State & Federal Legislative Highlights

The MAGIC Charities Foundation plans to monitor and promote changes in public policy to help children grow up in an environment that is is safe and healthy and have equal access to education and educational support.

Advocacy in Action

MAGIC Charities supports the Supporting Foster Youth and Families Through the Pandemic Act.  Advocates at MAGIC have signed a petition in support of the bill and contacted Congressional leadership, and members of the Senate Finance Committee urging them to include the provisions of the bill in their negotiations for the next COVID relief package.

MAGIC also joined 200 agencies in a nationwide effort to encourage Congress to waive the 20 hour-per-week work requirement in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) to increase access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for students enrolled in post-secondary education.

State & Federal Legislative Highlights

2020

August 7, 2020 (Pending). The Supporting Foster Youth and Families through the Pandemic Act was introduced in the House of Representatives with a goal to include the provisions of this Bill in the next COVID relief package. This bill addresses the urgent needs of children, youth and families involved with the child welfare system during COVID-19. It includes key provisions that will provide immediate assistance to older youth in foster care during the COVID-19 crises. This bill will help older youth in foster care by:

  • Placing a moratorium on aging out of care so young people remain connected to services
  • Allowing re-entry into foster care
  • Increasing Chafee funds by $400 million to meet the immediate needs of young people
  • Expanding Chafee eligibility through age 26
  • Removing the 30% Chafee housing cap
  • Increasing Education & Training Vouchers from$5,000 to $12,000 per person per year.

 

July 1, 2020. Dept. of Human Services Extends Eligibility for Aftercare Services for Former Foster Youth to Age 23 Under previous policy, youth exiting foster care after age 14 were eligible for services to support them in transition to adulthood up to age 21.

March 27, 2020. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed which includes a $15.8 billion appropriation for SNAP and $8.8 billion for child nutrition programs.

March 18, 2020. The Families first Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) authorized $199 billion in relief, includes explicit provisions for nutrition assistance. The legislation allows states to request waivers for providing temporary emergency benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to households already enrolled in the program with children who would normally receive free or reduced-price meals, up to the maximum monthly allotment of $646 for a family of four.

December 20, 2019. Building upon the 2018 Family First Prevention Services Act, the Family First Transition Act provides one-time, flexible funding for states and tribes to help implement Family First, as well as short-term funding guarantees for states with expiring Title IV-E waivers. This will allow states to move forward with preventative programs without a financial shortfall during their transition.
 

July 31, 2019. Governor Wolf signed an executive order for the Protection of Vulnerable Populations. This establishes an Office of Advocacy and Reform, maintained by the governor’s office with an executive director that includes a new Child Advocate position. MAGIC Charities will follow this appointment and work to advocate through this office in support of children’s well-being.  Click here to learn more…

July 30, 2019.  HUD established the Foster Youth to Independence initiative in which public housing agencies partnering with public child welfare agencies may request Housing Choice Vouchers in the form of Tenant Protection Vouchers to assist eligible youth (aged 18 to 24 who have left or are leaving foster care or are at risk for homelessness) for a period of 36 months. Click here to learn more…

June 28, 2019. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed into law the Fostering Independence through Education Act. This Act waives tuition for young adults who have been in foster care since the age of 16 or older. They are allowed five (5) years to complete education. The Act requires a sole contact person to help these students with financial aid. It does not include funds for room and board. Students must have completed a GED or high school diploma. Click here to learn more…

February 9, 2018. The Family First Prevention Services Act, a Federal level act is being rolled out at the state level. It focuses on prevention of children entering foster services and emphasizes keeping them with family first. It has created more barriers to going into foster care.  Local agencies have implied it means a more complex approval process for entering foster care. Click here to learn more…

Major Federal Legislation concerned with Child Protection, Child Welfare, and Adoption 

The primary responsibility for child welfare services rests with the States. Each State has its own legal and administrative structures and programs that address the needs of children and families. However, States must comply with specific Federal requirements and guidelines in order to be eligible for Federal funding under certain programs.

For more information regarding U.S. Federal Legislation about child protection, visit the Child Welfare Information Gateway Factsheet.