Food For Peace Reform Act of 2014

 

african children

The Food for Peace Reform Act of 2014 (S.2421) was introduce on June 3, 2014 by Bob Corker, Junior Senator from Tennessee. This Act establishes the Food for Peace program in the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) under the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961. (Repeals authority for the current program under title II of the Food for Peace Act, including certain U.S. commodity purchase, U.S. cargo, and monetization requirements.)

 
The Act authorizes: USAID to provide emergency and nonemergency foreign assistance, including through the provision of U.S. commodities or local or regional procurement; nonemergency assistance to combat malnutrition and hunger, mitigate food crises, and promote resilient food security. It sets forth minimum funding levels for nonemergency assistance.
 
It also establishes the Food Aid Consultative Group, which shall: 1) test options for improved product packaging and storage; reform commodity acquisition and supply chain management; 2) increase private sector development in food aid products, packaging, and delivery; provide guidance on how best to use food aid commodities, including guidance on ensuring that the products reach their intended recipients; and 3) strengthen commodity quality monitoring. Further, it requires USAID to: 1)
assess the types and quality of agricultural commodities and products donated for food aid; 2) adjust products to cost-effectively meet nutrient needs of target populations; 3) test prototypes; adopt new, or improve existing, specifications for micronutrient fortified food aid products; 4) develop program guidance for matching products to nutrient purposes; and 5) evaluate performance and cost-effectiveness of food products and programs for vulnerable groups, such as pregnant mothers and young children.
Indian Girl
 
The Act also : 1) authorizes ocean transportation of agricultural commodities to be procured through full and open competitive procedures; 2) requires USAID to avoid displacing sales of U.S. agricultural commodities; 3) prohibits Program assistance from being made available unless USAID determines that the provision of the agricultural commodity in the recipient country would not: (a) result in substantial interference with the domestic production or marketing of agricultural commodities in the country, or (b) have a disruptive impact on the agricultural producers or the local economy of the country.
 
Further, the Act expresses the sense of Congress that the U.S. Merchant Marine: (1) is a critical component of the nation’s military and economic security; and (2) consists of a fleet of private, U.S.-registered merchant ships that provides domestic and international transportation for passengers and cargo.
 
Source(s): Congressional Research Service. http://www.govtrack.us
Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art

International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

women of color

One in three women experience violence in their life time. Violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread violations of human rights.

According to a 2013 WHO global study, 35 per cent of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual violence. However, some national studies show that up to seventy (70) per cent of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime from an intimate partner].

To raise awareness and trigger action to end this global scourge, the UN observes International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on 25 November. The date marks the brutal assassination in 1960 of the three Mirabal sisters, political activists in the Dominican Republic.

1 Elderly Women

Every year, November 25th and the ensuing 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence which follow (ending on 10 December, Human Rights Day) are commemorated around the world, providing individuals and groups a chance to mobilize and call attention to the urgent need to end violence against women and girls.

Ending violence against women is one of UN Women’s key priority areas, with programs addressing the pandemic implemented globally. UN Women also coordinates the UN Secretary-General’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign and supports widespread social mobilization through its Say NO – UNiTE to End Violence against Women social media platforms on Facebook and Twitter. In addition, UN Women manages the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women which commemorates its 18th anniversary in 2014. #orangeurworld

As part of this year’s theme “Orange the World in 16 Days”, we invite you to wear orange – the official colour of the UNiTE campaign. On Orange Day, now observed on the 25th of every month, worldwide activities by UN country offices and civil society organizations strive to highlight efforts to prevent and end violence against women and girls.

This year, the UNITE Campaign is extending Orange Day throughout the 16 Days of Activism.

Participate by submitting a photo with a message “I wear orange because…”. For further information you can visit : http://www.unwomen.org/en/news/in-focus/end-violence-against-women#sthash.crS5yGKH.dpuf.

Source: 2013 WHO global study; http://www.unwomen.org

Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art

Older Americans Act Reauthorization

smiling elderly woman

Older Americans Act Reauthorization Act of 2014 was introduced on February 28th, 2014. It reauthorizes the Older Americans Act of 1965 (OAA) and funding for its programs for FY2014-FY2018.

The Older Americans Act (OAA) funds critical services that keep older adults healthy and independent—services like meals, job training, senior centers, caregiver support, transportation, health promotion, benefits enrollment, and more.

The Act is overdue for reauthorization—and we should urge Congress to seize this opportunity to update and renew its commitment to these programs and those they serve.

The reauthorization language makes it an objective of such Act the acquiring for older individuals of high-quality services in a manner that is culturally and linguistically responsive to such individuals and family caregivers.

Includes older lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered (LGBT) individuals within the purview of such Act and specifically among certain reporting requirements.

Requires the Director of the Office of Long-Term Care Ombudsman Programs (in the Administration on Aging [AOA] of the Department of Health and Human Services [HHS]) to collect, analyze, and report on best practices related to elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation in long-term care facilities.

Women with Salt and Pepper Hair

Requires the Assistant Secretary for Aging of the AOA to:

(1) focus on the health and economic needs and welfare of older individuals;

(2) conduct studies and collect data to determine the services that are needed by LGBT older individuals;

(3) ensure that authorized programs include appropriate training in the prevention of abuse, neglect, and exploitation and provision of services that address elder justice and the exploitation of older individuals; and

(4) establish and operate a National Resource Center for Women and Retirement, a National Adult Protective Services Resource Center, and a National Resource Center on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered Aging.

Establishes an Advisory Committee to Assess, Coordinate, and Improve Legal Assistance Activities to study the legal services activities assistance system for older individuals.

grandma having bday

Reauthorizes appropriations for FY2014-FY2018, and revises requirements for, the AOA, the Eldercare Locator Service, pension counseling and information programs, supportive services, congregate nutrition services, disease prevention and health promotion services, family caregiver support, the nutrition services incentive program, the Community Service Senior Opportunity Act, grants for Native Americans.

Directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to award a grant to or enter into a cooperative agreement with a public or private nonprofit entity to establish a National Resource Center on Family Caregiving.

Directs the Assistant Secretary to award grants and enter into contracts with eligible entities to carry out projects to:

(1) support and promote modern multipurpose senior center models;

(2) build an evidence base of modern, replicable practices that allow senior centers to serve a diverse array of older individuals, as well as their families and other caregivers; and

(3) mobilize services and leverage resources to support the role of multipurpose senior centers as community focal points, and for the establishment, construction, maintenance, and operation of centers.

Thinking Woman

 

Directs the Assistant Secretary to make a grant on a competitive basis to enable an eligible nonprofit organization to provide training and technical assistance to grant recipients.

Revises requirements for the national family caregiver support program and the State Long-Term Care Ombudsman program, revising conflict-of-interest requirements and prohibitions for the latter.

Requires health programs for older individuals to cover behavioral health.

Directs the Comptroller General to study the transportation services for older individuals.

Directs the Assistant Secretary to issue guidance to applicable to states, area agencies on aging, and providers of services for older individuals, with respect to serving Holocaust survivors.

Source(s): http://www.gov.tracker.com; http://www.ncoa.org

Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art

Victims of Child Abuse Act Reauthorization

praying little boy

On August 8th, 2014, President Obama signed the Victims of Child Abuse Act Reauthorization Act of 2013. It amends the Victims of Child Abuse Act of 1990 to authorize appropriations for FY2014-FY2018 for:

(1) the children’s advocacy program;

(2) grants from the Administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention to develop and implement multidisciplinary child abuse investigation and prosecution programs; and

(3) grants to national organizations to provide technical assistance and training to attorneys and others instrumental to the criminal prosecution of child abuse cases in state or federal courts, for the purpose of improving the quality of criminal prosecution of such cases.

Directs the Inspector General of the Department of Justice (DOJ) to conduct audits of grant recipients to prevent waste, fraud, and abuse of funds by grantees.

Defines an “unresolved audit finding” as a finding in the final audit report of the Inspector General that the audited grantee has utilized grant funds for an unauthorized expenditure or otherwise unallowable cost and that is not closed or resolved within 12 months from the date when the final audit report is issued and any appeal has been completed.

Directs the Administrator to give priority for grants to eligible entities that did not have an unresolved audit finding during the three fiscal years prior to submitting an application for a grant.

Disqualifies a grant recipient that is found to have an unresolved audit finding from receiving grant funds during the following two fiscal years.

Directs the Administrator, if an entity is awarded grant funds during the two-fiscal-year period in which the entity is barred from receiving grants, to:

(1) deposit an amount equal to the funds that were improperly awarded into the General Fund of the Treasury, and

(2) seek to recoup the costs of the repayment to the fund from such entity.

Scared Girl

Prohibits the Administrator from awarding a grant to a nonprofit organization that holds money in offshore accounts for the purpose of avoiding paying the tax on unrelated business income.

Requires each nonprofit organization awarded a grant that uses prescribed procedures to create a rebuttable presumption of reasonableness for the compensation of its officers, directors, trustees and key employees to disclose to the Administrator in the grant application the process for determining such compensation, the comparability data used, and contemporaneous substantiation of the deliberation and decision.

Prohibits amounts authorized to be appropriated to DOJ from being used by the Administrator, or by any individual or organization awarded discretionary funds through a cooperative agreement, to host or support any expenditure for conferences that uses more than $20,000 in DOJ funds, without prior written authorization by the Deputy Attorney General or other specified officials.

cute little girl continuing to paint

Directs the Deputy Attorney General to submit an annual report to the Senate and House Judiciary Committees on all approved conference expenditures.

Amends the Victims of Crime Act of 1984 to permit surplus amounts in the Crime Victims Fund to be used only for a Victim Notification System and for the U.S. Attorneys Offices and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to provide and to improve services for the benefit of crime victims in the federal criminal justice system (current law) through victim coordinators, victims’ specialists, and advocates, including for the administrative support of such coordinators and advocates.

Source(s): http://www.govtrack.us

Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art

My Brother’s Keeper

cute little boy with apple

Recently, the White House launched the “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative to empower boys and young men of color.

Cute Child with Soccer Ball

This new Obama administration initiative is intended to address the systemic challenges and barriers faced by young men of color in schools, communities, and in the criminal justice system.

In response to this new Obama Administration initiative, some have argued that the opportunity gap faced by boys and young men of color will not be closed by a set of programs and initiatives that benefit some individuals but do not have a larger scale, collective impact.

serious man face

In his article on My Bother’s Keeper Warren Simmons,executive director of Brown University’s Annenberg Institute for School Reform, stated that “…..We must first acknowledge the historical nature of the problem [ i.e. opportunity gap] and its damaging, cumulative impact. Then, we must reinvest in communities and urge the people who live there to define what that reinvestment looks like. The solution is not technical. It’s not about data. It is about fundamental change at the social, political and cultural levels…..”

For a further information on this new initiative, please visit the following website:  http://www.ed.gov/blog/2014/02/my-brothers-keeper-a-new-white-house-initiative-to-empower-boys-and-young-men-of-color/

Source(s): US Dept. of Education

“What Will It Take To Close The Opportunity Gap”, Cognosenti, Warren Simmons, August 22, 2014.

Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art

Guidance on Enrollment of Students with Illegal Immigration Status

hispanic couple

Recently, the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education  issued a guidance for school districts to ensure equal access to public education for all children, regardless of their immigration status.

Laughing Boys

For further information read more about frequently asked questions and answers related to this topic: http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/docs/qa-.

Source: Advocates for Justice in Education

Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art

New Data on Autism

smiling mother and daughter

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, released a new report which indicates that the prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in children is one in sixty-eight (68) or 14.7 per  thousand (1,000) eight year olds.

children walking to school

This figure on the prevalence of  Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in children represents an approximate thirty (30) percent increase between 2008 and 2010. While the cause of the increase is unknown, it is likely that better awareness, screening, and diagnosis efforts play a significant role.

Child Post

The report, Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder among Children Aged 8 Years – Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, 11 sites, United States, 2010, is available at the following web address:  cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/ss6302a1.htm.

Source(s): Advocates and Justice in Education

Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art

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