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Davis, McDermott Introduce Bipartisan Child Welfare Bill

March 17, 2011

Ways and Means Human Resources Subcommittee Member and past Chairman Jim McDermott (D-WA) and current Chairman Geoff Davis (R-KY) introduced bipartisan legislation today to allow states to test alternative ways for achieving child welfare policy goals.   In the past States have used this waiver authority to test improved policies involving subsidized guardianship, flexible funding, services for parents with addictions, adoption and post-permanency services, and intensive service options.  The legislation introduced today is identical to a bill that passed the House unanimously last September, but which the Senate did not take up before the end of the 111th Congress.

Chairman Davis stated: “I am pleased to join in introducing this bipartisan legislation.  It passed the House unanimously last year, and recently the Senate Finance Committee conducted a hearing that offered broad support for the idea of extending child welfare waiver authority, as this bill would do.  I am hopeful that Congress and the President can work together to enact this legislation this year, so more States can have the flexibility to better serve children in need.  The child welfare waiver programs tried to date have proven effective.  Allowing more States to test such successful approaches will pave the way for broader – and needed – national reforms.”

Rep.McDermott commented: “At-risk children and families often fall through the cracks and don’t get the services they need from our child welfare system.  This commonsense bill would allow a limited number of state waivers so States can continue to test innovative strategies to give this vulnerable population the attention they deserve.  I am particularly excited to see Washington State doing so much innovation to help needy children in the most effective way possible.  I look forward to working with my friends across the aisle to achieve this important goal.”