The Latest from APHSA

With everyone's health and well-being remaining top priority, APHSA continues to closely track COVID-19 developments and guidance from public health officials while working in partnership with our local and state members to support them as they address impacts in their community.

 

APHSA Events

We continue working to ensure our members and partners have meaningful ways to connect with each other throughout the year despite our uncertain times. Taking all factors into consideration, including stay-at-home orders and mass gathering restrictions across the nation, we have decided to move both the National Staff Development and Training Association (NSDTA) conference and the American Association of Health and Human Services Attorneys (AAHHSA) conference to virtual events. More details will be forthcoming.

As we continue to plan for the IT Solutions for Human Services (ISM) conference, we are carefully weighing all options, including opportunities in which we would incorporate content from the fall conferences we are unable to hold in 2020. These recently cancelled conferences include: The National Association for Program Information and Performance Measurement (NAPIPM) Education Conference and the American Association of SNAP Directors (AASD) / National Association of State TANF Administrators (NASTA) Education Conference. We will provide more details on the status of this event as we continue to explore all possible avenues while also closely monitoring public health guidance. Read our full message regarding fall events here .

APHSA Resources

Resources Description
Policy Levers for State Human Service Agencies in Response to COVID-19
Last updated 5/19/20
Includes various policy flexibilities agencies can consider—organized by policy area (SNAP, TANF, Child Care, and Child Welfare) and action needed (federal approval not required, waiver or state plan approval needed, Congressional authorization needed)
Paycheck Protection and Health Care Enhancement Act (H.R.266) Summary
Last updated 4/27/20
On April 24, The Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act was signed into law to increase amounts authorized for the Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program, economic injury disaster loans, and emergency grants under the CARES Act to fund hospitals and healthcare providers for research, testing, and more. This document provides a brief overview
Second Letter to Congress
Submitted 4/10/20
Based on feedback from our members across the nation, this letter identifies the most urgent legislative tools needed to support human services agencies during the COVID-19 pandemic and its immediate aftermath including investment in the infrastructure needed to create economic opportunity, keeping children safe and mitigating the trauma families are experiencing, ensuring access to basic nutritional supports, and reinforcing the ability of our child care system to provide quality care to families impacted by the pandemic
Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (S.3548/H.R.748) Summary
Last updated 3/27/20
The CARES Act passed with a 96-0 vote on March 25, after the original bill, which was introduced on March 19, failed in a procedural vote. This is the third coronavirus package that provides economic relief and stimulus to states, service providers, small businesses, and individuals. APHSA has provided a summary of proposed policies and appropriations within the bill that would directly aide state and local human service agency response to emerging needs in their communities
Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R.6201) Summary
Last updated 3/19/20
On March 18, the Senate passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act which is the second of three COVID-19 bills expected to be passed. This document provides an overview of the bill as it relates to state and local human service agency response to emerging needs in their communities
Letter to Congress
Submitted 3/25/20
Based on feedback from our members across the nation, this letter provides priority recommendations that are vital to support human services agencies and their partners. APHSA will continue to work with Congress in order to delve into more nuanced issues to support the immediate, interim, and long-term needs of communities responding to and recovering from COVID-19
The Catalyst: APHSA’s Blog
Last updated 5/12/20
Our blog now includes a section dedicated to COVID-19 related topics including the importance of public service during this time, resilience, racial equity, and more

Additional Resources

Information Memorandum: ACF grant flexibilities in conducting human service activities related to or affected by COVID-19 This IM supports ACF grantees by offering short-term relief on administrative, financial management, and audit requirements as required by various legal statutes. By streamlining operations for grantees and removing burdensome requirements, ACF is able to lead in supporting communities in the most efficient way during this public health emergency
Implementation of Mitigation Strategies for Communities with Local COVID-19 Transmission The CDC’s guidance for local and state health departments preparing for and mitigating community transmission of COVID-19. The resource provides a framework that can be adapted based on local characteristics of disease transmission, demographics, and public health and healthcare system capacity
Coronavirus: What You Need to Know Current information from the National Governors Association on the status of COVID-19 in the US and abroad, what actions states/territories have taken to address it, and the latest efforts by the federal government
HHS/ACF Activity and Resources Regarding COVID 19 With a number of HHS divisions releasing COVID-19-related information on funding and guidance, this document combines information on key issues to keep you up-to-date
Facilitating Low-Income Families’ Use of Emergency Paid Family Leave: Considerations for Human Services Agencies in Supporting Workers and Their Employers On April 3, 2020, ASPE released this 2-page brief on lower-income families and the new emergency paid family leave program. It’s aimed at human services providers, community organizations, early childhood and other educators, and others who work with lower income families and their employers. It was done in consultation with DOL
HHS COVID-19 Awards Data on the awards made by HHS using emergency supplemental appropriation funding provided in the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, Families First Coronavirus Response Act, and Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES)
Governors’ Letter Regarding COVID-19 Aid Request Letter from the National Governors Association recommending and respectfully requesting actions from the federal government to protect public health and restore economic prosperity
COVID-19 Resources for Human Services Leaders The COVID-19 crisis requires a Whole Family response from state, local, and tribal leaders. This page builds on ACF’s COVID-19 Resources and provides information geared towards state leaders. The intent is to provide current mandatory program flexibilities, guidance and resources in ACF programs, as well as information on other federal programs that serve children and families. Information will be updated periodically by ACF’s Office of Regional Operations
Public Health Principles for a Phased Reopening During COVID-19: Guidance for Governors This document provides an assessment of the risk of COVID-19 transmission in a variety of organizations and settings that have been closed. Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security outline steps to reduce potential transmission during the reopening of these organizations and settings, building on the proposed phased approach from the National Coronavirus Response: A Road Map to Reopening
Re-Opening Planning Tool Johns Hopkins planning matrix reemphasizes re-opening should be aligned with mission priorities and focused on limiting the spread of COVID-19. Considerations listed in this document are based on best practices identified in open source research including CDC research
Job Quality Tools Library The Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program developed this Job Quality Tools Library to support leaders working in a variety of fields related to economic opportunity to engage in practical action to improve jobs. The library offers tools, resources, and guidance to help leaders adopt practices to strengthen job quality
ACF Disaster Waivers and Flexibilities FAQs ACF program flexibilities and waivers that are available to States, Tribes, Territories and grantees during emergencies and disasters. The FAQ document provides programmatic and administrative guidance for each ACF program that has emergency flexibilities and waivers
Court Improvement Program Grants to Help State Courts Respond to COVID-19 Letter from the Children’s Bureau encouraging court leaders to engage Court Improvement Programs (CIPs) in assisting dependency courts to respond to COVID-19 crisis
FY 2020 COVID-19 ACF Reporting Instructions RHY Program Funding Guidance on the ACF Reporting Requirement for the Family and Youth Services Bureau, Runaway and Homeless Youth Program. The fiscal year (FY) 2020 Coronavirus Supplemental Funding (COVID-19) provides one-time funding to support ACF recipients/grantees funded under the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act.
FY2020 COVID-19 ACF Examples Uses of Funding for RHY This document provides guidance for RHY-funded grantees (i.e., Basic Center Program, Street Outreach Program, Transitional Living Program, Maternity Group Home) that includes a list of activities and examples of purchases that may support your efforts to prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19.
ACF Office of Child Care Federal guidance from the Administration for Children & Families (ACF) Office of Child Care including information about COVID-19 for CCDF Lead Agencies, HHS-ACF Resources, and COVID-19 FAQs
ACF Children’s Bureau Federal guidance with a message on COVID-19 from the Administration for Children & Families (ACF) Children’s Bureau. Guidance on how to prepare and take action for COVID-19 for children involved in the child welfare system, foster care providers, and the child welfare workforce
CCDF-ACF-IM-2017-02 Flexibility in Spending CCDF Funds in Response to Federal or State Declared Emergency Situations Federal guidance from the Administration for Children & Families, Office of Child Care directed to state, territorial, and tribal lead agencies administering child care programs under the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG). This guidance shares flexibility in spending Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) funds in response to federal or state declared emergency situations
CCDF Frequently Asked Questions in Response to COVID-19 This FAQ addresses flexibilities in the CCDF law to help families and communities meet their child care needs during the response to COVID-19
CDC Guidance for Open Childcare Programs Information for child care programs that remain open at this time. This guidance does not supersede state and local laws and policies for child care programs
OCC Summary of Child Care Provisions of CARES Act The Administration for Children & Families Office of Child Care provides a summary of child care provisions of Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act
Allocations for CARES Act CCDBG State by state allocations for CARES Act Child Care Development Block (CCDBG) supplemental funding
Federal Funds Use for Cell Phones and PPE Letter from the Children’s Bureau that addresses the availability of federal funding and other resources to assist with the purchase of cell phones/plans and the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE) as an allowable cost
Supporting Emergency Child Care During the COVID-19 Crisis: How Head Start and Early Head Start Programs Can Help Released on April 23, 2020, the Office of Head Start (OHS) clarifies the information previously issued in “Temporarily Repurposing Head Start and Early Head Start Centers: Partnering to Support Emergency Child Care During the COVID-19 Crisis” on March 24, 2020, and “Serving Needs Beyond Head Start” on April 1, 2020. This provides clarification on how programs can support, when possible, the use of closed Head Start centers as temporary child care centers for medical personnel and essential workers
New Information Memorandum on the CARES Act for Child Care Released by the Office of Child Care on April 29, 2020, this Information Memorandum (IM) provides guidance on Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds for child care. The purpose of this IM—CCDF-ACF-IM-2020-01—is to provide an overview of and guidance to state, territory, and tribal lead agencies on the supplemental Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF) discretionary funds made available through the CARES Act
Child Care Waiver Approval Summary from the Office of Child Care This table, updated April 27, 2020, summarizes the waivers approved by state and provision requested in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency
The Office of Child Care Tip Sheet for States and Territories This tip sheet is intended to assist Lead Agencies in understanding what flexibility is available to them and how to use it to continue child care services during the COVID-19 public health emergency
ACF Press Release on Connecting Parents to Child Care In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, ChildCare.gov has created a new page where parents can connect with state specific resources to help them find and pay for child care during the COVID -19 pandemic and its aftermath
Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) FAQs OCSE’s FAQs about the operational, administrative, programmatic, and other challenges facing child support programs affected by the COVID-19 pandemic
Office of Child Support Enforcement (OCSE) FAQs Part 2 Part 2 of OCSE’s FAQs about the operational, administrative, programmatic, and other challenges facing child support programs affected by the COVID-19 pandemic
USDA Food and Nutrition Service Federal guidance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) shares a list of actions to respond to COVID-19. The site includes waivers and guidance for Child Nutrition Programs; Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC); Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP); and USDA Foods Programs
USDA Meals for Kids Site USDA’s interactive map directs people to local sites where kids can get free meals. As of April 6, 2020, the site finder lists more than 20,000 meal sites from 23 states, and will continue to be updated as states submit data each week. The map is available in both English and Spanish.
SNAP Q&A Set #1 Includes treatment of Payments in the CARES Act (including Pandemic UI), Emergency Allotments, Adjustments & Flexibilities, Operational Questions, Verification of Job Loss, and Outreach
SNAP Q&A Set #2 SNAP nutrition education
SNAP Q&A Set #3 Includes Waivers & Flexibilities, Operational Questions, Outreach, ABAWDs, Claims, and Quality Control Reviews
SNAP Q&A Set #4 SNAP Employment & Training Flexibilities, Use of Funds, and Plans
Farmers to Families Food Box Program FAQs Fact sheet on USDA purchase and distribution of up to $3 billion of agricultural products, as part of the Coronavirus Farm Assistance Program to those in need. USDA will partner with regional and local distributors, whose workforce has been significantly impacted by the closure of many restaurants, hotels, and other food service entities, to purchase fresh produce, dairy, and meat
TEFAP The Emergency Food Assistance Program guidance for COVID-19
WIC Guidance Questions and Answers related to COVID-19: WIC and the Food Distribution Programs
HUD Guidance Federal guidance from the U.S. Dept of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) with information and resources for housing providers, including organizations that run continuums of care and shelters
CDC’s Interim Guidance for Responding to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) among People Experiencing Unsheltered Homelessness Federal guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is intended to provide key actions that local and state health departments, homelessness service systems, housing authorities, emergency planners, healthcare facilities, and homeless outreach services can take to protect people experiencing homelessness from the spread of COVID-19
HHS’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Federal Guidance from HHS’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services shares information and updates about natural disasters, man-made incidents, and public health emergencies that are happening now, including COVID-19
COVID-19 Disaster Response Toolkit Resources from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

From Our Strategic Industry Partners

Surviving the Tidal Wave Webinar For Medicaid, SNAP, and other vital programs providing support during the pandemic. Sharing proven strategies to help increase capacity and meet increased demand
Building Capacity to Keep Up and Keep Kids Safe Strategies to help redesign policies and practices to keep kids and our child welfare workers safe during the COVID-19 pandemic
Governments’ Response to COVID-19 This article shares how the Government's response to this crisis must account for the urgency of the situation and embrace both short- and long-term perspectives. It also includes a timeline of governments’ actions through the COVID-19 crisis
Executing the COVID-19 Recovery A guide for state and local governments for reopening and restoring their economies
Restarting America This issue brief is an overview of a flexible, risk-based, policy, and technical framework for consideration by policymakers as they look to restart society
Restarting America: Getting Back to Work Safely This 5-part framework discusses a series of steps organizations should consider – such as the need for analytic tools, workplace safety considerations, technology considerations, and program governance
Webinar: A discussion on 'Reopening for business in a COVID-19 world' In this webcast we will consider the tactical and financial considerations of reopening businesses and how to create financial resiliency if responding to a longer downturn
Holding the Safety Net Handling historic increases in unemployment insurance claims due to COVID-19 economic impacts
State options for responding to the COVID-19 pandemic This guide identifies and summarizes the available emergency-response options, with a focus on the flexibilities that relate to eligibility and enrollment functions and practices
Increased Medicaid funding authorized by the Families First Coronavirus Response Act This brief details the eligibility requirements and answers other common questions that states and territories are likely to have
Considerations of implementing video conferencing in child welfare This brief contains questions and considerations for child welfare agencies thinking about how to implement a video conferencing approach
Protecting children and families in the face of COVID-19 This issue brief identifies key actions that child welfare agencies can take to support their workforce as well as children and families
IBM Watson Assistant for Citizens Virtual assistant pre-loaded to understand and respond to common questions about COVID-19. Agencies can also include other important information to keep citizens informed and help them find answers quickly. IBM is offering Watson Assistant for Citizens via the IBM Cloud at no charge for 90 days* and will assist with initial setup to alleviate the burden on already taxed government agencies. *Program Details will be provided by an IBM Representative*
Think Digital Event Experience Accelerate recovery and transformation with on demand webinar sessions
Managing Remote Teams in Child Welfare Resources to help child welfare caseworkers teleworking, working remotely, and striving to keep kids and families safe
Northwoods Mobilizes Content for Caseworkers Using AWS-Based Application Learn how Northwoods helps Pennsylvania’s Erie County Office of Children and Youth digitize case files, enabling remote caseworkers to serve children and families
Reimagining Service Delivery in a Remote World (Q&A with Economic Assistance Evangelist Greg Tipping) Greg Tipping shares his insight on how agencies are adapting to remote work, how the pandemic is forcing leaders to reimagine the system, and the role modern technology will play in helping caseworkers manage the mountain of work headed their way