Bill Would Boost Staff Training

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The often-beleaguered child welfare work force would get a boost under legislation introduced in late April by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.).

Clinton’s Child Welfare Workforce Improvement Act (S. 2944) joins legislation already introduced in the House by Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.), among others, to make various changes in the Title IV-E Foster Care and Adoption Assistance program, whose spending totals just under $7 billion annually.

The Senate measure would take aim at the antiquated way child welfare worker training dollars are allocated, by delinking them from the eligibility rules of the long-expired Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC). Those rules are also known as “look-back” provisions. One of those provisions says states can tap Title IV-E training dollars only for workers who serve children eligible under IV-E; likewise, private nonprofits that work with foster youth are barred from training funded by Title IV-E.

“Child welfare is just like the child care system, in that a lot of the work is done through nonprofit organizations,” said John Sciamanna, co-director of government affairs for the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA). Under the proposed rule, Title IV-E money could be used to train nonprofit staff.