On Friday, February 11, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra hosted a roundtable with key stakeholders in the child welfare space, including several lived experience consultants, advocacy organizations, and state, tribal and local officials. The Roundtable discussed ideas to help improve the lives of children and families, prevent child abuse and neglect, strengthen the foster care system, and help keep families healthy, safe, and together, whenever possible.
Secretary Becerra opened the roundtable by thanking participants for engaging with HHS on this important topic, stating that “you do work in a space that’s critical – especially during the pandemic. I look forward to hearing your ideas.”
Participants are listed below:
- Parents, young adults, and kin caregivers with lived child welfare experience
- DC Child and Family Services Agency
- Navajo Nation
- Casey Family Programs
- Think of Us
- Ohio Medicaid
Participants discussed improving access to health coverage and mental health support for child welfare-involved families; bolstering data access and sharing between child welfare and Medicaid systems; expanding access to kinship caregiving; and centering the safety and wellbeing of children with culturally competent, evidence-based solutions.
Secretary Becerra closed the roundtable by thanking the participants for their expertise and invited them to continue to share their “ideas for how we can partner to make a real difference in the lives of our children who are most in need.”
This conversation builds on Secretary Becerra’s commitment to increasing support for children, youth, and families in the child welfare system. HHS launched a Child Welfare-Medicaid Reform Working Group, that hosted several roundtables to engage with stakeholders on this issue area last month. HHS is also continuing to implement Families First, a bipartisan congressional effort in this space. Additionally, experts are working to improve coordination of and access to behavioral health systems for children and families through the Behavioral Health Coordinating Council (BHCC) at HHS.