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Bipartisan grandparent stipend bill wends way through Capitol

Phoenix business community reacts to Eddie Basha’s death

With sadness at the loss of a friend…

Dear Friends of Children’s Action Alliance,

We are so very saddened at the loss of our friend, Eddie Basha. Eddie was a life-long champion for children, families and education. He and Nadine were instrumental in the creation and growth of Children’s Action Alliance. Eddie’s heart was as big as his smile. He leaves an incredible legacy of love and community action that have changed Arizona forever. We smile through our tears at our memories of Eddie’s humor and kindness and we know that his spirit lives on in the laughter and learning of children across Arizona. Our thoughts and hearts are with Nadine and the whole Basha family.

eddie and nadine basha with carol

More Good News from the Legislature…

CAA is pleased to let you know that many of the bills we are supporting are advancing through the legislative process this week.

SB 1090, which provides a monthly $75 stipend to eligible grandparents and great-grandparents raising their grandchildren and have incomes below 200% of the federal poverty level and are not receiving foster care payments or TANF cash assistance, unanimously passed the House Committee on Reform and Human Services and is awaiting approval of the House Rules Committee.

HB 2074 unanimously passed the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services and was approved by Senate Rules. HB 2074 makes foster home license renewals every two years instead of every year, which will help foster parents and children while protecting children’s safety and streamlining administrative procedures. Having passed the full House with no votes in opposition, this legislation now awaits a full Senate vote.

HB 2144 gives DES rule-making authority, through the adoption of Administrative Rules, to change the length of time a person with a substantiated incident of abuse or neglect stays on the CPS central registry based on the incident reported and risk of future harm. HB 2144 also gives mandatory reporters of abuse the option of online reporting and would eliminate the need for follow-up written reports. As amended, it requires DES to create a plan for an alternative, community-based approach to low-risk reports of abuse and neglect rather than a full-blown investigation. CAA fully supports planning and funding this kind of approach to help strengthen families and reduce the need for foster care. Click here to see why prevention efforts can make a huge difference for families.

The bill passed the House with only one Representative voting against. HB 2144 unanimously passed the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services and was approved by Senate Rules. It now awaits a full vote in the Senate.

SB 1208 would waive tuition payments for former foster teens enrolled in community college or a state university (after available federal and state tuition assistance grants are applied). Youth who were in foster care at age 16 can qualify. SB 1208 passed the House Committee on Higher Education and Workforce Development on Wednesday and awaits approval by the Rules Committee before moving on to a vote by the full House. (It has already passed the Senate.)

SB 1375 would improve behavioral health services by requiring the Department of Economic Security, the Department of Health Services, and the AHCCCS to determine the most efficient way to provide medical, dental and behavioral health services for children in foster care, taking into consideration an integrated system of care. Having passed the Senate with no votes in opposition, SB 1375 unamiously passed the House Committee on Reform and Human Services today and awaits approval from the Rules Committee.

One Cloud on our Sunny Week…

CAA opposes HB 2147, which puts unnecessary burden people filing for unemployment insurance. Unemployment insurance benefits are reserved for workers who lose their jobs through no fault of their own. HB 2147 turns UI eligibility on its head by shifting the burden of proof to the workers by requiring them to produce documents proving their eligibility for unemployment. See the fact sheet for this bill here. This bill has passed the House it passed the Senate on Thursday, March 21st. It needs to be reconciled with the House of Representatives before going to the Governor for her signature.

Political Insider: With Medicaid change, some now cheer, not jeer, Arizona

CPS Improvement Bill Moves Forward

HB 2144, which already passed the House with only one vote against it, passed its first Senate Committee on Wednesday hearing by a vote of 6-0. This legislation gives DES rule-making authority, through the adoption of Administrative Rules, to change the length of time a person with a substantiated incident of abuse or neglect stays on the CPS central registry based on the incident reported and risk of future harm. HB 2144 also gives mandatory reporters of abuse the ability of online reporting and would eliminate the need for follow-up written reports. As amended, it requires DES to create a plan for an alternative, community-based approach to low-risk reports of abuse and neglect rather than a full-blown investigation. CAA fully supports planning and funding this kind of approach to help strengthen families and reduce the need for foster care. The bill now needs to be heard in Rules before it can move on to full vote in the Senate.

Click here to see why prevention efforts can make a huge difference for families.

Senate Committee Passes Bill that Creates Roadblocks for Workers to Receive Unemployment Insurance

On Wednesday the Senate Commerce, Energy and Military Committee approved an amended version of HB 2147. Unemployment insurance benefits are reserved for workers who lose their jobs through no fault of their own. HB 2147 turns UI eligibility on its head by shifting the burden of proof to the workers by requiring them to produce documents proving their eligibility for unemployment. For more information about HB 2147, see our fact sheet here

HB 2147 – Like Using a Firehose to Put Out a Match

Unemployment insurance benefits are reserved for workers who lose their jobs through no fault of their own. HB 2147 turns UI eligibility on its head by shifting the burden of proof to the workers by requiring them to produce documents proving their eligibility for unemployment. 

Read more about this subtly harmful bill here.

Phoenix Champions for Children

Jacober pictureTuesday, April 9, 2013 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Home of Susan and Richard Goldsmith, 3124 N 53rd Place, Phoenix
Tickets are $40 and can be purchased on-line.

Please join Children’s Action Alliance, community leaders, legislators and fellow advocates to honor Kris and Joe Jacober as the 2013 Phoenix Champions for Children Award for their tireless advocacy and personal dedication to improving the lives of children in foster care.  The Jacobers are the first husband and wife team to receive this award and we think they definitely deserve the honor!

We invite you to join us to honor Kris and Joe for their outstanding work to help abused and neglected children.$40 per person includes refreshments and festivities and supports the work of Children’s Action Alliance. Purchase your tickets on-line or contact Sheryl Worthy at (602) 266-0707 x219 sworthy@azchildren.org

New CPS workers will help, but not fix, overwhelming need