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.

Resources Description

Documenting Pandemic EBT for the 2020–21 School Year
Updated October 2021

This report co-authored between APHSA and Urban Institute documents state SNAP administrators’ experience with planning for and implementing P-EBT in the 2020-2021 school year. It analyzes the challenges state administrators faced in launching this new program, as well reflects on considerations for the future.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Waivers and Adaptations During the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Survey of State Agency Perspective in 2020
Updated 6/1/21

Executive Summary

Full Report

This report is co-written with researchers from the Johns Hopkins Institute for Health and Social Policy based at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The report synthesizes the results from our nationwide online survey with state SNAP administrators that sought to understand the opportunities and challenges to implementing federal waivers during the pandemic.

Executive Summary

Full Report

American Rescue Plan Provisions to Serve Young Families
Updated 4/22/21

APHSA has highlighted key provisions of the American Rescue Plan, signed into law on March 11, 2021, that are relevant to young parents with children that will allow public sector leaders to maximize their capacity in serving these young families. Federal provision, highlighted in blue, are followed by recommended steps State and local human service agencies can take to maximize impact for young families.

The American Rescue Plan -- Key Human Services Provisions
Updated 3/12/21

The American Rescue Plan was signed into law on March 11, 2021, authorizing $1.9 trillion in funding for COVID-19 relief and recovery efforts.
The following provides a summary of key provisions that relate to human services agencies. The legislation covers a wide range of issues related to the COVID-19 response and recovery.

COVID Response Project: Lessons Learned from State Adaptations and Federal Flexibilities
Updated 2/03/21

The COVID Response Project was funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to document the real-time impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on state human services agencies and capture state perspectives on lessons learned to guide future federal policymaking and state implementation. The project was completed by APHSA in partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Office of Regional Operations.

COVID Emergency Relief Act Summary
Released 12/30/20

On Monday, December 21st, Congress passed the COVID-19 Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act as part of an appropriations package that funds the federal government through federal fiscal year 2021. The bill was signed into law by the President on December 27th. The over $900 billion COVID-19 relief package covers a wide range of human services and related priorities. APHSA has summarized the relevant provisions that impact human services delivery.

Comment Letter on Regulatory Relief to Support Economic Recovery
Released 12/28/20

APHSA has submitted comments in response to the Request for Information on Regulatory Relief to Support Economic Recovery published on November 25, 2020 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The request for information seeks input on the importance of waivers and flexibilities issued by HHS during the public health emergency and their potential need to be continued after the public health emergency. APHSA’s response reflects feedback received from its members responsible for administering human services programs funded through HHS.

Continuing Resolution on Coronavirus Appropriations Act
Last Updated 10/12/20

This summary highlights the Continuing Resolution passed by the Senate and signed into law on September 30. This bill would fund the government through December 11, and extends funding for critical human services programs, including $8 billion in nutrition assistance. Nutrition supports include the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the National School Lunch Program (NSLP), and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).

APHSA Special Statement: Investing in Human Services for a Strong and Equitable Economic Recovery
Released 9/8/20

This statement calls upon federal leaders to come together around bipartisan solutions that equip state and local agencies with the tools needed to meet the whole needs of families and communities.
Letter to Congress: SNAP Policy Solutions and Implementation Considerations
Submitted 8/7/20
This letter on SNAP Implementation Considerations outlines priorities and technical considerations for human services agencies in the next COVID relief package. The letter addresses the need to increase the minimum and maximum SNAP benefit levels, to simplify, extend, and expand Pandemic EBT (P-EBT), to provide fiscal relief for both SNAP implementation and P-EBT, and to establish waivers to support SNAP implementation for the duration of the pandemic.
Changes in State TANF Policies in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic
Released 8/20
In partnership with The Urban Institute, APHSA co-produced a brief “Changes in State TANF Policies in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic”. In this brief, we describe how some state agencies adapted their policies during the early months of the pandemic to meet their states’ and families’ unique situations, needs, and challenges.
HEALS Act Summary
Released 7/29/20
The HEALS Act is the next proposed COVID-19 stimulus package. Significant differences remain between the Senate proposal and previously passed House proposal (HEROES Act) and negotiations are underway to finalize a relief package. This analysis summarizes key provisions of the initial Senate proposal related to human services systems.
SNAP Administrative Relief
Released 7/27/20
Guided by our shared commitment to prioritize the health and well-being of the people and communities affected by the pandemic, this statement urges the USDA to work with states to simplify SNAP recertification procedures and/or extend timelines so states can keep up with the unprecedented volume of cases.
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)
Letter to Congress: Ensuring Access to Child Care in COVID-19 Stimulus Package
Submitted 7/24/20
This letter highlights the key policy priorities that child care administrators recognize are needed to ensure the availability of safe and stable care, and to urge Congress to prioritize child care in negotiations for the next stimulus package. The recommendations cover policy issues focused on supporting child care operations, instituting effective health and safety protocols, and supporting the education system and working parents.
Letter to Congress: Investing in Human Services to Drive Economic Recovery
Submitted 6/3/20
Building on our members’ prior recommendations to address rapid response issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and to meet urgent community needs and stabilize the underlying human services infrastructure, this letter provides additional recommendations to Congress to adopt specific policies that invest in people and communities to drive an economic resurgence
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
Letter to Congress: Key Policy Initiatives to Promote Child and Family Well-being
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
Letter to Congress: Priority Recommendations to Support Human Services During COVID-19
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
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
The Catalyst: APHSA’s Blog
Our blog now includes a variety of COVID-19 related topics including the importance of public service during times of crises, resilience, racial equity, and more

Additional Resources

Essential Workers COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit
Updated 2/24/21

In some states, essential workers already have access to vaccines to help protect them against COVID-19. These vaccines will be available to essential workers across the nation soon. CDC has provided a toolkit to help employers educate their essential workers about this important new prevention tool.

Community-Based Organizations COVID-19 Vaccine Toolkit
Updated 2/24/21

Soon the communities you serve will have access to vaccines to help protect against COVID-19. CDC has designed a toolkit to help community-based organizations (CBOs) educate communities about this important new prevention tool.
Tracking COVID-19’s Effects by Race and Ethnicity The COVID-19 Equitable Recovery Tracker by Urban Institute provides timely information and analysis of data disaggregated by race, ethnicity, and geography to inform race-conscious and equity-minded public, private, and philanthropic recovery efforts.
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 Consolidated CCDF CARES Act Financial Guidance The Administration for Children & Families (ACF) Office of Child Care offers financial guidance material for the supplemental CCDF discretionary CARES Act funds.
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, 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
ACF Press Release: CARES Act Gives Extra $750 Million for Head Start Program Funds will be released directly to all 1,600 local Head Start and Early Head Start programs, including tribal programs, in every state and territory beginning the week of June 1, 2020
ACF Webinar on Adapting, Evolving, and Thriving Tools To Evolve Your COVID-19 Child Care Strategy
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

U.S. state and local government: Core principles for public sector crisis management and recovery What government leaders should do now to ensure optimal results in recovery efforts down the road
Learning from the past: What previous experiences can teach us about crisis management in a time of uncertainty Blog post from Melissa Boudreault, Vice President of Consulting Services
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 Services for Contact Gain residents’ trust now to quickly and safely reopen your economy
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
Investing in Essential Technology and Remote Connection for Child Welfare In this market trends report, GovLoop, Northwoods, and AWS explore the challenges child welfare services face today and how technology could transform the field.
Answering Your Coronavirus Relief Fund Questions for Human Services A guide to the Coronavirus Relief Fund, established under the CARES Act, to help Human Services Organizations to take advantage of the funds available to them as they respond to COVID-19.
Prioritizing Technology in Human Services and Preparing for What May Be Next [Lessons from COVID-19] As the COVID-19 pandemic requires human services leaders to rethink how to achieve their mission, using technology to think outside the box has become more critical than ever. Rupam Chokshi shares insights into how organizations can invest in technology as an essential component in keeping communities safe.
Human Services Technology Toolkit: An Essential Buyer's Guide for Human Services A series of resources geared toward helping social services agencies navigate the different technology options available to them as they innovate new solutions to meet their goals.
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