(House of Representatives - June 20, 2017)

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[Congressional Record Volume 163, Number 105 (Tuesday, June 20, 2017)]
[Pages H4966-H4968]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                          SUBSTANCE ABUSE ACT

  Mrs. NOEM. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the bill 
(H.R. 2834) to improve the well-being of, and improve permanency 
outcomes for, children and families affected by heroin, opioids, and 
other substance abuse, as amended.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The text of the bill is as follows:

                               H.R. 2834

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


       This Act may be cited as the ``Partnership Grants to 
     Strengthen Families Affected by Parental Substance Abuse 


       Section 437(f) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 
     629g(f)) is amended--
       (1) in the subsection heading, by striking ``Increase the 
     Well-being of, and to Improve the Permanency Outcomes for, 
     Children Affected by'' and inserting ``Implement IV-E 
     Prevention Services, and Improve the Well-being of, and 
     Improve Permanency Outcomes for, Children and Families 
     Affected by Heroin, Opioids, and Other'';
       (2) by striking paragraph (2) and inserting the following:
       ``(2) Regional partnership defined.--In this subsection, 
     the term `regional partnership' means a collaborative 
     agreement (which may be established on an interstate, State, 
     or intrastate basis) entered into by the following:
       ``(A) Mandatory partners for all partnership grants.--
       ``(i) The State child welfare agency that is responsible 
     for the administration of the State plan under this part and 
     part E.
       ``(ii) The State agency responsible for administering the 
     substance abuse prevention and treatment block grant provided 
     under subpart II of part B of title XIX of the Public Health 
     Service Act.
       ``(B) Mandatory partners for partnership grants proposing 
     to serve children in out-of-home placements.--If the 
     partnership proposes to serve children in out-of-home 
     placements, the Juvenile Court or Administrative Office of 
     the Court that is most appropriate to oversee the 
     administration of court programs in the region to address the 
     population of families who come to the attention of the court 
     due to child abuse or neglect.
       ``(C) Optional partners.--At the option of the partnership, 
     any of the following:
       ``(i) An Indian tribe or tribal consortium.
       ``(ii) Nonprofit child welfare service providers.
       ``(iii) For-profit child welfare service providers.
       ``(iv) Community health service providers, including 
     substance abuse treatment providers.
       ``(v) Community mental health providers.
       ``(vi) Local law enforcement agencies.
       ``(vii) School personnel.
       ``(viii) Tribal child welfare agencies (or a consortia of 
     the agencies).
       ``(ix) Any other providers, agencies, personnel, officials, 
     or entities that are related to the provision of child and 
     family services under a State plan approved under this 
       ``(D) Exception for regional partnerships where the lead 
     applicant is an indian tribe or tribal consortia.--If an 
     Indian tribe or tribal consortium enters into a regional 
     partnership for purposes of this subsection, the Indian tribe 
     or tribal consortium--
       ``(i) may (but is not required to) include the State child 
     welfare agency as a partner in the collaborative agreement;
       ``(ii) may not enter into a collaborative agreement only 
     with tribal child welfare agencies (or a consortium of the 
     agencies); and
       ``(iii) if the condition described in paragraph (2)(B) 
     applies, may include tribal court organizations in lieu of 
     other judicial partners.'';
       (3) in paragraph (3)--
       (A) in subparagraph (A), by striking ``$500,000 and not 
     more than $1,000,000'' and inserting ``$250,000 and not more 
     than $1,000,000'';
       (B) in subparagraph (B)--
       (i) in the subparagraph heading, by inserting ``; 
     planning'' after ``approval'';
       (ii) in clause (i), by striking ``clause (ii)'' and 
     inserting ``clauses (ii) and (iii)''; and
       (iii) by adding at the end the following:
       ``(iii) Sufficient planning.--A grant awarded under this 
     subsection shall be disbursed in two phases: a planning phase 
     (not to exceed 2 years) and an implementation phase. The 
     total disbursement to a grantee for the planning phase may 
     not exceed $250,000, and may not exceed the total anticipated 
     funding for the implementation phase.''; and
       (C) by adding at the end the following:
       ``(D) Limitation on payment for a fiscal year.--No payment 
     shall be made under subparagraph (A) or (C) for a fiscal year 
     until the Secretary determines that the eligible partnership 
     has made sufficient progress in meeting the goals of the 
     grant and that the members of the eligible partnership are 
     coordinating to a reasonable degree with the other members of 
     the eligible partnership.'';
       (4) in paragraph (4)--
       (A) in subparagraph (B)--
       (i) in clause (i), by inserting ``, parents, and families'' 
     after ``children'';
       (ii) in clause (ii), by striking ``safety and permanence 
     for such children; and'' and inserting ``safe, permanent 
     caregiving relationships for the children;'';
       (iii) in clause (iii), by striking ``or'' and inserting 
     ``increase reunification rates for children who have been 
     placed in out-of-home care, or decrease''; and
       (iv) by redesignating clause (iii) as clause (v) and 
     inserting after clause (ii) the following:
       ``(iii) improve the substance abuse treatment outcomes for 
     parents including retention in treatment and successful 
     completion of treatment;
       ``(iv) facilitate the implementation, delivery, and 
     effectiveness of prevention services and programs under 
     section 471(e); and'';
       (B) in subparagraph (D), by striking ``where 
     appropriate,''; and
       (C) by striking subparagraphs (E) and (F) and inserting the 
       ``(E) A description of a plan for sustaining the services 
     provided by or activities funded under the grant after the 
     conclusion of the grant period, including through the use of 
     prevention services and programs under section 471(e) and 
     other funds provided to the State for child welfare and 
     substance abuse prevention and treatment services.
       ``(F) Additional information needed by the Secretary to 
     determine that the proposed activities and implementation 
     will be consistent with research or evaluations showing which 
     practices and approaches are most effective.'';
       (5) in paragraph (5)(A), by striking ``abuse treatment'' 
     and inserting ``use disorder treatment including medication 
     assisted treatment and in-home substance abuse disorder 
     treatment and recovery'';
       (6) in paragraph (7)--
       (A) by striking ``and'' at the end of subparagraph (C); and
       (B) by redesignating subparagraph (D) as subparagraph (E) 
     and inserting after subparagraph (C) the following:
       ``(D) demonstrate a track record of successful 
     collaboration among child welfare, substance abuse disorder 
     treatment and mental health agencies; and'';
       (7) in paragraph (8)--
       (A) in subparagraph (A)--
       (i) by striking ``establish indicators that will be'' and 
     inserting ``review indicators that are''; and
       (ii) by striking ``in using funds made available under such 
     grants to achieve the purpose of this subsection'' and 
     inserting ``and establish a set of core indicators related to 
     child safety, parental recovery, parenting capacity, and 
     family well-being. In developing the core indicators, to the 
     extent possible, indicators shall be made consistent with the 
     outcome measures described in section 471(e)(6)''; and
       (B) in subparagraph (B)--
       (i) in the matter preceding clause (i), by inserting ``base 
     the performance measures on lessons learned from prior rounds 
     of regional partnership grants under this subsection, and'' 
     before ``consult''; and
       (ii) by striking clauses (iii) and (iv) and inserting the 
       ``(iii) Other stakeholders or constituencies as determined 
     by the Secretary.''; and
       (8) in paragraph (9)(A), by striking clause (i) and 
     inserting the following:
       ``(i) Semiannual reports.--Not later than September 30 of 
     each fiscal year in which a recipient of a grant under this 
     subsection is paid funds under the grant, and every 6 months 
     thereafter, the grant recipient shall submit to the Secretary 
     a report on the services provided and activities carried out 
     during the reporting period, progress made in achieving the 
     goals of the program, the number of children, adults, and 
     families receiving services, and such additional information 
     as the Secretary determines is necessary. The report due not 
     later than September 30 of the last such fiscal year shall 
     include, at a minimum, data on each of the performance

[[Page H4967]]

     indicators included in the evaluation of the regional 


       (a) In General.--Subject to subsection (b), the amendments 
     made by this Act shall take effect on October 1, 2017.
       (b) Transition Rule.--
       (1) In general.--In the case of a State plan under part B 
     of title IV of the Social Security Act which the Secretary of 
     Health and Human Services determines requires State 
     legislation (other than legislation appropriating funds) in 
     order for the plan to meet the additional requirements 
     imposed by the amendments made by this Act, the State plan 
     shall not be regarded as failing to comply with the 
     requirements of such part solely on the basis of the failure 
     of the plan to meet such additional requirements before the 
     first day of the first calendar quarter beginning after the 
     close of the first regular session of the State legislature 
     that begins after the date of enactment of this Act. For 
     purposes of the previous sentence, in the case of a State 
     that has a 2-year legislative session, each year of the 
     session shall be deemed to be a separate regular session of 
     the State legislature.
       (2) Application to programs operated by indian tribal 
     organizations.--In the case of an Indian tribe, tribal 
     organization, or tribal consortium which the Secretary of 
     Health and Human Services determines requires time to take 
     action necessary to comply with the additional requirements 
     imposed by the amendments made by this Act (whether the 
     tribe, organization, or tribal consortium has a plan under 
     section 479B of the Social Security Act or a cooperative 
     agreement or contract entered into with a State), the 
     Secretary shall provide the tribe, organization, or tribal 
     consortium with such additional time as the Secretary 
     determines is necessary for the tribe, organization, or 
     tribal consortium to take the action to comply with the 
     additional requirements before being regarded as failing to 
     comply with the requirements.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentlewoman from 
South Dakota (Mrs. Noem) and the gentleman from Illinois (Mr. Danny K. 
Davis) each will control 20 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from South Dakota.

                             General Leave

  Mrs. NOEM. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may 
have 5 legislative days within which to revise and extend their remarks 
and include extraneous material on H.R. 2834, currently under 
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentlewoman from South Dakota?
  There was no objection.
  Mrs. NOEM. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of the Partnership Grants to 
Strengthen Families Affected by Parental Substance Abuse Act. I applaud 
Mr. Davis for all of the excellent work he has done on this issue.
  Most substantiated child abuse and neglect cases involve substance 
abuse by a parent or a guardian. This is something we are seeing all 
too often in places like my home State of South Dakota. Substance 
abuse, especially alcohol and meth, result in far too many instances of 
child abuse, domestic abuse, and other kinds of violent crime and 
  Historically, a lack of coordination and collaboration has hindered 
the ability of those working in the fields of child welfare and 
substance abuse, and even the courts, from fully supporting families in 
substance abuse crisis.
  Families involved with child welfare have complex needs. No two cases 
are alike. It is for this reason that improving outcomes for parents 
and children require a coordinated effort among all systems.
  This bill strengthens the Regional Partnership Grants program, which 
provides funding to State and regional grantees seeking to provide 
evidence-based services to prevent child abuse and neglect related to 
substance abuse. Most importantly, this bill updates the RPG program to 
specifically address the opioid and heroin epidemics.
  By ensuring better coordination, this bill will also encourage States 
to address the well-being of the family as a whole, using evidence-
based approaches to help parents and children at the same time, so many 
children can stay safely at home with their families.
  Finally, this bill is noncontroversial and it is bipartisan. 
Provisions in this bill were contained in the Family First Prevention 
Services Act last Congress, which passed the House by a voice vote. The 
Family First Act, as you recall, was supported by over 500 State and 
local organizations representing a wide range of practitioners and 
advocacy organizations.
  Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to stand with Mr. Davis in 
supporting this bill today.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. DANNY K. DAVIS of Illinois. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time 
as I may consume.
  I strongly support H.R. 2834, the Partnership Grants to Strengthen 
Families Affected by Parental Substance Abuse Act.
  I am pleased to join with Congresswoman Noem in leading this bill to 
strengthen families by addressing parental substance abuse and 
decreasing the number of children entering foster care. Our bill is 
common sense. It takes the research lessons from the smaller scale 
Regional Partnership Grants and expands those efforts to the State 
  We know that substance abuse underlies a substantial percentage of 
child welfare cases, affecting between one-third to two-thirds of 
children in care. Aside from neglect, alcohol or other drug use is the 
number one reason for removal from the home. In 2014, over 77,000 
youths were removed from their homes due to drug abuse.
  What is exciting is that we have strong empirical evidence that 
working with parents experiencing substance abuse significantly helps 
children and families; specifically, working with these families helps 
children to experience fewer days in foster care, higher reunification 
rates, less recurrence of child maltreatment, and better permanency 
over time.
  H.R. 2834 provides the opportunity to scale up these successes from 
smaller, targeted interventions into full State interventions, while 
building the research to better inform Federal policy overall.
  My home State of Illinois has led the Nation in addressing substance 
abuse issues in child welfare. We know that we need to do more to 
address this problem, but we know what works and we know we can work 
bipartisanly to support families in addressing substance abuse so that 
we can increase permanency and safety.
  When I ask foster youth what policymakers could do to make child 
welfare better, they almost always say: ``You could have helped my mom 
and dad.'' That is what we do today.
  I urge passage of this important legislation.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mrs. NOEM. Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. DANNY K. DAVIS of Illinois. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the 
gentlewoman from California, (Ms. Bass).
  Ms. BASS. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H.R. 2834, the 
Partnership Grants to Strengthen Families Affected by Parental 
Substance Abuse Act.
  This piece of legislation is responsive to countless pleas of youth 
and families seeking necessary assistance and support without 
fracturing critical family bonds and relationships.
  The majority of children who are removed from home are actually 
removed for neglect and not physical or sexual abuse. Over 60 percent 
of children are removed for neglect, and neglect is secondary to 
substance abuse, mental health issues, and abject poverty.
  In the 1990s, when the crack cocaine epidemic hit, we didn't 
understand much about addiction, and so we were angry. We punished the 
mothers. We imprisoned the mothers. We took the children away, and we 
didn't realize that actually not addressing the underlying substance 
abuse issue would really be more harmful to the children than removing 
them and putting them into foster care.

  Now that we are experiencing another epidemic related to drugs, both 
with meth and with heroin, at least our knowledge base has grown a lot. 
We have drug courts. We have evidence-based treatments. We have a lot 
of ways that we can address families.
  One of the things that we have learned is that, if you can put the 
entire family in treatment, then, that way, one, the parents are not 
separated from their children, the children can get help, and the 
parents can get help as well.
  What often happens if you remove the child from the parent is that 
you set the parent up to relapse or to never actually go into treatment 
because they will cycle into depression, and they will continue their 
cycle of addiction.

[[Page H4968]]

  We have had many children who actually wound up growing up in foster 
care because their parents were removed ask us, why didn't we help the 
family, why didn't we help their parents. Sadly, what has happened to 
many of these children, when they grow up, they continue the same cycle 
of going into depression, winding up in addiction.
  Over the years, the National Foster Youth Institute in conjunction 
with the Congressional Caucus on Foster Youth have organized many 
different delegations and trips around the country looking at the 
different foster care systems. Our very first listening tour was in Los 
Angeles, and we visited a program called SHIELDS for Families.
  SHIELDS for Families is a very large drug treatment program that has 
functioned for over 20 years by keeping the entire family together, and 
some of these families can remain in residential care for as long as a 
year. They have been able to reduce the number of children who were 
removed and go into the foster care system because they provide 
treatment for the family as a whole.
  This bill would modify the award criteria for Health and Human 
Services to consider whether a partnership has a track record of 
selective collaboration among child welfare, substance abuse disorder 
treatment, and mental health agencies. Simply put, this bill is 
designed to keep families together.
  I urge my colleagues to support H.R. 2834.
  Mrs. NOEM. Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. DANNY K. DAVIS of Illinois. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time 
as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, over a decade of research shows the successes of helping 
families involved in the child welfare system who struggle with 
substance abuse. Through this research, we know that there are seven 
common ingredients that help improve families' outcomes: a system of 
identifying families, earlier access to assessment and treatment 
services, increased management of recovery services and compliance, 
increased judicial oversight, responses to participant behavior based 
on proven contingency management approaches, collaborative approaches 
across service systems and courts, and improved family-centered 
services and repair of parent-child relationships.

                              {time}  1730

  Again, Mr. Speaker, it has been a pleasure for my staff and I to have 
the opportunity to work with Mrs. Noem and her staff in preparing this 
  And I might note that on Saturday of this past week, a group of us in 
Illinois took two busloads of children to a special program run by the 
Illinois Department of Corrections at the Sheridan Correctional Center 
to see their fathers, who were all involved in a special program 
established for individuals who were incarcerated for crimes dealing 
with substance and who, themselves, were substance users. This 
experience was so exciting in terms of these individuals finding help, 
and their children being able to interact with them, even though they 
were incarcerated.
  So someone asked me what was I going to do for Father's Day, and I 
told them after we returned that I have had my Father's Day experience. 
If we can help these individuals to rid themselves of the tremendous 
habits and difficulty that they have of substance use, then Father's 
Day would be good enough.
  Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman from South Dakota (Mrs. Noem), 
and I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mrs. NOEM. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I, again, want to applaud Mr. Davis for all of his work 
on this issue. I know he is passionate and has a big heart for our 
children, especially those that are in difficult situations such as we 
are discussing today.
  This bill will help us protect the fundamental element of our 
society, and that is the family. It will keep families together. It 
will empower courts and child welfare workers to coordinate for the 
good of children, and I am proud to support this bill.
  I ask for the support of this legislation that is before us, Mr. 
Speaker, and I yield back the balance of my time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Hollingsworth). The question is on the 
motion offered by the gentlewoman from South Dakota (Mrs. Noem) that 
the House suspend the rules and pass the bill, H.R. 2834, as amended.
  The question was taken; and (two-thirds being in the affirmative) the 
rules were suspended and the bill, as amended, was passed.
  A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.