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LettertoCongress

  

FFTA Letter to Congress

March 23, 2020


The Honorable Mitch McConnell
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Chuck Schumer
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Kevin McCarthy
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510

We are writing on behalf of the Family Focused Treatment Association, a national association representing nearly 500 treatment foster care, foster care, and adoption agencies, that are currently serving hundreds of thousands of vulnerable children and families across the U.S. We are pleased to see Congress taking action to support families and industries impacted by the unfolding public health crisis resulting from the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

While Congress is considering an economic stimulus package to include the travel and tourism industries, we ask you to consider the same type of support for the many non-profit child placing agencies across the United States. We believe any economic stimulus proposals aimed at helping adversely affected industries and geographic areas must recognize the impact of the Coronavirus crisis on the nonprofit sector as well.

There are currently over 430,000 children in foster care placements across the nation. A majority of those children are served by non-profits. Right this moment these agencies are working 24-7 to respond to the increased needs of children, youth, and families that are being impacted as a result of the circumstances surrounding the COVID-19. Many of these agencies are providing these additional resources and services without any foreseeable reimbursement of expenses, because that’s what they do no matter what. While they may not be focused at this moment about the long-term outcome of COVID-19, the reality is that the demand for services will continue to rise in the coming months.

As many of these programs are closing due to mandated 14 day or longer shut downs by local and state governments, this causes the contractual obligations in many states to be impossible to fulfill. An inability to meet contractual obligations will result in reduced funding next fiscal year and layoffs will be imminent, both immediately and into the coming year. As capacity then lessens, programs will soon be faced with the inability to accept referrals. This is a cycle that will be very difficult to reverse once it begins. We urge you to act quickly to ensure no service disruptions at this crucial time.

In addition, we are seeing many of these same agencies needing to make the difficult decision to cancel their major fundraising events because of the Coronavirus. Most of these non-profits rely on individual donations and fundraising just as much as they do on contracts with their public child welfare agencies to provide vital services. These significant revenue shortfalls will absolutely have an impact on their services, their workforce, and the children and families that rely on resources provided by this type of non-governmental funding.

Adding to that, most nonprofits are small, according to the Council of Nonprofits. Ninety-seven percent of nonprofits have budgets of less than $5 million annually, 92 percent operate with less than $1 million a year, and 88 percent spend less than $500,000 annually for their work. Most nonprofit agencies, such as the child placement agencies, are community-based, serving local needs. Also, relatively few nonprofits have an endowment and most have limited reserves — about 50 percent have less than one month of cash reserves and often operate on a razor thin budget.

Another impact is on non-profit trade and professional associations. The American Society of Association Executives reports that meetings convened by all types of nonprofit associations in the United States annually attract more than 250 million attendees, contribute nearly half a trillion dollars to U.S. gross domestic product, and directly support 5.9 million jobs. Many nonprofit associations that rely significantly on revenue generated from conferences, trainings and educational programming will in turn be impacted and will not be able to provide critical resources and professional development opportunities to the agencies that are serving children and families.

These are just several of many examples of how nonprofits are essential to a healthy economy and deserving of stimulus. Given that, we urge you to ensure nonprofits are expressly included in tax and other relief targeted to small businesses. In the meantime, as this situation continues to unfold, we know there will be additional needs in communities throughout the nation. We need to work together to ensure that the U.S. child placing agencies will be equipped to respond to this increased need for additional support to children and families.

We look forward to continuing conversations on how to support the agencies as they provide critical services across the Nation.

Please let me know if there are any questions.

Sincerely,
Treva Johnson
Public Policy Director
Family Focused Treatment Association
tjohnson@ffta.org

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