Senate Aging & Youth Committee Round Up

This week, the Senate Aging and Youth Committee, chaired by Senator Randy Vulakovich (R-Allegheny), unanimously passed three important measures.

House Bill 1702 – introduced by Rep. Chris Ross (R-Chester) – would create a new senior care option. The Community Adult Respite Services Act would allow senior centers – and other licensed care facilities – to create a transitional program for those seniors that need some physical assistance, but not needing 24/7 adult day care.  The program would be overseen by the PA Department of Aging.

“I am pleased to play a part in the establishment of the Community Adult Respite Services Act, which is modeled after a program in Chester County,” said Sen. Vulakovich.  “It codifies the Chester pilot program into law and allows this type of program to operate throughout the rest of the state for older adults.”

House Bill 2204 – sponsored by Rep. Justin Simmons (R-Lehigh) – would amend the Early Intervention Services Act by providing for the eligibility of homeless toddlers and infants.  Currently, there are five categories of children that are automatically identified, assessed and tracked.  They are:  (1) children whose birth weight is less than 1,500 grams; (2) children cared for in neonatal intensive care units of hospitals; (3) children born to chemically dependent mothers; (4) children who are seriously abused or neglected; and (5) children with confirmed dangerous levels of lead poisoning.

“Homelessness continues to be a serious issue in Pennsylvania,” said Sen. Vulakovich.  “The United Way – and 77 related agencies – support this effort to provide Early Intervention services to homeless children as they believe addressing their needs now rather than later will save not only money but ultimately lives.”

Senate Resolution 62 – championed by Sen. Chuck McIlhinney (R-Bucks) – would require a study of the “Cliff Effect,” an issue where working families receive a minor pay increase that makes them ineligible for various programs that allow them to work such as child care assistance, transportation, or food stamps.  The phenomena, in effect, creates a disincentive for low income families to achieve self-sufficiency.

“This study will look at new approaches to family work support programs,” said Sen. Vulakovich.  “It will assess current State practices that promote economic opportunity and poverty reduction and develop a strategic, integrated and comprehensive plan to mitigate the ‘Cliff Effect.’”

All three measures are now before the Senate for consideration.

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Contact:  Nate Silcox (717) 787-6538