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Bipartisan Safer Communities Act includes support for afterschool and summer programs

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Bipartisan Safer Communities Act includes support for afterschool and summer programs

Update: On June 24 the House passed the bipartisan Safer Communities Act by a vote of 234 to 193 after the Senate passed the bill the preceding evening. The bill now goes to the President’s desk to be signed into law.

In response to horrific episodes of gun violence ravaging our nation, a group of 20 Democratic and Republican Senators, led by Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT) and John Cornyn (R-TX), have released bipartisan legislation. The bipartisan Safer Communities Act includes gun safety measures, mental health support investments, and school safety provisions that aim to prevent gun violence. The legislation is backed by Senate majority and minority leadership and would provide critical support to states and local communities working to prevent gun-related violence.

Among the youth and school related provisions is $50 million in additional funding to the 21st Century Community Learning Centers (21st CCLC) program, which funds afterschool and summer learning programs, to be available through September 30, 2023. The additional 21st CCLC funds include a focus on programs for middle school and high school students. Afterschool and summer learning programs provide a safe, nurturing environment for young people and can be part of a comprehensive public health and wellness approach to youth violence prevention. In addition to academic support, quality afterschool programs provide youth development opportunities and protective factors for young people that support mentally and physically healthy children and teens.

In addition to the investment in afterschool and summer, the Safer Communities Act proposes a wide range of other supports for youth, schools, and communities, including:

School and Youth Provisions

  • School Based Mental Health Services and Staff: Provides $500 million through the School Based Mental Health Services Grant Program to increase the number of qualified mental health service providers that provide school based mental health services to students in school districts with demonstrated need.
  • Training and Pipeline Development for School Based Mental Health Staff: Provides $500 million in funding to the School Based Mental Health Service Professionals Demonstration Grant. This money will help train and diversify the pipeline of school counselors, school social workers, and school psychologists.
  • Improving Conditions for Student Learning: Provides $1 billion in funding through Title IV-A of the Every Student Succeeds Act to support a variety of activities to improve conditions for student learning, including developing positive school climates through evidence-based practices. Language was also included in the bill that prohibits any ESSA funds from being used to purchase firearms or train school personnel to use firearms.
  • School Safety: Provides $300 million in funding through the STOP School Violence Act to institute safety measures in and around schools, support school violence prevention efforts and provide training to school personnel and students.
  • Codifies the SchoolSafety.gov clearinghouse, which provides evidence-based resources to improve school safety. Prohibits use of funds under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to train or equip any person with dangerous weapons in schools.

Children and Family Mental Health Provisions

  • Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic: Expands the existing Medicaid CCBHC demonstration program to all states to increase access to community based behavioral health services.
  • School-based mental health: Helps states to implement, enhance, and expand school-based health programs under Medicaid through updated guidance, technical assistance, and state planning grants.
  • Gold standard in mental health coverage for children: Improves oversight of states’ implementation of Medicaid’s Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnostic and Treatment (EPSDT) benefit, the country’s gold standard in children’s health coverage, to strengthen children’s access to comprehensive mental health care services.
  • Telemental health services for children: Requires CMS to provide guidance to states on how they can increase access to behavioral health services through telehealth under Medicaid and CHIP.
  • Teleconsults for pediatricians and mental health specialists: Provides $80 million in grants to support pediatric primary care providers to rapidly access mental health specialists’ expertise in guiding the treatment of their patients.
  • Training for pediatric providers: Appropriates $60 million over five years for training in mental health for primary care clinicians who treat children and youth.
  • Community and first responder mental health training: Appropriates $120 million over four years to prepare and train community members and first responders on how to appropriately and safely respond to individuals with mental disorders.
  • Support for states to expand mental health services: Provides $250 million for states, DC, and territories to enhance comprehensive community mental health services.
  • Support after traumatic events: Appropriates $40 million over four years to improve treatment and services for children, adolescents, and families who have experienced traumatic events.
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline/9-8-8: Appropriates $150 million to support implementation of the 9-8-8 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline that provides 24/7, free and confidential support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress
  • Building awareness of and access to services for mental health: Appropriates $240 million over four years for Project AWARE programs that increase awareness of mental health issues among school-aged youth, provide training for school personnel and other adults who interact with school-aged youth to detect and respond to mental health issues, and connect school-aged youth who may have behavioral health issues and their families to needed services.
    • School-based trauma support: Includes a set aside of $28 million for grants to support trauma care in school settings. These Sec. 7134 grants were originally created in 2018 by the RISE from Trauma Act, led by Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Shelley Capito (R-WV), and are funded to increase the provision of trauma-informed care in schools.  

The bill also includes a number of provisions addressing gun safety – see bill text and a summary for additional information. The legislation passed a key procedural vote in the Senate on Tuesday. Senate leadership has called for its passage this week before the Senate goes into the July 4th recess. While the bill faces considerable challenges from Republicans in the House, that chamber is expected to consider the bill before leaving the recess as well, although they may have to work through the weekend.

Keeping children, families and members of their communities safe, loved, and physically and mentally healthy is foundational to the work of afterschool professionals. Nothing will restore the tragic losses we’ve seen. We dedicate our ongoing work to a future where youth have all the supports and resources they need to become healthy adults.

Recapping impressive OST work in summer 2021—and looking ahead to summer 2022

As the winter air blows in, it’s the perfect time to warm up with thoughts of summer. In fact, many school districts and afterschool programs know that planning for summer begins in the fall. Fortunately, the hard work programs, partners, and schools undertook during summer 2021 provided...

BY: Jillian Luchner      12/07/21

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BY: Jillian Luchner      07/16/21

State ARP plans: Supporting afterschool and summer enrichment (Part 1)

It has been more than one month since state education agencies were asked to submit their proposed state plans for the use of American Rescue Plan (ARP) Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER III) Funds to the US Department of Education. To date, the Department has posted state...

BY: Erik Peterson      07/09/21

House of Representatives passes Build Back Better Act

On Friday, November 19, 2021, the House of Representatives passed the Build Back Better Act by a vote of 220-213. The legislation invests in programs that support human infrastructure and includes parts...

BY: Erik Peterson      11/22/21

State child care stabilization grants open with many afterschool programs eligible

As the afterschool field continues to navigate the American Rescue Plan (ARP) opportunities for K-12 funding through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds (ESSER) at the state and local level, ARP also designated $24 billion in child care funding to states to help stabilize the...

BY: Jillian Luchner      11/18/21

ARP ESSER state plans are in! More funds are hitting the ground at the state and local level

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Senate Democrats LHHS bill proposes $50 million increase to 21st CCLC as FY2022 Appropriations process continues

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Senate Democrats LHHS bill proposes $50 million increase to 21st CCLC as FY2022 Appropriations process continues

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BY: Erik Peterson      09/17/21

Appropriations, budget resolutions, and infrastructure—oh my!

Historically the month of August is a slow one in Washington, D.C., with Congress taking off for a summer break. While the House and Senate are now in a recess for a several weeks, that break did not come before a frenzy of legislative work that is worthy of a recap. In late July, before...

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BY: Maria Rizo      07/22/21

U.S. House Subcommittee proposes $100 million increase to 21st CCLC as FY2022 Appropriations process continues

This week the House of Representatives continues the FY 2022 appropriations process with multiple subcommittee mark-ups. On July 12 the House of Representatives’ Labor, Health and Human Services, Education (LHHS-ED) and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee will mark up its FY 2022...

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Bipartisan, bicameral Youth Workforce Readiness Act of 2021 introduced

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Bipartisan CORPS Act re-introduced in Senate

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Senate Democrats LHHS bill proposes $50 million increase to 21st CCLC as FY2022 Appropriations process continues

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Appropriations, budget resolutions, and infrastructure—oh my!

Historically the month of August is a slow one in Washington, D.C., with Congress taking off for a summer break. While the House and Senate are now in a recess for a several weeks, that break did not come before a frenzy of legislative work that is worthy of a recap. In late July, before...

BY: Erik Peterson      08/16/21

ARP Webinar Series Recap: How to access ARP funds for afterschool and summer

The Afterschool Alliance hosted a webinar series to help programs understand how billions of dollars provided by the American Rescue Plan (ARP) can be used to support afterschool and summer programs. While funds go directly to education and child care agencies, programs are specifically mentioned...

BY: Maria Rizo      07/26/21

Virtual Hill Briefing recap: Helping Students Recover and Accelerating Success

On July 20, the House Afterschool Caucus in partnership with the Afterschool Alliance hosted a Capitol Hill Briefing Helping Students Recover and Accelerating Success for congressional staff and afterschool stakeholders. With a proven track record for increasing resilience, supporting positive...

BY: Maria Rizo      07/22/21

U.S. House Subcommittee proposes $100 million increase to 21st CCLC as FY2022 Appropriations process continues

This week the House of Representatives continues the FY 2022 appropriations process with multiple subcommittee mark-ups. On July 12 the House of Representatives’ Labor, Health and Human Services, Education (LHHS-ED) and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee will mark up its FY 2022...

BY: Erik Peterson      07/12/21

American Rescue Plan ESSER III afterschool and summer implementation update: States efforts, new tools, and more

Since President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan (ARP) into law on March 11, 2021, state education agencies (SEAs) have been working to maximize the impact of the $122 billion in federal education funds to support students impacted by the pandemic.  While SEAs have until June 7, 2021, to...

BY: Erik Peterson      06/01/21

Biden administration releases full FY 2022 budget proposal, increases afterschool funding

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BY: Erik Peterson      05/28/21

Bipartisan, bicameral Youth Workforce Readiness Act of 2021 introduced

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BY: Erik Peterson      05/24/21

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BY: Erik Peterson      05/07/21

Bipartisan CORPS Act re-introduced in Senate

Last week, a bi-partisan group of senators, led by Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) introduced legislation to strengthen national service opportunities, particularly in responding to COVID-19. The Cultivating Opportunity and Response to the Pandemic through Service...

BY: Erik Peterson      04/23/21

Senate Democrats LHHS bill proposes $50 million increase to 21st CCLC as FY2022 Appropriations process continues

This week Senate Appropriations Committee chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) released the nine remaining fiscal year FY 2022 appropriations bills that the Senate has not yet addressed, including the FY 2022 Labor-HHS-Education bill.  The bills are partisan in nature, and the Committee is unlikely...

BY: Erik Peterson      10/21/21

Appropriations, budget resolutions, and infrastructure—oh my!

Historically the month of August is a slow one in Washington, D.C., with Congress taking off for a summer break. While the House and Senate are now in a recess for a several weeks, that break did not come before a frenzy of legislative work that is worthy of a recap. In late July, before...

BY: Erik Peterson      08/16/21

U.S. House Subcommittee proposes $100 million increase to 21st CCLC as FY2022 Appropriations process continues

This week the House of Representatives continues the FY 2022 appropriations process with multiple subcommittee mark-ups. On July 12 the House of Representatives’ Labor, Health and Human Services, Education (LHHS-ED) and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee will mark up its FY 2022...

BY: Erik Peterson      07/12/21

Biden administration releases full FY 2022 budget proposal, increases afterschool funding

On May 28, the Biden administration released its full FY 2022 discretionary budget request, about six weeks after releasing an initial budget blueprint. With regard to education, the proposal includes $1.31 billion for the Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers, an increase of $52...

BY: Erik Peterson      05/28/21

President Biden offers FY 2022 budget proposal

On April 9, the Biden administration released their preliminary (or “skinny”) FY 2022 discretionary budget request which includes topline appropriations levels for each agency as well as key spending priorities. With regard to education, the proposal includes historic funding requests...

BY: Erik Peterson      04/13/21

Biden administration proposes infrastructure plan including funds for schools, child care

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BY: Erik Peterson      04/12/21

American Rescue Plan passes Senate, contains billions in support for afterschool and summer learning

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BY: Erik Peterson      03/06/21

FY 2021 omnibus spending bill and COVID-19 relief package finalized and passed

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BY: Erik Peterson      12/22/20

Policy update: New bipartisan COVID-19 relief bill and FY 2021 spending bill gain momentum

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BY: Erik Peterson      12/16/20

Senate funding bills released with flat funding for afterschool

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BY: Jillian Luchner      11/12/20

Recapping impressive OST work in summer 2021—and looking ahead to summer 2022

As the winter air blows in, it’s the perfect time to warm up with thoughts of summer. In fact, many school districts and afterschool programs know that planning for summer begins in the fall. Fortunately, the hard work programs, partners, and schools undertook during summer 2021 provided...

BY: Jillian Luchner      12/07/21

State child care stabilization grants open with many afterschool programs eligible

As the afterschool field continues to navigate the American Rescue Plan (ARP) opportunities for K-12 funding through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds (ESSER) at the state and local level, ARP also designated $24 billion in child care funding to states to help stabilize the...

BY: Jillian Luchner      11/18/21

ARP ESSER state plans are in! More funds are hitting the ground at the state and local level

With the 2021-2022 school year in full-swing, the federal American Rescue Plan relief funds are making important impacts in states and communities. At this point, all 50 states have submitted their Elementary and Secondary Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) plans. The Department of Education is...

BY: Jillian Luchner      11/11/21

49 states, D.C., and Puerto Rico submitted ARP state plans, 37 approved (Part 4)

As summer officially turned to fall this month, almost all states, plus Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, have now submitted their proposed state plans for the use of American Rescue Plan (ARP) Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER III) Funds to the US Department of Education, and...

BY: Erik Peterson      10/01/21

New learning loss recovery guidance and survey data suggest strong role for afterschool

Last week, as students across the country continued to return to in-person learning, new survey data released from AASA – The School Superintendents Association, as well as additional guidance on learning loss recovery from the US Department of Education, suggests there is more work to be...

BY: Erik Peterson      09/09/21

Virtual Hill Briefing recap: Helping Students Recover and Accelerating Success

On July 20, the House Afterschool Caucus in partnership with the Afterschool Alliance hosted a Capitol Hill Briefing Helping Students Recover and Accelerating Success for congressional staff and afterschool stakeholders. With a proven track record for increasing resilience, supporting positive...

BY: Maria Rizo      07/22/21

Approaches to supporting afterschool and summer in state plans for education relief spending (Part 2)

An advantage of a country made of states, territories, and tribal lands is the amount of innovation across boundaries that can help us learn from one another. This blog is the second in a series on the state American Rescue Plan (ARP) Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER)...

BY: Jillian Luchner      07/16/21

State ARP plans: Supporting afterschool and summer enrichment (Part 1)

It has been more than one month since state education agencies were asked to submit their proposed state plans for the use of American Rescue Plan (ARP) Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER III) Funds to the US Department of Education. To date, the Department has posted state...

BY: Erik Peterson      07/09/21

Draft Child Care Plans for 2022-24 boast strong examples of school-age policy

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BY: Jillian Luchner      07/01/21

Child Care Stabilization Grant Program guidance offers many school-age opportunities

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BY: Jillian Luchner      05/27/21

House of Representatives passes Build Back Better Act

On Friday, November 19, 2021, the House of Representatives passed the Build Back Better Act by a vote of 220-213. The legislation invests in programs that support human infrastructure and includes parts...

BY: Erik Peterson      11/22/21

State child care stabilization grants open with many afterschool programs eligible

As the afterschool field continues to navigate the American Rescue Plan (ARP) opportunities for K-12 funding through the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funds (ESSER) at the state and local level, ARP also designated $24 billion in child care funding to states to help stabilize the...

BY: Jillian Luchner      11/18/21

Senate Democrats LHHS bill proposes $50 million increase to 21st CCLC as FY2022 Appropriations process continues

This week Senate Appropriations Committee chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) released the nine remaining fiscal year FY 2022 appropriations bills that the Senate has not yet addressed, including the FY 2022 Labor-HHS-Education bill.  The bills are partisan in nature, and the Committee is unlikely...

BY: Erik Peterson      10/21/21

ARP Webinar Series Recap: How to access ARP funds for afterschool and summer

The Afterschool Alliance hosted a webinar series to help programs understand how billions of dollars provided by the American Rescue Plan (ARP) can be used to support afterschool and summer programs. While funds go directly to education and child care agencies, programs are specifically mentioned...

BY: Maria Rizo      07/26/21

Approaches to supporting afterschool and summer in state plans for education relief spending (Part 2)

An advantage of a country made of states, territories, and tribal lands is the amount of innovation across boundaries that can help us learn from one another. This blog is the second in a series on the state American Rescue Plan (ARP) Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER)...

BY: Jillian Luchner      07/16/21

Guidance on $15 billion in Supplemental Child Care Funding released, including opportunities to increase staff wages

On June 11, the Office of Child Care (OCC) released the long-awaited guidance for the $15 billion of American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act CCDF Discretionary Supplemental funds. The guidance comes about one month after earlier guidance on the ARP’s $24 billion Stabilization Grant Funds. States...

BY: Jillian Luchner      06/25/21

Biden administration releases full FY 2022 budget proposal, increases afterschool funding

On May 28, the Biden administration released its full FY 2022 discretionary budget request, about six weeks after releasing an initial budget blueprint. With regard to education, the proposal includes $1.31 billion for the Nita M. Lowey 21st Century Community Learning Centers, an increase of $52...

BY: Erik Peterson      05/28/21

The Biden administration’s American Family Plan – what it means for afterschool

In late April, President Joe Biden released the American Families Plan, the second part of an overall infrastructure proposal and a complementary piece to the American Jobs Plan. Congress is now holding bipartisan conversations to identify infrastructure priorities. The American Families...

BY: Erik Peterson      05/07/21

Department of Education releases plan template for American Rescue Plan education funds

Last week, the U.S. Department of Education released the State plan application that will support states in describing how they will use resources under the American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief III (ARP ESSER III) fund to continue to support students...

BY: Erik Peterson      04/28/21

Bipartisan CORPS Act re-introduced in Senate

Last week, a bi-partisan group of senators, led by Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) introduced legislation to strengthen national service opportunities, particularly in responding to COVID-19. The Cultivating Opportunity and Response to the Pandemic through Service...

BY: Erik Peterson      04/23/21