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Virginia

Our key allies in Virginia are the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation (VECF) and Voices for Virginia’s Children (VVC). VECF is a public-private partnership working to increase efficiencies, encourage innovation, and improve policies to advance the healthy development and school readiness of young children in Virginia. VVC is the commonwealth’s only independent, multi-issue child policy and advocacy organization and is the KIDS COUNT data center for Virginia. Using this data and independent policy research, they determine unmet needs and threats to child well-being, recommend sound policy solutions, provide objective input to policymakers, and educate and mobilize leaders and concerned citizens to support policy initiatives.

2020 State Policy Environment and Progress

State early childhood policy progress is dependent both on the state’s policy environment and the numerous efforts — by those listed on this page and many others — who worked both independently and collaboratively to achieve wins for young children.

Advocacy Landscape:

 

2020 Policy Environment and Progress:

$22.75B STATE BUDGET
Estimated FY20 State General Fund Expenditures

ALIGNED GOVERNMENT
House (R), Senate (R),
Governor (R)

31% LOW-INCOME
274,718 Young Children (0-8) are Below 200% FPL

After the regular session ended with historic investments in early education, the COVID-19 pandemic hit and completely disrupted families’ lives. It also caused Governor Ralph Northam to revisit the budget and put all new spending on pause. At the start of the August Special Session, Governor Northam released his revised budget forecast and updated budget striking much of the new funding that was approved in March.

Despite many across the board cuts, a few initiatives for early education and child care were included in the governor’s protected budget. Also, landmark legislation HB1012 and SB578, transforming and unifying Virginia’s early childhood system, passed both chambers with bipartisan support. This reorganization of early childhood funding and programs promises to increase access and quality for Virginia’s at-risk children and families, as well as bring commonsense efficiencies and accountability to these important resources. VECF’s role in delivering this significant accomplishment was recognized during the bill signing ceremony in July 2020 when Governor Northam presented Kathy Glazer with a pen used to sign the legislation.

State Budget Data: National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO), “Table 4: Fiscal 2020 State General Fund, Estimated (Millions); The Fiscal Survey of the States.” Spring, 2020

Low-Income Data (including disaggregation by race): National Center for Children in Poverty, “NCCP Analysis of ACS 1-year Estimates—Public Use Microdata Sample, 2019.”

State Action Data: Provided by state advocates, October-November 2020, with analysis and synthesis by Frontera Strategy for Alliance for Early Success, “Protecting Progress and Investing in Scale: The 2020 50-State Progress Report on Early Childhood Education Policy.”

Additional State Actions: Mincic, Melissa,  Early Care and Education, State Budget Actions, Fiscal Year 2020. National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), October 2020. 

 

GOING FORWARD:

Top Alliance Grant Priorities for 2021

Leverage partnerships with the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, as well as economic development, education, philanthropic, and local government stakeholders to advocate for equitable policies and increased funding for early childhood via the legislature. (Virginia Early Childhood Foundation)

Advocate for the adoption of statewide early childhood mental health supports. (Voices for Virginia’s Children)

Drive systems reform necessary for recovery and renaissance of Virginia’s child care industry as recommended by the Back to Work Virginia Task Force. (Virginia Early Childhood Foundation)

Increase economic supports for disadvantaged families at the state and federal level, including preserving child care assistance, paid leave and cash assistance. (Voices for Virginia’s Children)

Make early childhood education and parent support a high-profile issue in the 2021 gubernatorial election. (Voices for Virginia’s Children)

Engage and elevate the voices of grassroots partners (Smart Beginnings, providers, parents) to inform state-level policy and budget development. (Virginia Early Childhood Foundation)

Support the child care industry and preserve child care access for families in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Voices for Virginia’s Children)

More from Virginia:

The Alliance for Early Success is achieving large-scale, long-lasting change for the state’s young children by providing our allies with powerful advantages that help them shape Virginia early childhood policy.