
     operating in Florida, we have served over 225 children and 
     families across the Central and Southern regions of the 
     state. Over 77% at six months post-discharge are still living 
     at home or in a home-like environment. The savings associated 
     with serving these 225 children through Intercept instead of 
     congregate, out-of-home placements amounts to roughly $19 
     million dollars when considering recidivism rates associated 
     with both Intercept and non-Intercept placements.
       Youth Villages pledges its full support of H.R. 6156, as 
     this legislation has the ability to transform the child 
     welfare system from one that incentivizes out-of-home 
     placement to a system that promotes in-home treatment and 
     family unification.
           Regards,
                                                   Patrick Lawler,
                                              CEO, Youth Villages.

  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. McDERMOTT. Mr. Speaker, I would like to enter into the Record 
letters of support for H.R. 6156 that I received from the National 
Conference of State Legislatures and from the American Public Human 
Services Association.
                                               National Conference


                                        of State Legislatures,

                               Washington, DC, September 21, 2010.
     Re Renewing Waiver Authority in State Child Welfare Programs 
         (H.R. 6156).

     Hon. Nancy Pelosi,
     Speaker of the House, Cannon HOB, Washington, DC.
     Hon. John Boehner,
     House Minority Leader, Longworth HOB, Washington, DC.
       Dear Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader Boehner: On behalf 
     of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), we 
     urge you to support H.R. 6156, a bill to renew the authority 
     of the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human 
     Services to approve demonstration projects designed to test 
     innovative strategies in state child welfare programs. 
     Congressman McDermott and Congressman Linder have fashioned 
     bipartisan legislation that helps create opportunities to 
     enhance the state/federal partnership to assist our nation's 
     most vulnerable children.
       NCSL supports reinstating and expanding federal waiver 
     authority so that states can test the results of increased 
     funding flexibility on the development of service 
     alternatives and on the overall delivery of child welfare 
     services, targeting programs to address the needs of their 
     children. By renewing Title VI-E waiver authority from 2011 
     through 2016, H.R. 6156 will give states an enhanced ability 
     to provide early intervention and crisis intervention 
     services that will safely reduce out-of-home placements and 
     improve child outcomes.
       H.R. 6156 will allow states to improve the quality of their 
     child welfare interventions and reinvest savings in their 
     programs. It will also provide both state and federal 
     legislators more information on what innovations are 
     effective to transform the lives of children who are at risk 
     of abuse and neglect. We applaud Congressmen McDermott and 
     Linder for crafting this legislation.
           Sincerely,
     Representative Mary Jane Wallner,
       New Hampshire House of Representatives, Chair, NCSL 
     Standing Committee on Human Services and Welfare.
     Representative Wes Keller,
       Alaska House of Representatives, Chair, NCSL Standing 
     Committee on Human Services and Welfare.
                                  ____

         American Public Human Services Association and National 
           Association of Public Child Welfare Administrators,
                                               September 21, 2010.
     Hon. Jim McDermott,
     Hon. John Linder,
     House Ways and Means Committee, Income and Family Support 
         Subcommittee, Washington, DC.
       Dear Chairman McDermott and Ranking Member Linder: Thank 
     you for your bipartisan leadership in supporting state 
     flexibility through the use of IV-E waivers. The American 
     Public Human Services Association and its affiliate, the 
     National Association of Public Child Welfare Administrators, 
     support H.R. 6156 which renews the Health and Human Services 
     Secretary's authority to approve demonstration projects 
     designed to test innovative strategies in State child welfare 
     programs.
       While we support H.R. 6156, we believe it is critical to 
     address restructuring of federal child welfare financing in 
     the near future. Financing should be aligned with the goals 
     and outcomes expected of states. In October 2009, NAPCWA's 
     Executive Committee commissioned a workgroup comprised of 
     child welfare administrators from large, medium and small 
     states, as well as state and locally administered states, and 
     counties. The workgroup developed recommendations on how to 
     restructure the current Title IV-E financing mechanism. 
     Introducing legislation on comprehensive finance reform that 
     addresses the proposals outlined by NAPCWA is essential if 
     all states are to benefit from the opportunities available to 
     those few states who apply for a waiver.
       Title IV-E waivers were instrumental in helping states to 
     be innovative when supporting children, youth and families. 
     Waivers gave states the flexibility to target services and 
     supports to best meet the needs of at-risk populations. 
     Waivers provided the opportunity for states to offer 
     guardianship to relatives who wanted to serve as a permanent 
     family for young people, yet did not want to sever parental 
     rights. States such as Florida and counties such as Los 
     Angeles, Calif., have significantly reduced the number of 
     children who languish in care. The number of children 
     experiencing repeat abuse has also decreased.
       State practice helped inform federal partners that IV-E 
     should be applied in ways other than foster care. States 
     operating demonstration programs should be allowed to 
     continue to do so.
       The overarching premise of IV-E waivers is to prevent 
     children from entering the foster care system in the first 
     place. Waivers play a critical role and are a step forward 
     toward improving the system. We strongly encourage Congress 
     to pass comprehensive child welfare financing reform 
     consistent with what has been learned through the waivers. 
     Federal funds should be aligned so that states have the 
     ability to use resources to keep children at home when it is 
     safe to do so and services to ensure that children do not 
     languish in foster care.
       Thank you for your dedication. We look forward to the 
     continued work of improving

[[Page H6898]]

     services and outcomes for vulnerable children.
           Sincerely,
     Cari DeSantis,
       Executive Director, APHSA.
     Erin Sullivan Sutton,
       President, NAPCWA.

                              {time}  1150

  Mr. McDermott. Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time and 
urge a ``yes'' vote.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the 
gentleman from Washington (Mr. McDermott) that the House suspend the 
rules and pass the bill, H.R. 6156, as amended.
  The question was taken; and (two-thirds being in the affirmative) the 
rules were suspended and the bill was passed.
  A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.

                          ____________________