It's All About the Children
Read the latest report by the Children, Youth, and Families (CYF) Advisory Committee, with recommendations for strengthening services in Massachusetts.
For more information about The Home's advocacy efforts, please contact:
Director of Advocacy and Public Policy
tel: (617) 927-0620
The main role of The Home's Advocacy Department is to educate and engage political leaders and policymakers on key child welfare issues.
We strive to:
- Educate and engage child welfare professionals, political leaders and other stakeholders around key issues that have an impact on the welfare of children.
- Influence state policy to have greater emphasis on the positive development of children, their families and communities.
- Establish The Home as a statewide leader to increase coordination of policy efforts on behalf of the children we serve.
Governor Patrick approved the 2013 fiscal budget of $32.5 million on July 8th, which included several amendments and vetoes.
Some of the highlights of the budget from The Home’s perspective include:
- A substantial increase in funding of the foster care and adoption tuition and fee waivers
- A rate increase for Chapter 766 Schools, of which The Home has three
As expected, The Home does have some concerns with the 2013 budget.
The concerns of the budget include;
- The veto of $10 million to the salary reserve for Human Service Providers
- A funding cut to DCF lead area agencies of which The Home is one.
The Home for Little Wanderers is working collaboratively to find resolutions to these concerns. Below is a link to our budget tracking sheet:
The 2011-2012 legislative session began on January 5, 2011. On January 21st, over 5300 bills were filed, with approximately 1800 of those in the Senate and 3500 in the House. This year’s total filing is actually a 10% drop from the last session that began in January 2009, in which there were over 6000 bills filed. That could represent either good news – if people sense needs are being met and do not see a need for legislative relief – or bad news – if they are too discouraged by the economy to continue filing bills. We suspect it’s the latter.
The Home will track the progress of all bills that could further our mission, such as An Act Relative to Sibling Visitation (H.451) and An Act Relative to the Educational Stability of Foster Children (S.37) filed on behalf of The Home and the Task Force for Youth Aging Out of DCF Care by Rep. Kay Khan (D-Newton) and Sen. Sal DiDomenico respectively. Public hearings on all bills will begin in late winter.
To learn more about these bills and others The Home is tracking, click on the links below:
- An Act Relative to Visitation Rights for Siblings who have been separated by the foster care system, whether they are still in care, or have already aged out.
- An Act Relative to the Educational Stability of Youth in Foster Care to better ensure their education records to follow the student.
- An Act Relative to the Sentencing of Minors that will end the practice of sentencing juveniles to life in prison without parole. The United States is the only country that permits this sentencing and Massachusetts is one of a few states that still impose it.
The Massachusetts Task Force on Youth Aging Out of Department of Child and Family Services (DCF) Care engages public, private and nonprofit representatives to ensure that youth aging out of foster care have lifelong connections with one or more adults, are fully prepared for education, work, and life, and are contributing members of their communities. The Task Force has had the active and sustained involvement of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services, DCF, and representatives of the Massachusetts Departments of Mental Health, Housing and Community Development, Elementary and Secondary Education, Youth Services, and Transitional Assistance, along with more than 40 other providers.
In 2008, the Task Force released a report, Preparing Our Kids for Education, Work, and Life (PDF), that described the obstacles of youth aging out of DCF care at age 18 in transitioning into adulthood. The report summarizes the first ever study of transitioning youth in Massachusetts and provides a set of recommendations to create policy, practice, and resource conditions for youth to achieve these outcomes.
Since then, the Task Force has played a leading role in advocating for policy changes that would provide aging out youth with substantial support in their transitions, including but not limited to:
- MassHealth coverage until age 21
- Tuition and fee waivers at state colleges and universities
- Juvenile court protection and advocacy until age 22
- Continued state services until age 21
- New emphasis on transitional and permanency planning
Amanda B. Rodriguez is the Executive Director of the Task Force. Members of the agenda-setting Executive Committee are:
- The Home for Little Wanderers, Co-Chair
- Cambridge Family & Children's Service, Co-Chair
- Youth Villages
- Dare Family Services
The Aging Out Task Force Youth Advisory Board comprises of eight young adults who have been in the foster care system, providing them with the opportunity to have their voices heard in the process of creating legislation to improve that system.
Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center Reports
The Home for Little Wanderers has teamed up with Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center (MBPC) to examine the impact of state policies on low and moderate-income children and families in the Commonwealth.