CHN: Senate Finance Committee Holds First Child Welfare Hearing in Ten Years
On April 25, the Senate Finance Committee held its first hearing in nearly 10 years on an issue relating to protecting children from abuse or neglect. “The Social and Economic Effects of the Methamphetamine Epidemic on America’s Child Welfare System” focused on the toll methamphetamine abuse and addiction are taking on families, children, and the country’s social services. Meth, a highly addictive drug, is quickly becoming the largest drug problem in many counties across the nation.
A panelist of parents and families in recovery from meth addiction told of their struggle to address their addiction. Many of the questions from Senators focused on the most effective approaches leading to recovery. The families agreed that comprehensive, family-centered programs are the most effective. A panel consisting of social service providers and a researcher agreed that this epidemic is adding to an already overburdened and underfunded child welfare system and that more resources and greater flexibility in their use are needed.
Committee Chairman Grassley (R-IA) acknowledged that the child welfare system is over-burdened, understaffed and under-trained and that children are left too long before securing a safe and permanent home. This year Congress must reauthorize the “Promoting Safe and Stable Families” program, which provides the largest source of federal child welfare funds dedicated to strengthening families and preventing family break-up. The Finance Committee has scheduled another hearing for Wednesday, May 10, more directly related to reauthorization, entitled “Fostering Permanence: Progress Achieved and Challenges Ahead for America’s Child Welfare System.”