Recent State Policy Advances
Expanded investment. Restructured agencies. New caucuses, committees, and coalitions. Read about all the ways our allies on the front lines are making their state a better place for each and every child to reach their full potential.
When COVID-19 diverted attention away from legislative efforts to expand Connecticut’s child care subsidy, advocates adjusted their efforts and expanded services through non-legislative means. They worked to change the homelessness screening process to help families enroll in Head Start and secured CARES Act funding to provide child care to parents attending a job training program.
Maryland allies have been working relentlessly in support of the early childhood agenda contained in the massive “Blueprint for Maryland’s Future” bill and were elated when the legislation passed – with an override of the governor’s veto – in the 2021 session.
In the fall of 2020 the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus held a series of hearings to develop its agenda, and because of long-standing relationships built on trust and respect, advocates were invited to highlight early childhood issues and to make recommendations to be included in the package. Working together, they helped win a new package of education and health care reforms.
Earlier this month, members of the Texas Legislature announced a new Early Childhood Caucus that will bring together lawmakers in the Texas House on a bipartisan basis to explore policy opportunities to better support the parents of young children, promote healthy child development, and improve kindergarten readiness, early literacy, and school success. The Caucus includes 32 founding members.
Vermont Allies Prevent Passage of Inequitable Paid Family Leave Bill, Fight for Improved Legislation
Allies at Voices for Vermont’s Children have been fighting for universal paid family and medical leave for years. Their fight continues as they successfully fought against an inequitable family leave bill in 2020 and are advocating for an improved plan in 2021.
Advocates in DC pivoted their 2020 goals to respond to the challenges of the pandemic. Despite obstacles, they preserved funding for early childhood services and secured additional funds to help struggling child care providers. They did this all through the work of a coalition formed specifically to advocate for early childhood funding.
Idaho Allies Get Two Big 2020 Wins for Home Visiting: Additional State Investment and Medicaid Coverage
Securing state funding to grow the reach and impact of home visiting programs was a top priority for Alliance for Early Success ally Idaho Voices for Children. Advocates working with the legislature have secured a third year of state funding for home visiting that not only doubled the state’s investment to $2 million, but directed the state to pursue billing Medicaid for home visiting services.
Michigan Allies Win New Executive Orders – and a $23-Million Investment – to Address Disparities in Maternal and Infant Health Outcomes
Our Allies in Michigan have been working hard to highlight racial disparities in maternal and infant health outcomes and to build urgency around the need to achieve birth equity. Last year, their work paid off with several crucial wins, including $23.5 million in funding for a comprehensive plan to address disparities and an executive order that requires health professionals to undergo implicit bias training.
After Two Years of Work in Missouri, Allies Win Executive Order to Merge State Offices Serving Youngest Children
Missouri’s governor has announced the formation of the Office of Childhood, and advocates around the state celebrated the move as a monumental step towards creating a comprehensive vision and program alignment of Missouri’s early childhood system.
Delaware Early Childhood Advocates Turn Planning and Persistent Advocacy into Governance Consolidation Wins
Years of work by early childhood advocates in Delaware continue to pay off in important structural changes in the way state agencies serve young children — including the recent creation of a new associate secretary position to oversee the Office of Early Learning.
Ohio Allies Launch Innovative Center for Family Voice as Part of Ongoing Work on Race and Rural Equity
Groundwork Ohio has announced plans to build a “center of excellence” dedicated to authentically engaging Ohio parents and families in the policies and practices that impact the healthy development of their children. The Center for Family Voice will explore best practices across the state and nation that successfully engage families in public services delivery to inform state, local, and programmatic policy development.
Oregon voters delivered big wins for early childhood issues on ballot measures in the 2020 election — including a a tax increase on tobacco that will provide the last piece in the puzzle in fully funding the expansion of Medicaid eligibility. Both of these victories highlight the power of creating a broad coalition for developing and campaigning for policies that benefit children.