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H.R. 5524 (110th): Reconnecting Homeless Youth Act of 2008

The text of the bill below is as of Jun 9, 2008 (Passed the House).


I

110th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 5524

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

AN ACT

To amend the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act to authorize appropriations, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Reconnecting Homeless Youth Act of 2008.

2.

Findings

Section 302 of the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (42 U.S.C. 5701) is amended—

(1)

by redesignating paragraphs (3), (4), and (5) as paragraphs (4), (5), and (6), respectively, and

(2)

inserting after paragraph (2) the following:

(3)

services to such young people should be developed and provided using a positive youth development approach that ensures the young person a sense of—

(A)

safety and structure;

(B)

belonging and membership;

(C)

self-worth and social contribution;

(D)

independence and control over one’s life; and

(E)

closeness in interpersonal relationships;

.

3.

Grants for centers and services

Section 311 of the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (42 U.S.C. 5711) is amended—

(1)

in subsection (a)(2)(B)(i) by inserting before the semicolon the following:

provided for a continuous period not to exceed 15 days, except that such shelter may be provided for a continuous period not to exceed 21 days if the State where the center is located has an applicable State or local law or regulation that permits a length of stay in excess of such 15 days in compliance with licensure requirements for child and youth serving facilities

,

(2)

in subsection (b)—

(A)

in paragraph (2)—

(i)

by striking The and inserting (A) Except as provided in subparagraph (B) and to the extent that sufficient funds are available, the,

(ii)

by striking $100,000 and inserting $150,000,

(iii)

by striking $45,000 and inserting $70,000, and

(iv)

by adding at the end the following:

(B)

For fiscal years 2009 and 2010, the amount allotted under paragraph (1) with respect to a State for a fiscal year shall be not less than the amount alotted with respect to such State for fiscal year 2008.

,

(B)

by redesignating paragraph (3) as paragraph (4), and

(C)

by inserting after paragraph (2) the following:

(3)

Whenever the Secretary determines that any part of the amount allotted under paragraph (1) with respect to a State will not be obligated before the end of the fiscal year, the Secretary shall reallot such part under paragraph (1) with respect to the remaining States for obligation for such fiscal year.

.

4.

Basic center grant program eligibility

Section 312(b) of the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (42 U.S.C. 5712(b)) is amended—

(1)

in paragraph (11) by striking and at the end,

(2)

in paragraph (12) by striking the period at the end and inserting ; and, and

(3)

by adding at the end the following:

(13)

shall develop an adequate emergency preparedness and management plan.

.

5.

Transitional living grant program eligibility

Section 322(a) of the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (42 U.S.C. 2714-2(a)) is amended—

(1)

in paragraph (1)—

(A)

by striking indirectly the 1st place it appears and inserting by contract, and

(B)

by striking and services and inserting , and to provide, directly or indirectly, services,

(2)

in paragraph (2)—

(A)

by striking except that a youth and inserting the following:

except that in the case of—

(i)

a youth

,

(B)

by inserting such youth may after program,, and

(C)

by striking period; and inserting the following:

period; and

(ii)

a program that is located in a State that has an applicable State or local law or regulation that permits a length of stay in excess of such 540-day period in compliance with licensure requirements for child and youth serving facilities, a youth may remain in such program throughout a continuous period not to exceed 635 days;

,

(3)

in paragraph (14) by striking and at the end,

(4)

in paragraph (15) by striking the period at the end and inserting ; and, and

(5)

by adding at the end the following:

(16)

to develop an adequate emergency preparedness and management plan.

.

6.

Research, evaluation, demonstration, and service projects

Section 343 of the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (42 U.S.C. 5714-23)) is amended—

(1)

in subsection (b)—

(A)

in the matter preceding paragraph (1)—

(i)

by striking special consideration and inserting priority, and

(ii)

by striking relating to and inserting focused on,

(B)

in paragraph (8)—

(i)

by inserting quality after access to,

(ii)

by striking mental and inserting behavioral, and

(iii)

by striking and at the end,

(C)

in paragraph (9) by striking the period at the end and inserting the following:

, including educational and workforce programs with outcomes such as decreasing the secondary school drop-out rate, increasing diploma or equivalent attainment rates, or increasing placement and retention in postsecondary education or advanced workforce training; or

, and

(D)

by adding at the end the following:

(10)

programs, including innovative programs, that assist youth in obtaining and maintaining safe and stable housing, and may include programs with supportive services that continue after program completion.

, and

(2)

by amending subsection (c) to read as follows:

(c)

In selecting among applicants for grants under subsection (a), the Secretary shall—

(1)

give priority to applicants who have experience working with runaway youth or homeless youth; and

(2)

ensure that the applicants selected—

(A)

are geographically representative of different regions of the United States; and

(B)

carry out projects that serve diverse populations of runaway or homeless youth.

.

7.

Estimate of incidence and prevalence of youth homelessness

Part D of the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (42 U.S.C. 5714-21–5714-24) is amended by adding at the end the following:

345.

Periodic estimate of incidence and prevalence of youth homelessness

(a)

Periodic estimate

Not later than 2 years after the effective date of this section, and at 5-year intervals thereafter, the Secretary, in coordination with the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, shall prepare and submit to the Committee on Education and Labor of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Judiciary of the Senate, and make public, a report—

(1)

by using the best quantitative and qualitative social science research method available, containing an estimate of the incidence and prevalence of runaway and homeless individuals who are less than 26 years of age and not less than 13 years of age; and

(2)

that includes with such estimate an assessment of the characteristics of such individuals.

(b)

Content

The report required by subsection (a) shall include—

(1)

the results of conducting a survey of, and direct interviews with, a representative sample of runaway and homeless individuals who are less than 26 years of age and not less than 13 years of age, to determine past and current—

(A)

socioeconomic characteristics of such individuals;

(B)

barriers to such individuals obtaining—

(i)

safe, quality, and affordable housing;

(ii)

comprehensive and affordable health insurance and health services; and

(iii)

incomes, public benefits, supportive services, and connections to caring adults; and

(C)

such other information that the Secretary determines, in consultation with States, units of local government, and national nongovernmental organizations concerned with homelessness, may be useful.

(c)

Implementation

If the Secretary enters into any contract with a non-Federal entity for purposes of carrying out subsection (a), such entity shall be a nongovernmental organization, or an individual, determined by the Secretary to have appropriate expertise in quantitative and qualitative social science research.

.

8.

Sexual abuse prevention program

Section 351(b) of the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (42 U.S.C. 5714–41(b)) is amended by inserting public and after priority to.

9.

National homeless youth awareness campaign

The Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (42 U.S.C. 5701 et seq.) is amended—

(1)

by redesignating part F as part G, and

(2)

by inserting after part E the following:

F

National Homeless Youth Awareness Campaign

361.

National homeless youth awareness campaign

(a)

In general

The Secretary shall, directly or through grants or contracts, conduct a national homeless youth awareness campaign (referred to in this section as the national awareness campaign) in accordance with this section for purposes of—

(1)

increasing awareness of individuals of all ages, socioeconomic backgrounds, and geographic locations, of the issues facing runway and homeless youth, the resources available for these youth, and the tools available for the prevention of youth runaway and homeless situations; and

(2)

encouraging parents, guardians, educators, health care professionals, social service professionals, law enforcement officials, and other community members to seek to prevent runaway youth and youth homelessness by assisting youth in averting or resolving runaway and homeless situations.

(b)

Use of funds

Funds made available to carry out this section for the national awareness campaign may be used only for the following:

(1)

The dissemination of educational information and materials through various media, including television, radio, the Internet and related technologies, and emerging technologies.

(2)

Partnerships, including outreach activities, with national organizations concerned with youth homelessness, community-based youth service organizations (including faith-based organizations), and government organizations related to the national awareness campaign.

(3)

In accordance with applicable laws and regulations, the development and placement of public service announcements in telecommunications media, including the Internet and related technologies and emerging technologies, that educate the public on the issues facing runaway and homeless youth (or youth considering running away) and on the opportunities that adults have to assist such youth.

(4)

Evaluation of the effectiveness of the national awareness campaign.

(c)

Prohibitions

None of the funds made available under subsection (b) may be obligated or expended for any of the following:

(1)

To supplant pro bono public service time donated by national or local broadcasting networks, advertising agencies, production companies, or other pro bono work for the national awareness campaign.

(2)

For partisan political purposes, or express advocacy in support of or to defeat any clearly identified candidate, clearly identified ballot initiative, or clearly identified legislative or regulatory proposal.

(3)

To fund advertising that features any elected officials, persons seeking elected office, cabinet level officials, or other Federal employees employed in positions in schedule C of part 213 of title 5 of the Code of Federal Regulations (January 1, 2008), as amended from time to time.

(4)

To fund advertising that does not contain a primary message intended to educate the public on the issues facing runaway and homeless youth (or youth considering running away) or on the opportunities for adults to help such youth.

(5)

To fund advertising that solicits contributions to support the national awareness campaign.

(d)

Financial and performance accountability

The Secretary shall perform—

(1)

audits and reviews of costs of the national awareness campaign pursuant to section 304C of the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949 (41 U.S.C. 254d); and

(2)

an audit to determine whether the costs of the national awareness campaign are allowable under section 306 of such Act (41 U.S.C. 256).

(e)

Report

The Secretary shall include in each report submitted under section 382 a summary of the national awareness campaign that describes—

(1)

the activities undertaken by the national awareness campaign;

(2)

steps taken to ensure that the national awareness campaign operates in an effective and efficient manner consistent with the overall strategy and focus of the national awareness campaign; and

(3)

each grant made to, or contract entered into with, a particular corporation, partnership, or individual working on the national awareness campaign.

.

10.

Definitions

Section 387 of the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (42 U.S.C. 5732a) is amended—

(1)

in paragraph (3)(A)—

(A)

in clause (i)—

(i)

by striking not more than each place it appears and inserting less than, and

(ii)

by inserting after age the last place it appears the following:

, or until attaining a higher maximum age if the State where the center is located has an applicable State or local law or regulation that permits such higher maximum age in compliance with licensure requirements for child and youth serving facilities

, and

(B)

in clause (ii) by striking age; and inserting the following:

age and either—

(I)

less than 22 years of age; or

(II)

an age exceeding 22 years of age as of the expiration of the maximum period of stay permitted under section 322(a)(2)(ii) if such individual commences such stay before attaining 22 years of age;

, and

(2)

by redesignating paragraphs (4) through (7) as paragraphs (5) through (8), respectively.

11.

Authorization of appropriations

Section 388(a) of the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (42 U.S.C. 5751(a)) is amended—

(1)

by amending paragraph (1) to read as follows:

(1)

Authorization

There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this title (other than parts E and F, and section 345) $150,000,000 for fiscal year 2009 and such sums as may be necessary for fiscal years 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013.

,

(2)

by amending paragraph (4) to read as follows:

(4)

Part E

There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out part E $30,000,000 for fiscal year 2009 and such sums as may be necessary for fiscal years 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013.

, and

(3)

by adding at the end the following:

(5)

Part F

There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out part F $3,000,000 for each of the fiscal years 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013.

(6)

Section 345

There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out section 345 such sums as may be necessary for fiscal years 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013.

.

12.

Performance standards

The Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (42 U.S.C. 5701 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following:

390.

Performance standards

(a)

Establishment of performance standards

Not later than 1 year after the effective date of this section, the Secretary shall establish by rule performance standards applicable to public and nonprofit private entities and agencies that receive grants under sections 311, 321, and 351.

(b)

Implementation of performance standards

The Secretary shall integrate performance standards established under subsection (a) into the Secretary’s processes for grant-making, monitoring, and evaluation for programs under sections 311, 321, and 351.

(c)

Consultation

The Secretary shall consult with representatives of public and private entities and agencies that receive grants under this title, statewide and regional nonprofit organizations (and combinations of such organizations) that receive grants under this title, and national nonprofit organizations concerned with youth homelessness in developing the performance standards required by subsection (a).

(d)

Public comment

The Secretary shall provide an opportunity for public comment concerning the establishment of the performance standards required by subsection (a) before issuing rules to establish such standards, and shall maintain an official record of such public comment.

.

13.

GAO study and report

(a)

Study

The Comptroller General shall conduct a study of, and make findings and recommendations relating to, the process for making grants under parts A, B, and E of the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act, with respect to—

(1)

the written responses made by the Secretary of Health and Human Services to (and any other methods for communicating with) grant applicants who are do not receive a grant under part A, B, or E of such Act, to determine if the information provided in such responses to such applicants is conveyed clearly,

(2)

the structure of the grant application and associated documents (including announcements that grants are available under such parts), to determine if such application is structured so that the applicant has a clear understanding of what is required in each provision to successfully complete the application, including a clear explanation of terminology required to be used by the applicant throughout the document,

(3)

the peer review process (if any) used to review grant applications (including the selection of peer reviewers) and the oversight of the peer review process by employees of the Department of Health and Human Services, as well as the extent to which such employees make funding determinations based on the comments and scores of the individuals who perform peer reviews,

(4)

the typical time frame and the process used by such employees, including employee responsibilities, for responding to applicants and the efforts taken to communicate with applicants when there is a delay of decisions on applications or when funds to carry out this title are not appropriated before the beginning of the then current fiscal year, and

(5)

the plans for and implementation of, where practicable, the new training and technical assistance programs and their effect on the grant application process.

(b)

Report

Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Comptroller General shall submit a report to the Committee on Education and Labor of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Judiciary of the Senate, containing a summary of the results of the study conducted under subsection (a), together with the findings and recommendations made by the Comptroller General based on such results.

Passed the House of Representatives June 9, 2008.

Lorraine C. Miller,

Clerk.