DC Council Appoints First Ombudsperson for Children–Shalonda Cawthon
In a huge win for DC’s children and families, DC now has an official Ombudsperson for Children!
In a huge win for DC’s children and families, DC now has an official Ombudsperson for Children!
Ms. Spindel discussed the critical need for the Office and how Ms. Cawthon has the expertise and skills to fulfill its important mission.
These recommendations provide a fix to the Title IV-B funding stream to require the Title IV-E agency to contract with a community partner trusted by the kinship caregiver community to provide kinship navigation services and to ensure responsiveness and accountability to the caregivers they are supposed to serve.
Ms. Cawthon currently serves as a Regional Program Manager for the Children’s Bureau, where she provides leadership and strategic direction to the Bureau out of the Atlanta Regional Office. She has a long track record of collaborative, values-driven child welfare leadership with the federal government and in Georgia and Tennessee.
A Domestic Workers Bill of Rights in Washington DC would include domestic workers in protections against employment discrimination and in DC’s local occupational health and safety law.
Our advocacy has worked for a third time. First, we were able to expand the grandparent subsidy to include other relatives. Then, we were able to eliminate the 6-month eligibility period. And now, we have expanded the subsidy to include godparents, some relatives who live out-of-state, and relatives who also live with a disabled parent.
DC KinCare Alliance attorneys and a representative from the Community Board met with Senator Wyden’s staff to discuss concerns about the use of federal funds for kinship navigator services in DC. See Community Board Position Statement regarding this issue.
The law that would reform the discriminatory and punitive practice under the “Clean Hands Law” of preventing District residents from getting or renewing their driver’s licenses.
Fin out if you are eligible and how to obtain the tax credit.
DC KinCare Alliance signs onto this Petition with more than 200 other signatories asking the DC Council to fund the Ombudsperson for Children.
The Letter asks the DC Council to stop Mayor Bowser from terminating DC residents from the rapid re-housing program for hitting an arbitrary time limit. This year, as many as 913 families are facing time limit terminations.
Among other things, Kincare highlights high barriers to access benefits for kinship caregivers, and the agency’s failure to reduce those barriers.
Mayor Bowser defunded the FY 2022 funding allocated to the Office of the Ombudsperson for Children, and did not include any funding for the Office in FY 2023. Accordingly, we implore the DC Council to identify and reallocate funds to ensure this critical protection for DC children is retained.
Marla Spindel testified about the unnecessary and discriminatory barriers for non-parent caregivers to access the DC Child Care Subsidy for the children in their care.
Deputy Director Stephanie McClellan testified about the unnecessary and burdensome documentation requirements for relative caregivers to obtain TANF benefits, which create discriminatory barriers to access.
Deputy Director Stephanie McClellan testified on how the DC Housing Authority discriminates against relative caregivers who seek to add the children in their care to their public housing vouchers.
Marla Spindel testifies before the DC Council Human Services Committee on the the performance of the DC Child and Family Services Agency regarding: (1) processing time for the caregiver subsidies; (2) the independent Ombudsperson for Children; (3) kinship diversion; and (4) child fatalities and near fatalities.
Along with other advocates, DC KinCare Alliance requests that DC explicitly include in loco parentis as one of the legal relationships eligible for the DC Child Care Subsidy. Doing so is consistent with the overarching purposes of the program, as well as with existing federal and DC child care and school enrollment regulations.
Along with other DC advocates, DC KinCare Alliance urges the DC Housing Authority to remove barriers for non-parent caregivers to add children to their public housing lease or vouchers. These barriers are not only burdensome and unnecessary, but also violate federal and DC law.
The DC KinCare Alliance Relative Caregiver Community Board submitted this Statement today requesting that the DC Council hold a vote of all Councilmembers on the appointment of the new CFSA Director, rather than letting his nomination be passively approved without a vote.
DC KinCare Alliance signed on to a letter to the Commissioner of the United States Children’s Bureau about the practice of hidden foster care, calling on the Biden Administration to frame the issue as a matter of racial and class justice.
As of November 19, 2021, employers will be required to provide paid leave to employees who need time off to receive vaccinations; to recover from related side effects; or to care for their children who are being vaccinated.
DC KinCare Alliance, along with 7 other child and family advocates, sent a letter to DC Council Chairman Mendelson, requesting that the Council expeditiously identify and appoint the first DC Ombudsperson for Children.
See the attached chart that provides the dates for the stepped approach to end of the moratorium.
The DC Council passed legislation that significantly expands the DC Paid Family and Medical Leave programs. These changes go into effect on October 1, 2021 – and could benefit you and your family!
Find out how you can get up to $3,600 for every child 5 and under, plus up to $3,000 for every child aged 6-17!
The letter asks President Biden and Members of Congress to secure our children’s futures by making the Child Tax Credit expansions permanent and fully inclusive.
It includes funding for the Office of Ombudsperson for Children and the Grandparent and Close Relative Caregiver Programs, as well as a tax on the wealthy to help pay for housing vouchers, subsidies for day-care worker and tax credits for low-income families.
This provides some guidance on how to reduce summer utility costs as well as the protections still in effect related to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
Mr. Massey testified about how the DC Department of Human Services has failed to approve him for permanent supportive housing even though he qualifies and even though his current housing is in the middle of a neighborhood gang war.
Deputy Director McClellan testified before the DC Council Committee on Human Services about why an independent Office of Ombudsperson for Children should be funded by the DC government to ensure the safety of DC’s at-risk children.
Deputy Director McClellan testified before the DC Council Committee of the Whole about why an independent Office of Ombudsperson for Children should be funded by the DC government to ensure the safety of DC’s at-risk children.
When you speak with a “Financial Navigator”, you will be talking to a live person who will provide you guidance over the phone to help you manage financial issues, identify immediate action steps and make referrals to available programs all at no cost to you!
Mayor Bowser’s FY 2022 Budget will shape whether DC has a fair and equitable COVID-19 recovery.
DC KinCare Alliance signed on to the letter with more than 70 other organizations, to ensure racial and economic equity as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Find out more about the online portal and local and federal rental assistance programs.
Here is a list of programs that offer free tax prep help to DC households that make less than $57,000.
Stephanie testifies about the failures of the DC Child Fatality Review Committee to timely review child fatalities and report meaningful information to reduce fatalities in the future. She also recommends that the law require the Committee to review cases of near child fatalities.
Mr. Massey, a relative caregiver of his younger siblings, testifies about gun violence in his neighborhood.
Ms. Holmes testifies about the Department of Employment Services failure to process and pay her Pandemic Unemployment Insurance Benefits.
Stephanie testifies on the significant barriers to access TANF benefits for kinship families.
Stephanie testifies about the DC Child and Family Services Agency’s illegal and discriminatory diversion practices and the increase in DC child maltreatment fatalities.
The DC Council voted to override the veto of this important piece of child welfare legislation. Now we need to fund it!
DC Council voted unanimously in favor of this critical piece of legislation. Why would the Mayor veto something so important for DC children and families? We are hopeful the DC Council will override the Mayor’s veto at the next legislative meeting.
The DC Courts have launched a free app with quick links to court calendars, searchable case databases, Court of Appeals opinions, on line forms, Courts’ rules, and information for jurors, those without an attorney and those seeking admission to the DC bar. It also includes FAQs and location information for the courts.
Key Takeaways: Increased income eligibility; Increased rental assistance cap average rental amount of $10,205; You may now apply more than once until you reach the assistance cap, within a twelve (12) month period during a public health emergency; Residents are now able to self-certify if they are unable to provide supporting documents.
For the past two years, DC KinCare Alliance and other child welfare advocates worked with Councilmember Nadeau to make this law a reality! Through this legislation, we have forever changed child welfare in DC! This Office will ensure the safety and security of DC’s most vulnerable children.
In response to our Petition, the DC Council unanimously voted in favor of the FOIA Tolling Emergency Amendment Act of 2020 (Bill 23-1017), which will repeal the COVID-related suspension on response times for DC government FOIA requests starting January 16, 2021.
We understand the Chair of the DC Council has introduced legislation to repeal the FOIA suspension at the December 1st DC Council Legislative Meeting.
Deputy Director McClellan testifies about how the never-ending waiting list for the Grandparent Caregiver Program Subsidy during the pandemic hurts DC grandparents and the children they raise, all while the Mayor intends to repurpose $2 million from the agency that administers the Program to the Metropolitan Police Department.
In her blog, she highlights a number of deficiencies with CFSA’s recently release 2019 internal child fatality report, including that CFSA has chosen to publish data on only 13 of 33 cases reviewed in 2019, greatly reducing the utility of the report.
The DC Council failed to include increases in funding for the Grandparent Caregiver Program (GCP) or Close Relative Caregiver Program (CRCP), even though the GCP is already at capacity with a waiting list, and the CRCP is expected to hit capacity very soon. Read more for our message to the DC Council.
The Amendment allows parents or other legal caregivers of a child to designate a Standby Guardian to care for the child if the parent or other caregiver becomes too ill to do so because of a complications from a COVID-related illness. Click below for a copy of the DC KinCare Alliance COVID-19 Standby Guardianship packet.
The App is free and available through Google Play and Apple App Store.
Ms. Spindel specifically warns the DC Council about cuts to essential programs and services, including the DC Grandparent Caregiver Program and Prevention Services.
Find out how to sign up to use your SNAP EBT card to purchase groceries through Amazon. Available in English (p. 1) and Spanish (p. 2).
Among other things, the Budget proposes cuts to the Grandparent Caregiver Program Subsidy and Prevention Services at a time when investments should be made in those areas. Go here to to see the full Budget documents: https://mayor.dc.gov/page/fy2021-budget-dchope%E2%80%93-mayor-bowser%E2%80%99s-commitment-give-every-washingtonian-fair-shot
DC KinCare Alliance advocated for DC to remove the 6-month eligibility period for relatives to be able to apply for the Grandparent Caregiver Program, as well as the new Close Relative Caregiver Program. Today, that goal was realized as the 6-month eligibility period has been ELIMINATED for both programs!
The letter outlines some of the
most urgent concerns and recommends both legislative and administrative solutions.
The letter asks for clarification of DHS’ plan to transfer families out of family shelters during the public health emergency.
See the Mayor’s updated webpage: