About the Children: Policy Updates from Pennsylvania

TGIF!  This has been a big week in the legislatures across the country, as I’m sure you’re aware.


S 884 – This one was introduced back in September, and I thought I brought it up here, but I don’t see it.  It regards standing in custody cases, especially for grandparents. I briefly skimmed the bill, and I don’t quite understand what is new.  It feels a lot like it’s pandering and trying to look good, but it doesn’t actually change anything.  This was introduced in the Senate and is now in the House.

HB 1388 – This is our old friend, the CHIP re-authorization bill. Predictably, the governor signed it into law on the 15th.  Just under the wire.

HB 1984 – It’s hard for me to not be skeptical about this, but this is a piece of legislation to introduce 6-12 education on opioid abuse.  It’s only been introduced at this time, so we’ll have to follow it to see if it goes anywhere.


HR 3759 – This resolution is designed “to provide for the establishment and maintenance of a Family Caregiving Strategy, and for other purposes.”  It’s cleverly titled “Recognize, Assist, Include, Support, and Engage Family Caregivers Act of 2017” or the “RAISE Family Caregivers Act.”  This passed the House on the 18th and goes now to the Senate.  It has now jumped to a 46% chance of being enacted, so that’s good.

S 1827 – This bill amends titles XI (General Provisions), XIX (Medicaid), and XXI (Children’s Health Insurance Program) (CHIP) of the Social Security Act to extend funding for CHIP through FY2022 and otherwise revise provisions related to CHIP and Medicaid.  This needs to pass, along with the other “keeping the government open” measures in congress these days, relatively soon.  It has a 30% chance of being enacted, which, again, seems low, but I get the feeling that that number is subject to change as it moves through the process (seems like a useless indicator in that case, then).  We should all keep an eye on this one; it’s likely to get lost in the legislative kerfuffle of the end of the year.

Uplifting News

This is a really heartwarming story that has been making the rounds online, so it’s possible you already saw it.  A middle school in Fort Worth, Texas had a “Breakfast with Dads” event, and they were worried that there would be a large number of students whose father’s didn’t come, either because they weren’t present in their life, or because they weren’t available.  So the school put out an internet call for volunteer “dads” who would be willing to partner with and mentor a student for the duration of the event.  The school asked for 50 volunteers; they got 600.  Watch the video if you have a moment.  It’s really touching, and an inspiring reminder of the ways in which communities can step up to help their most vulnerable members.

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