The NCSL Blog


By Meghan McCann

NCSL’s Children and Families program covers many issues typically grouped under the human services umbrella, including child support and family law, child welfare, early care and education, home visiting, welfare and poverty.

Upcoming Events

Kids on swing blogWebinar on Social and Emotional Readiness by Kindergarten: Please join us for a webinar "The Costly Consequences of Not Being Socially and Behaviorally Ready by Kindergarten" which will present new research from the Baltimore Education Research Consortium on child readiness for kindergarten. The presentation will also highlight possible policy considerations for lawmakers. The webinar will be on Thursday, Sept. 15, at 2 p.m. ET / 11 a.m. PT.

Register today.

Publications from Children and Families

In Case You Missed It… NCSL’s 2016 Legislative Summit: At NCSL’s Legislative Summit last month in Chicago, the Children and Families Program planned and contributed to several sessions focusing on everything from foster care to child support, poverty to opioids. Here are some session specific highlights:

Pay for Success and Innovative Financing for Human Services Programs: Speakers included Senator Thomas Alexander (R-S.C.), Charles Sallee from the New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee along with Jeremy Keele and Phil Peterson from the Sorenson Impact Center and KidsSucceed LLC respectively. This session highlighted pay-for-success, a relatively new financing mechanism that is being discussed as a way to get the most bang for taxpayers’ bucks when it comes to funding social programs. The diverse panel of speakers at the session explored pay-for-success funding opportunities and challenges and ways lawmakers can play a more critical role in program development. Read a blog post about the session.

Also see a Q & A video with Phil Peterson.

Research to Policy: Improving Outcomes for Children and Youth in Foster Care: At NCSL’s Legislative Summit 2016 in Chicago, Dana Weiner, Chapin Hall Center for Children at the University of Illinois researcher, along with Jeremy Harvey, former foster youth and current Illinois Department of Children and Family Services representative, explored recent research findings on the experiences of older foster youth, childhood trauma and evidence-based programs to better inform state policy and ensure foster kids achieve their potential. The Research to Policy presentation focused on Illinois’ work to examine its congregate care/group home population of youth and how states can use data on children and youth to make better placement decisions for these young people.

Rx for America’s Opioid Addiction: The Rx for America’s Opioid Addiction session at the NCSL Legislative Summit was full of experts and information from a wide-range or sources. See an overview of the session, plus all of the handouts and resources. Also, view the presentation, including the videos and expert PowerPoint presentations.

2016 Class of Early Learning Fellows: The fifth cohort of Early Learning Fellows convened in Chicago for their second of two face-to-face meetings of the program. Twenty-four legislators and five legislative staff representing 18 states and the District of Columbia shared a day-and-a-half peer learning experience at the McCorkmick Place Convention Center hearing from experts and researchers in the field of early care and learning as well as potential policy options. The program provided ample opportunity for networking with one another and with NCSL staff. Please visit our website and view the full agenda and PowerPoint Presentations.

The Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Act of 2014: Reauthorizing the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) Program: NCSL provides an overview of the new law, key statutory requirements, a timeline of effective dates, and statutory provisions for state waivers.

Implementing the Child Care and Development Block Grant Act of 2014: The reauthorization amended the goals of the program and created six new goals that strengthened requirements related to health and safety, licensing enforcement and quality of care. It also changed the plan cycle for the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) from a biennial to a triennial plan period. As a result, the fiscal year (FY) 2016–2018 plan will cover a three-year period. State plan submissions were due in March 2016 with effective dates of June 1, 2016. The plan serves as an application for CCDF funds by providing a description of, and assurance about, the grantee’s child care program and all services available to eligible families. You can find additional details on our webpage. Final regulations will be released in the fall of 2016.

What’s New Nationally?

State-by-State Child Support Data: Check out the Office of Child Support Enforcement’s latest infographic, Child Support 2015: More Money for Families, which provides the highlights from OCSE’s Annual Report to Congress, including the $32 billion in child support that was collected by state and tribal child support programs during FY2015. For more state-by-state data from the report, see NCSL’s 2015 State by State Data on Child Support Collections page.

Updated Early Childhood State Policy Profiles: The National Center for Children in Poverty has just updated its Early Childhood State Policy Profiles, which provide a two-generation view of current policies affecting children birth to age 8. The state profiles include national and state-by-state perspectives in the areas of early care and education, health, and parenting/family economic supports.

Ratification of Hague Convention on Child Support: Earlier this week, President Obama signed the Instrument of Ratification for The Hague Convention on the International Recovery of Child Support and Other Forms of Family Maintenance. This follows the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act of 2014, which required all states to adopt the 2008 Amendments to the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA), thus allowing ratification. For more on UIFSA, see NCSL’s Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act of 2014: Improving Child Support Recovery page.

New Rule for Indian Child Welfare: Since the federal enactment of the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 (ICWA), guidance to state legislatures, child welfare agencies, and courts has been limited, if non-existent. With no federal agency in charge of ensuring compliance, ICWA has been interpreted and enforced inconsistently across the country. Because of this inconsistency and, in many instances, confusion, on June 14, 2016, the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) published a new final rule to govern the implementation of ICWA by state courts and child welfare agencies. The new rule includes changes to current regulations that govern notice to state agencies under ICWA and clarifies and strengthens implementation of the Act’s requirements in Indian child custody proceedings to ensure that Indian families and tribal communities do not face unwarranted child removal. NCSL’s ICWA resources include state ICWA statutes and other resources related to child welfare in Indian country.

For more about the issues covered by NCSL’s Children and Families Program, and for staff contact information, check out the Children and Families Program Profile.

Meghan McCann is a policy specialist with NCSL’s Children and Families Program. She covers child support, child welfare and family law issues.

Email Meghan

Actions: E-mail | Permalink |

Subscribe to the NCSL Blog

Click on the RSS feed at left to add the NCSL Blog to your favorite RSS reader. 

About the NCSL Blog

This blog offers updates on the National Conference of State Legislatures' research and training, the latest on federalism and the state legislative institution, and posts about state legislators and legislative staff. The blog is edited by NCSL staff and written primarily by NCSL's experts on public policy and the state legislative institution.