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States are to help low-income working families pay for child care and related services, to improve the availability and quality of child care, to improve child care registration and licensing procedures, and to train child care providers. This is a new account for FSA brought about by OBRA 90 and it complements the other FSA administered Child Care programs funded under the Family Support Payments to States account.
We are requesting $1 billion for the Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training program (JOBS). The Family Support Act of 1988 created the JOBS program to help people move from welfare dependency to self-sufficiency. JOBS provides needy families with a vast array of education, training, employment, and supportive services to avoid long-term dependence on welfare. JOBS represents a refreshing change in the way we view welfare by providing temporary cash assistance while we help people become self-sufficient. Fiscal years 1991 and 1992 are critical years for implementation of the JOBS program. All States have initiated JOBS programs as of October 1, 1990. By October 1, 1992 Statewide coverage of those programs is required in most cases.
We are requesting just over $1 billion for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) in order to continue our commitment to helping States assist low-income families with high heating or cooling bills. We request that you continue, at a level of $100 million, the contingency fund Congress established last year. This energy contingency fund would be available if heating oil prices dramatically increase.
We are requesting $410.6 million for the Refugee and Entrant Assistance program which helps refugees and Cuban and Haitian entrants become employed as quickly as possible and, during their initial period in the United States, helps to offset costs that would otherwise be borne by State and local governments.
We are requesting $10.8 million for the National Youth Sports Program under the Community Services authorization. This program motivates economically disadvantaged youth to earn and learn self respect through a program of sports instruction and related services.
We are requesting that funds for the Interim Assistance to States for Legalization grant program which Congress deferred until fiscal year 1992 be rescinded. By the end of fiscal year 1991 $2.4 billion will have been made available to States for this program. To date, States have drawn down only half that amount. The remaining $1.2 billion available to States from current and prior years' appropriations is sufficient to fulfill the purpose for this program.
Finally, we are requesting $87.5 million for the Program Administration appropriation. This includes $6.5 million for research and evaluation and $81 million for salaries and administrative expenses of Federal staff who oversee the many programs we are responsible for. The 1992 request for this appropriation includes an increase of $3,877,000 and 17 FTE's above the 1991 level. I sincerely believe that this modest increase is necessary if we are to wisely manage the additional program responsibilities that FSA has been given in the last few years.
Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee, in proposing this budget we have attempted to target those programs that will contribute most directly to promoting the goal of self-sufficiency for American families. The Family Support Administration is working hard to ensure that we responsibly use this funding to support and assist America's most vulnerable families. We want the JOBS and child care programs to fulfill your expectations for reducing welfare dependency, and we believe that they can. And, we are working to be good stewards of grant money that you have made available. Your approval of the President's requested funding levels for our programs and our administrative expenses will provide resources to accomplish these goals.
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH OF JO ANNE B. BARNHART
Jo Anne B. Barnhart was sworn in April 9, 1990, as assistant secretary for family support, Department of Health and Human Services, after having been nominated by President Bush and confirmed by the United States Senate.
As assistant secretary for family support, Barnhart directs programs which strengthen the family, particularly low-income families. Major programs administered include Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), this country's largest cash assistance program serving needy families with children, and the Job Opportunities and Basic Skills Training (JOBS) program which provides AFDC families with the opportunity to participate in education, job training and work experience programs. The Child Support Enforcement program, the Refugee and Entrant
Assistance, the Community Services Block Grant and the Low Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP) programs are administered by Barnhart as well.
Barnhart came to FSA after serving as the Republican staff director for the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee. In 1986 she worked as a consultant at the White House on the President's welfare reform study.
From 1983-1986, Barnhart served as the associate commissioner for family assistance in the Social Security Administration, HHS. During this period she administered the AFDC and LIHEAP programs. She previously served from 1981-1983 as the deputy associate commissioner for family assistance. She received the HHS Secretary's Award for Distinguished Service and the Commissioner's Citation.
From 1977 to 1981, Barnhart served as a legislative assistant responsible for domestic policy issues for Senator William V. Roth.
Before coming to Washington, D.C., she worked as director, SERVE nutrition program at Wilmington, Del., senior center, and as legislative liaison for the Mental Health Association of Delaware.
Born in Memphis, Tenn., Barnhart is a graduate of the University of Delaware. She resides in Arlington, Va., with her husband David and their son, Niles.
REGULATIONS ON CHILD CARE PROGRAMS
Senator HARKIN. Thank you very much, Ms. Barnhart, for your statement. I have a few questions I would like to cover here with you, and then we will have some more for the record.
You know that we consider the job you have of implementing the new child care programs to be very important. It is something that Congress debated at length, and everybody is very interested in this. We got it going this year. As you know, we appropriated funds for it. We have the window of time beginning on September 19 for the obligations.
Where are you now in developing the regulations on this? Will they be finalized in plenty of time to get the program underway on September 19? Can you get the funds out by that time?
Ms. BARNHART. Mr. Chairman, we consider it an important new responsibility, too, and we are absolutely committed to getting this program up and running in the timeframe that Congress has laid out for us. We are working very hard right now on regulations, and we hope to have regulations published by midspring to provide guidance to the States.
In the meantime, we are working on an interim guidance that would provide some information to States that we hope to get out prior to that date. We are sensitive to the fact that State plans have to be submitted prior to the September 9 deadline. Believe me, we have looked ahead at that timeframe and worked backward in terms of the dates toward which we are working to get regulation guidance out to the States.
I would mention, Mr. Chairman, that at the same time we were given responsibility for the new child care and development block grant, we also were given responsibility for the At-Risk Child Care Program, and we were able to issue guidance on that program in late December. We are hoping to follow in the not-too-distant future with guidance on that block grant as well.
Senator HARKIN. So we can be assured that these regulations will be coming out, that the States will have plenty of time to apply and have the approvals completed before September 19?
Ms. BARNHART. That is absolutely our intent, Mr. Chairman, yes. We are particularly sensitive to it because the State plan is in effect for the first 3 years, and so we are working very hard.
Senator HARKIN. May I ask you kind of a policy question about these regulations? Can you tell us how much emphasis you will be putting on child development and quality of care in the bill?
Ms. BARNHART. Right now, Mr. Chairman, we are in the process of identifying the areas in the statute that we believe are in need of specific regulation. It is impossible for me to give you a definite idea of all the things that we are considering because there are many options on the table.
One of the things that we have done, frankly, as you mentioned, is to begin to meet with many of the child care advocacy groups and other special interest groups who were involved in the passage of this legislation to insure that we are getting the full range of opinions on the legislation in terms of both parental choice and the development aspects of the legislation.
I can assure you that we are proceeding with an open mind and trying to identify the areas that we believe are in need of clarification.
PREVENTION FIRST IN CHILD CARE
Senator HARKIN. Speaking for myself, we will be looking at those very closely.
Last week I, along with several other Senators, introduced a package of bills that we call prevention first. We are really going to start focusing on prevention, and I intend to use this subcommittee and the jurisdiction of this subcommittee plus my position on the authorizing committee to do everything I can to start shifting that focus, not just rhetorically but also with money, on prevention.
I made the statement many times to other witnesses who have been here that we are very good at patching and filling and remedying. We are remedial this and remedial that, but if we start early on in life with these children we do not have to worry so much about all the remedies.
In one part of the child care bill that we passed here, everyone focused on child care and creating a healthy environment for a child whose parent or parents are working outside of the home so that child is safe and protected, that type of thing, in a quality care placement, wherever it might be and, of course, with parental choice as to where they want to put their child. I do not think enough focus has been put on the developmental aspects of that child once it is in a child care situation.
We are looking for ways to focus on education, how to begin with early childhood; of course, health care, making sure that all of these kids have preventive health care available to them at the earliest possible time, inoculations, immunizations, that type of thing; and periodic health checkups, to make this an integral part of the whole child care bill. We should not just look at quality of care, that is, having it in a safe place with parental choice. I want another part to this; that is, the development of the child healthwise and education wise.
FOCUS ON CHILD DEVELOPMENT
So that is why I asked that question about your policy on the regulations. Will they have a focus on child development?
Ms. BARNHART. I know that you are probably more familiar with the statute than I, Mr. Chairman, but I would just like to point out the things that I think would be responsive to your particular concerns. Certainly we are going to be guided by the statute; that is, there is a requirement that 25 percent of the funds that are available under the block grant be reserved specifically for improving quality and, I believe, after-school programs, before- and afterschool programs for children.
In addition to that, there are requirements that States have to have minimum health and safety standards.
That does not get at the education aspect that you just mentioned. I recognize that, Mr. Chairman. I was just trying to recall
Senator HARKIN. And the minimum standard is not what we are talking about, either. That is obviously in the legislation. I am talking about something beyond the minimum standards, outreach programs or actually health promotion programs that might involve not only the child itself but the child's parents, too.
Ms. BARNHART. As you know, under the block grants States would have a tremendous amount of flexibility, too, in terms of pursuing different kinds of activities like that and making funding determinations about how they would like to use that 25 percent in terms of improving quality. I think clearly the things that you have talked about would fall under the general idea of improving the quality of child care.
I would say to you, too, Mr. Chairman, not just as the individual who is charged with responsibility for the child care programs and the other programs that I administer for helping families, that I am also the mother of a 2-year-old and appreciate very dramatically the parental concerns that people have about placing their children in someone else's care when they are at work.
Senator HARKIN. I repeat for emphasis' sake that you will be hearing from me and in turn from the subcommittee.
I think quality of care has to do with environment, safety, the individuals taking care of the child, how many are in a place—you cannot pack 50 kids in a room-all those kinds of things that lend themselves to quality of care. I am talking about another aspect of that, and that is the development of the child and the preventive health and educational aspects that impact a child in a child care situation.
You are right, the States do have discretion; but again, these are Federal moneys that are funding this, and I think we have an obligation to set the agenda or to at least tell the States and others what we intend to do with this money. I am saying that one of the aspects that we want to push is health care, preventive health care, and education.
Ms. BARNHART. I do know that health promotion for young children is a priority of Secretary Sullivan, so one of the things we could look at doing is coordinating with the Public Health Service in carrying out that legislation.
In addition, I would mention that just generally in addressing developmental concerns that you have, we are working closely with Head Start. I know Assistant Secretary Mary Gall is going to be appearing before you at the completion of my testimony. We are working through the JOBS Program to try to provide wraparound child care tied in with the Head Start Program for mothers who are participating in the JOBS Program.
So one of the things that we are trying to do, Mr. Chairman, is to link where we can to take advantage of the existing programs that are there to promote good care for children as well.
STATE LEGALIZATION IMPACT ASSISTANCE GRANTS
Senator HARKIN. Let me move to another topic, one of our favorites, SLIAG, as it is known. You are proposing total elimination of the $1.1 billion that is left. Part of the rationale, I understand, is that States have not drawn down over $1 billion of funds that we granted before. In addition, the $271 million appropriated in fiscal year 1991 will soon be granted to the States, raising the total availability to about $1.3 billion.
Will this unspent money be enough to pay all of the legitimate billings expected to be submitted by the States in fiscal year 1992? Ms. BARNHART. Mr. Chairman, we believe that it will be sufficient to cover most of the expenses. The latest estimates that we have indicate that States will probably submit allowable billings for somewhere around $770 million. I can provide precise figures for the record.
Looking at the $1.2 or $1.3 billion that will be available to them, that would leave about $600 million available for fiscal year 1992. We think that should be sufficient to cover most of the costs.
I would point out a couple of things that I think are important, Mr. Chairman, in considering our rescission request for SLIAG. As you probably know better than I, when the program was first started, I was not here, but we in the executive branch, along with the Congress and the States, were in the position of trying to do the best guessing we could do, in terms of what was going to be needed, to reimburse States for the costs that were incurred as a result of increased demands from the SLIAG population.
In fact, over time what we have seen is that we really overestimated, and the States overestimated as well, first of all, the usage rate of the eligible legalized aliens in terms of public assistance programs at the State and local level, as well as programs that are federally matched. We are just not seeing the demand that we thought we were going to see. State drawdowns have been slower than anticipated.
I think at this point in time it is particularly important to realize that most of the SLIAG eligibles have been in the country for over 10 years, and it is a working population. That is clearly something we have seen. They found jobs. Many of them were working when the legislation came into effect, as you know. That was, in large measure, part of the purpose of the legislation, to recognize that fact and allow that to continue. They had developed language skills to some extent and were able to work toward permanent residency and move into employment. So it is a working, contributing population, not a long-term dependent population.