Action Alerts


 


Action Alert: COVID-19 Relief to Support Wisconsin Families

July 16 2020   

BACKGROUND:  The next two weeks are critical for ensuring that members of Congress adopt a COVID-19 response package that puts the needs of children and families first. This means providing more federal aid to states to preserve critical health and human services; and temporarily increasing SNAP benefits, housing assistance, and tax credits for low-income families and workers to help people pay the rent and buy food, and adopting emergency assistance for those who have been left behind in prior federal relief packages, including immigrants.

The next round of federal support needs to reflect the unprecedented challenges of this ongoing pandemic and increased supports must extend into 2021 and not end prematurely.

WHY THIS MATTERS TODAY: Members of Congress are currently considering a next round of COVID-19 financial relief. The US House adopted HR 6800, a $3T funding package, in May (HEROES Act Summary) which will form the basis for their negotiating position rolling into the end of July. Meanwhile US Senate majority leaders and the administration have indicated that they intend to support a smaller package valued at about $1T that will prioritize, among other things, the needs of children.

This is a key moment to raise up your organizational needs and the needs of the children and families you serve.


TAKE ACTION 

1) CONTACT YOUR CONGRESSIONAL REPRESENTATIVES 

KEY MESSAGES:  Don't be overwhelmed by the message options below. Pick one action or one priority message that resonates with you and your agency and make at least one one contact. (Or overachieve and reach out on them all!)
  • Support Children and Families at the Margins who have been Disproportionately Impacted by the Pandemic (Details/talking points)
  • Provide Sustaining Support for Behavioral Health and Child Welfare through an FMAP Increase (Details/talking points)
  • Support Nonprofit Human Services by Adopting #Relief4Charities (Details)

2 ) #FocusOnKids - JOIN NATIONAL PARTNERS IN SOCIAL MEDIA ACTION

A broad range of national child and family advocates, including First Focus, Children's Defense Fund, and CWLA are joining together in two weeks of coordinated action on behalf of key issues such as food and housing security, health care coverage, and child welfare. Use your social media skills to add your voice!  

3) Let us know that you took action! Copy [email protected] on your email message or tweet us @wafca_wi to let us know about your outreach. 

Questions? Contact Kathy Markeland, [email protected] if you have any questions or need help with your advocacy. Thank you!


Support Children and Families at the Margins who have been Disproportionately Impacted (Source: CBPP)

WAFCA members are joining our voices with those advocating on behalf of low-income families who have been especially hard hit over the past several months. Priorities to preserve and sustain these families should include: 


Provide Sustaining Support for Behavioral Health and Child Welfare through FMAP Increase
(Source: CWLA)

As providers of behavioral health and child welfare services, WAFCA members are part of the critical human services infrastructure supporting families through this challenging time – and we need additional support to ensure that we can continue in our missions going forward. Such federal aid should include an enhanced FMAP rate of at least 14% through 2021. This additional federal match should flow through to support enhanced rates in Medicaid to help providers recover from pandemic-generated losses and payments to child welfare providers to offset additional workforce and operational costs as they continue to respond with essential services for vulnerable children and families in our foster care systems. 

In the Families First COVID-19 emergency supplemental bill, Congress acted swiftly to provide a much-needed 6.2 percentage increase in the FMAP. As the pandemic increases the duration and depth of health and economic challenges, the US House of Representatives took action to expand the FMAP to 14 percent in H.R. 6800. This FMAP increase must extend to Title IV-E child welfare programs including foster care, subsidized guardianships, and adoption assistance. 

Talking points:

  • The bipartisan National Governors Association (NGA) and the National Association of Medicaid Directors have gone on record calling for Congress to expand the FMAP and to tie both the amount and duration to unemployment and economic recovery. 
  • Medicaid is unique in that it responds automatically to health and economic crises, expanding as needed to meet health care needs during a recession while the reverse occurs in better economic times.  Medicaid funding is critical to addressing the behavioral health needs of children and families both in the formal child welfare system as well as families in need of preventive services.
  • Skyrocketing unemployment, and unprecedented decline in state revenues are creating historic state budget shortfalls. States and territories are struggling to meet the growing demand for vital public services. Some states have implemented deep cuts to their Medicaid programs while other states anticipate similar reductions. In addition, other vital human services will have to absorb significant cuts that will harm the families we serve. 
  • An increase in the FMAP has been deployed in past recessions and is one of the most effective ways for Congress to help stabilize the economy. Such increases preserve health care during a public health emergency, aid local governments, and maintain other critical services threatened by this crisis.

Join National Partners in Social Media Action to #FocusOnKids

While this national resource is still evolving, this compilation of child-focused messages from national partners take aim at a full range of ongoing challenges including children’s health, education, childcare, food and housing security and child welfare.

Highlights for next week’s action include:

  • Monday, July 20 (in partnership with the Food Research and Action Center): Anti-Hunger #BoostSNAPNow “Rolling Rally” Day, 9 AM-noon your local time
  • Tuesday, July 21 (in partnership with the National Low-Income Housing Coalition and Opportunity Starts at Home): Housing tweetstorm to support NLIHC’s Virtual Lobby day, 1-2 PM ET
  • Wednesday, July 22 (in partnership with the American Academy of Pediatrics, Child Welfare League of America, Generations United, Foster Club, Juvenile Law Center, and the National Child Abuse Coalition): Child welfare tweetstorm, 1-2 PM ET

Wisconsin Association of Family & Children's Agencies
16 N Carroll St, #750
Madison, WI 53703 
608.257.5939
www.wafca.org