About the Children: Policy Updates from Pennsylvania

I hope you’re all having a marvelous holiday with family and friends (or are going to soon!).  There’s not much legislative action to report regarding adoption and foster care at the moment, but there are just a couple things to note.

PA

State House

HB 1388 – This is a bill that proposes the re-authorization of the CHIP program, which will otherwise expire on December 31st of this year.  “The CHIP program is designed to provide insurance coverage to uninsured children and teens (up to age 19) whose families earn too much to qualify for Medical Assistance, but who cannot afford to purchase private insurance.”  So hopefully it passes, and quickly.  I don’t know how much this affects most children in foster care, given that they generally automatically qualify for medicare, but it might mean more to families who have adopted, especially those who have adopted through the foster care system, if they are struggling with the new health insurance changes being pushed at the federal level.  This bill has been ratified by the Senate and the House and should go before the governor either today or next week.

– HB 122 – This is a bill, but it is a part of a suite of legislation that is being referred to as “The Comprehensive Opioid Package.”  I recommend you look at the memorandum to see all the bills and the ways they are going to try to respond to the opioid crisis.  There are a few things in here that might affect children or providers who work with children brought into care due to parental opiate use.

State Senate

Nothing particularly notable.


USA

House

H. Res 623 – This doesn’t really mean anything practically, but it is a bit of lip service given to services for children of incarcerated parents.  It will likely pass, but it also will likely change nothing.

Senate

Nothing notable that I saw.


You all know how I feel about Caps Lock (it’s not my favorite) so please note the liberal use of it below.

NON ADOPTION SIDE NOTE:

The FCC is going to repeal the rules protecting the neutrality of the internet on December 14.  THIS IS BAD FOR EVERYONE (except for, like, Comcast) especially people with low incomes who might want to start a business that will have a website.  The people of the US stopped the FCC from doing this several years in a row, simply by flooding the inboxes of congress people and telling them to use the weight of the legislature to stop this executive-branch commission.  If you don’t know what Net Neutrality is, WATCH THIS 2 MINUTE VIDEO.  Once you’ve done that, I urge you to go to this website to call your legislators or this website to email them.  These are trustworthy websites, and when they ask you for your information, you can trust that they are not going to use it against you.  After you’ve done that, please share this information with your friends and family.  This will only work if Americans across the country and on either side of the aisle get involved.

Daily, we are faced with the struggles of kids and families in the foster care system who are robbed of their voice.  We spend day in, day out fighting for these kids, and most of the time people don’t listen to us.  That is demoralizing and can really hit your mental health hard.

If you participate in the fight for net neutrality, you will be participating in the best of the democratic process, and it could reinvigorate your fervor for other democratic fights we face regularly.  Today, we can band together to stop corporations from controlling who says what on the internet.  Tomorrow, we can use what we’ve learned here to help the children we serve.

I know I sound super dramatic, but I cannot stress how important this issue is; without a free and fair internet, we cannot function as a country.

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