Court Improvement Programs Reauthorization

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Issue: Court Improvement Programs Reauthorization

Impact:

These formula grants assist state courts to improve the court’s oversight responsibility for child welfare cases.

Position:

State court leaders support full funding for the three CIP grant programs.  (CCJ/COSCA Resolution 11-A-8)

Summary:

As part of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (P.L.-109-171), Congress authorized two new child welfare-related CIP grants – a grant to assist state courts with training and education and a grant to assist state courts with data   collection and automation.  The authorization was for $10 million per year for each new grant program.  The highest judicial officer in each state, District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico can apply for the grants.  The funds are distributed based on the same formula as the original “basic” CIP grant. 

Status:

These formula grants assist state courts to improve the court’s oversight of child welfare cases. State court leaders support full funding for the three CIP grant programs. (CCJ/COSCA Resolution 11-A-8)

As part of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005 (P.L.-109-171), Congress authorized two new child welfare-related CIP grants – a grant to assist state courts with training and education and a grant to assist state courts with data collection and automation. The authorization was for $10 million per year for each new grant program. The highest judicial officer in each state, District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico can apply for the grants. The funds are distributed based on the same formula as the original “basic” CIP grant. 

As part of the Continuing Resolution, Congress extended funding for the two new CIP grants through FY 2011. Extending the funding through FY 2011 allowed for all three of the CIP grants to be reauthorized as a package in the 112th Congress. 

On 6/16/11, the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Resources held a hearing to address the reauthorization of funding for the Promoting Safe and Stable Families Program (PSSF). Federal law requires that some of PSSF’s funding be set-aside for state courts for the CIP grants. Written testimony was submitted on behalf of the Conference of Chief Justices and the Conference of State Court Administrators. Briefings on the CIP grants were also provided to Senate staff. 

A House bill (HR 2790) was introduced on 8/2/11 to reauthorize the three CIP grant programs at $20 million. State court leaders advocated for restoration of the additional $10 million. A bi-partisan, bi-cameral agreement was reached to reauthorize the three CIP grants at $30 million through FY 2016. The Child and Family Services Improvement and Innovation Act (H.R. 2883/S. 1542) was introduced on 9/12/11. HR 2883 was approved by the House on 9/21/11 by vote of 395-25 and by the Senate on 9/22/11 by a voice vote. On 9/30/11, President Obama signed the legislation making it Public Law 112-34. 

The legislation reauthorized the three CIP grant programs through FY 2016 at the $30 million level. A $1 million set aside was created within the funds for a competitive tribal court grant program. As such, $29 million will be available for distribution to state courts annually. (State courts will continue to receive 3.3% of any discretionary dollars that Congress also appropriates for the PSSF program.) 

The FY 2015 omnibus appropriations bill (P.L. 113-235) kept the PSSF at the FY 2014 funding level. 

The FY 2016 omnibus bill (P.L. 114-113) included level funding for the CIP grants.

The authorization for the PSSF grant program, including the CIP grants, expires 9/30/16. NCSC staff have been working with House Ways and Means Committee and Senate Finance Committee staff regarding the reauthorization. On 6/13/16, House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Resources Chairman Vern Buchanan (R-FL) introduced the Family First Prevention Services Act of 2016 (H.R. 5456), which includes the needed reauthorization. The House Ways and Means Committee approved H.R. 5456 by voice vote on 6/15/16. On 6/21/16, the House passed H.R. 5456 by unanimous consent. The Senate companion bill, S. 3065 was introduced by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orin Hatch (R-UT) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR). Letters of support were sent to members of both the House Ways and Means Committee and Senate Finance Committee by CCJ and COSCA. Efforts are underway to obtain letters of support from individual states.