Infórmate February 2015

President Barack Obama visits a Head Start classroom.

ACF Programs Receive Boost from FY 2016 Budget

 

On Feb. 2, the Obama Administration released its fiscal year 2016 Budget. At the Administration for Children and Families, we are proud that this year’s budget includes a number of significant proposals that, if enacted, would provide crucial help to needy children, families and communities, and advance the President’s goals of promoting mobility and opportunity.

Children

  • Our budget contains a historic proposal to guarantee child care assistance to all low-income families with children under age 4. To make this possible, we are proposing to expand federal matching funds through the Child Care and Development Fund to both broaden access and improve the quality of care.  Over 10 years, this proposal would extend high quality child care to over a million additional infants, toddlers, and 3-year-olds.
  • The budget provides sufficient funding so that Head Start programs across the nation can offer full-day programs throughout the school year.  While some Head Start programs operate at this level now, most do not, and research tells us that full-day, full-school-year programs are an important way to promote better outcomes for children.
  • For the child welfare system, this budget proposes a new initiative to provide federal matching funds to states to prevent removals and foster care placements by using evidence-based and evidence-informed pre- and post-placement services for children at risk of entering foster care.  And we are proposing new efforts to support family-based care as an alternative to congregate care. We will do this by expanding funding for services while requiring that congregate care placements be judicially reviewed every six months to ensure they are in the best interest of the child.

Communities

  • We are very happy that this budget maintains funding for the Community Services Block Grant at $674 million.  This change from recent Administration’s budgets that proposed reductions reflects the dramatic progress in accountability and performance management, and we continue to urge that Congress take additional steps toward these goals.  Under the budget, the Upward Mobility Project would allow up to 10 communities, states, or consortia of states and communities to combine funds from up to four existing block grants -- CSBG, Social Services Block Grant, and funding from HUD through the Community Development Block Grant and HOME Programs--for efforts to promote opportunity and reduce poverty.
  • This year’s budget strengthens our efforts to address domestic violence, proposing an additional $10 million for services to domestic violence victims; $8 million to expand the work of the national domestic violence hotline; and $5 million to provide services to the children of domestic violence victims.
  • For runaway and homeless youth, we are renewing our request for funding a national prevalence study to better understand the numbers and characteristics of homeless youth. We are also seeking $5 million for expanded transitional living program services, including $1 million to address the needs of LGBTQ youth, and we’re seeking funding to expand our efforts to monitor and ensure program quality.
  • While the number of unaccompanied children arriving in the United States has fallen considerably since last summer, our budget seeks funding to address the current estimated needs and proposes a contingency fund that will provide additional funding if  the numbers increase beyond what is anticipated. The budget also includes funding to address the needs of the estimated number of refugees and other eligible populations who will arrive in 2016. In addition, the budget sustains our current funding level for emergency preparedness efforts.
  • The budget proposes significantly expanded efforts to address human trafficking. We propose to maintain $13 million in funding for foreign victims of trafficking, and increase the funding for domestic victims from $2.8 million to $9 million. We are also seeking $15 million for funding to help child welfare agencies implement their new responsibilities to address trafficking under last year’s legislation.
  • We propose to maintain Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program funding at its current level, while establishing a floor (10 percent) and a higher ceiling (40 percent) for the amount of funding used for weatherization in order to reduce the long-term need for assistance. And we’re proposing a Utility Innovation Fund to test strategies to help low-income families reduce their energy burdens.
  • This year’s budget proposes $50 million for ACF’s Native American Programs, a $3.5 million increase and that includes a new initiative to improve Native American language instruction across the educational continuum. The budget also proposes new start-up funding for tribal IV-E programs, and an additional $20 million for Tribal child welfare efforts under the Promoting Safe and Stable Families Program.

Families

  • For the Child Support Program, we are renewing a number of prior proposals for efforts to ensure that children benefit when support is paid, for promoting access and visitation, and for improving program efficiency. In addition, we are proposing a $100 million per year Research Fund designed to support research on family-centered strategies and support state efforts to implement these evidence-based strategies.
  • The budget proposes an important step forward for federal assets policy, by seeking to use up to 30 percent of funding under the Assets for Independence Program to create the Asset Innovation Fund to explore and test a wide variety of innovative strategies for asset building, such as children and youth savings accounts.  Also key to this proposal is the request to use up to $3 million of AFI program funds for research and evaluation, so that these innovative projects can be properly evaluated.
  • For the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, we are renewing our request to restructure the Contingency Fund to focus on subsidized employment opportunities. This proposal builds on states’ and communities’ significant successes in helping families attain employment when TANF agencies have implemented subsidized employment strategies.

Evidence-Based Programs

  • Finally, we are very pleased that this budget contains a historic expansion of efforts relating to research and evaluation, including expanded research relating to early childhood, new research efforts for LIHEAP, CSBG, the Social Services Block Grant, and the Assets for Independence Program, the Child Support Program and more. At ACF, it is fundamental to our work that our efforts, and the efforts of our grantees, be evidence-based and evidence-informed, and we are seeking to ensure that we are building the evidence base across all of our work.

This is not a complete list of our proposals – our full budget request can be found at /programs/olab/budget. As the President has emphasized, at a time when our economy is stronger, and with needed tax reforms, we can implement these efforts, and more, to expand opportunity, promote mobility and address crucial needs.

Mark Greenberg
Acting Assistant Secretary
  for Children and Families

Este artículo también está disponible en español.

 


OUTREACH

 

Open Enrollment for the Marketplace Ends Feb. 15

Since Open Enrollment began on Nov. 15, nearly 7.5 million consumers have selected a plan or were automatically re-enrolled through the HealthCare.gov Visit disclaimer page platform, which includes the Federally Facilitated Marketplace (FFM), State Partnership Marketplaces and supported State-Based Marketplaces. This deadline for this year's Open Enrollment is Feb. 15. HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell states, “Time is running out. Consumers should shop at HealthCare.gov for an affordable plan that fits their budget and health needs and join the millions of Americans who have signed up to date. Eighty-seven percent of those who have signed up for coverage through HealthCare.gov quality for financial assistance to help lower the cost of their premiums."

To help community leaders, the HHS Partnership Center and CMS Office of Communications are hosting webinars to inform the community about the Affordable Care Act:

Federal Income Taxes and Health Coverage 101 Visit disclaimer page
Wednesday, Feb. 25 at 2 p.m. (EST)
(1 pm CST, Noon MST, 11 am PST)
To Join By Phone Only: Dial + +1 (480) 297-0021, Access Code: 362-066-915
For those joining by phone only, the Pin Number is the # key
The 2015 tax season is the first time individuals and families will be asked for some basic information regarding their health coverage on their tax returns. Learn what consumers need to know when filing their taxes, the importance of Form 1095-A and the penalty for not having health insurance. Questions will be answered at the end of the webinar.

Reminder: Deadline to Enroll is Sunday, Feb. 15. Visit HealthCare.gov Visit disclaimer page or CuidadodeSalud.gov Visit disclaimer page today.


NEWS

 

Image of two Hispanic boys smiling.Qualified Guatemalan, Honduran and Salvadoran Youth Get Legal Option to Reunite with Family

The Department of State is pleased to announce a new in-country refugee and parole program for certain qualified minors in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. The program will allow certain parents who are lawfully present in the U.S. to request access to the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for their children still in one of these three countries. The Central American Minors (CAM) Refugee/Parole Program was established to provide a safe, legal, and orderly alternative to the dangerous journey that some children are currently undertaking to the United States. The CAM program began accepting applications from parents in the U.S. for their children on December 1, 2014. Only certain parents are eligible to file for their children. Minors must be in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, be unmarried, and under the age of 21. In certain cases, the parent of the Qualifying Child who is also the spouse of the Qualifying Parent may also be eligible. Click here for eligibility details.


PROGRAM

 

Image removed.HHS Releases Additional $300 Million to Help Families and Seniors Heat Homes

Nearly $300 million is now available from ACF to help Americans who struggle to heat their homes during frigid temperatures this winter. The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) funds assist households, including those with children and seniors, with home energy needs such as heating in the winter, cooling in the summer, and insulation to make them more energy efficient and reduce energy costs. HHS released close to $3 billion in LIHEAP funding last October and is now making additional funding available to states, territories, tribes and the District of Columbia to help households with their heating and home energy costs.


SPOTLIGHT

 

Vintage black and white photo of Head Start students when the program first began.Head Start: Leading the Way for 50 Years

As we enter 2015, we are fortunate to reflect on the 50th year of Head Start services. In May of 1965, the first Head Start summer programs began providing the most vulnerable preschool children and their families with comprehensive services to meet their emotional, social, health, nutritional, and mental health needs. Many of the things that were true in the early days are still true today.

Project Head Start from its inception was conceived to be a program developed by local communities to meet local needs. The Office of Economic Opportunity intends that it be a flexible program allowing for, and stimulating, original ideas and innovating approaches in the War Against Poverty. While experience gained so far has shown us what basic ingredients are needed to formulate a good Head Start program, we want to encourage creativity as long as the comprehensive nature of the program is maintained.
— How to Apply for Head Start Child Development Programs, Community Action Program,  Office of Economic Opportunity, September 1966

Even so, Head Start continues to evolve. We seek and implement evidence-based practices, and hold programs accountable to high standards of quality. We have increased our emphasis on continuums of care, and support the changing landscape of Head Start agencies. The Office of Head Start looks forward to celebrating this milestone with the Head Start community. We plan to recognize the core values of Head Start throughout the year.

Each month we will explore a key theme through videos, blog posts, and stories from the front lines. Our celebrations will culminate in a live/virtual event in October.  Local programs are invited to tune in to our broadcast, while celebrating with their local community. I hope you take time to celebrate Head Start with your agency and community, recognizing our heritage and our future as we continue to lead the way for children and families.

For the latest news on Head Start, click here.


GRANTS

 

ACF programs have a variety of funding opportunities available to support social service programming at the state, local and tribal levels. Our grantees include:

  • Nonprofit Organizations
  • For-profit Organizations
  • Government
  • Educational Organizations
  • Public Housing Groups

ACF funds an array of activities that support the economic and social well-being of people throughout the country. Find out which ACF grants are available today: Funding Opportunities. To learn how to apply for a grant, view this guide to resources for community and faith-based organizations. To learn how to become a grant reviewer, view the ACF Grant Review Guide (and in Español). To learn more about grant and funding opportunities within the individual ACF programs, visit these links:

 


EMPLOYMENT

 

Interested in Working with ACF?

ACF is working hard to increase diversity within its workforce and to enhance the cultural competency of the agency, its employees and its contractors. One sure way to reach its goal is to hire more people from diverse backgrounds. Please visit www.usajobs.gov Visit disclaimer page and search for vacancies in the Administration for Children and Families within the Department of Health and Human Services.

ACF Job Openings (partial list, for complete list visit usajobs.gov Visit disclaimer page ):

HHS Job Openings. Apply here:

Are you a Federal Employee with Status? Apply here:

Are You a Student or Recent Graduate Who Wants to Work in the White House?

Interested in Student or Summer Internships in the Federal Government?


SUBSCRIBE

 

Thank you for taking the time to learn about ACF opportunities. For more information, or to sign up a new recipient for Infόrmate, contact Special Assistant Jesus Garcia in the ACF Office of Public Affairs at jesus.garcia@acf.hhs.gov. For past issues, click on this link: Infόrmate