Monday, July 28, 2008

Senate Child Welfare Bill (Companion to H.R. 6307) Still In Development, Call-In Day Today!

This is important, so I have added it today in addition to the regularly scheduled posts.

"The Senate Finance Committee is still in discussion over a possible child welfare bill that would be the companion to the McDermott-Weller bill, H.R. 6307. (See Children's Monitor, July 7, 2008.) The committee was expected to act last week, but it is engaged in debates over several issues. As a result, CWLA is joining in an effort to have a call-in day today, Monday July 28, to urge members of the Senate Finance Committee to act before the August Congressional break.

The states with Finance Committee members include Arizona (John Kyl-R), Arkansas (Blanche Lincoln-D), Colorado (Ken Salazar-D), Idaho (Mike Crapo-R), Iowa (Chuck Grassely-R, Ranking Republican), Kansas (Pat Roberts-R), Kentucky (Jim Bunning-R), Maine (Olympia Snowe-R), Massachusetts (John Kerry-D), Michigan (Debbie Strabenow-D), Montana (Max Baucus-D, Committee Chair), Nevada (John Ensign-R), New Hampshire (John Sununu-R), New Mexico (Jeff Bingaman-D), New York (Charles Schumer-D), North Dakota (Kent Conrad-D), Oregon (Gordon Smith-R and Ron Wyden-D), Utah (Orrin Hatch-R), Washington (Maria Cantwell-D), and West Virginia (Jay Rockefeller-D). Everyone in these states is urged to call their Senate members of the Finance Committee and ask their Senators to act now to reauthorize the Adoption Incentive Program and help support adoption and relative guardianship.

A toll-free number for the call-in effort is open Monday and Tuesday, July 28-29; call 1-888-686-8191. We urge everyone to call in on these days.

The Senate bill, like the bipartisan McDermott-Weller bill in the House, is expected to include several other key provisions. The McDermott-Weller bill includes provisions on kinship care, direct access to federal funds by tribal governments, expanded access to training funds for child welfare workers, and extended supports to foster youth and adoptive families, as well as strengthening health and education requirements.

The next critical step is for the Senate to act before the August recess, which would allow for any differences between the House and Senate to be negotiated during the August break."

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