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General Assembly Quietly Begins Final Year of 2021-22 Session 

This week the PA Senate is in session on the heels of a relatively quiet PA House session last week. What do you need to know about last week's House session? We have the answers. The House moved two education bills of interest to PPC, House Bill 2045 and Senate Bill 324. HB 2045 would offer voluntary professional development for early learning educators and K-12 teachers to use the 'Science of Reading' curriculum to increase student literacy. PPC will continue to monitor the bill as it progresses. SB 324, now heading to the governor's desk, provides a path for youth in foster care and those experiencing homelessness to maintain their educational track and graduate on schedule. PPC co-signed two letters supporting SB 324 and applauded its final passage.

Casting a shadow over the session proceedings are the legislative reapportionment maps (redistricting process) which the General Assembly is under a tight timeline to complete. This process is more contentious than the average bill cycle because the House and Governor Wolf need to agree on the drawing of the Congressional district maps. To add more pressure to the already complex process, the state will lose one Congressional House district, moving from 18 to 17 seats. Along a party-line vote last Wednesday, the House passed a bill to apportion Congressional districts, which is now in the Senate's hands. The maps redrawing the Senate and House districts were approved by the Legislative Reapportionment Commission back on December 16th and the Commission scheduled hearings to receive feedback during the 30-day public comment period. With the maps still not finalized and a February 15th date looming for candidates to begin circulating and filing nominating petitions, speculation is swirling on whether moving the May 17th Primary Election date will be necessary.

Both chambers return to session on Monday, January 24, and PPC will keep you apprised of legislation that affects children and families in Pennsylvania.


2021 Awardees of the Joan Benso Professional Development Fund  

In honor of PPC's former president and CEO, PPC's Board of Directors created a scholarship program, the Joan Benso Professional Development Fund, to support non-profit leaders in Pennsylvania's child-serving fields to enhance their management and leadership skills.

We are happy to announce the 2021 scholarship awardees – six individuals representing six organizations:

  • Carol Austin, Executive Director of First Up, will use the fund to complete several leadership certificate courses through Cornell University, including diversity and inclusion, psychology of leadership, and strategic human resources.
  • Jamie Baxter, Executive Director of Allies for Children, whose professional development opportunities will include seeking conflict resolution for staff and executive coaching through The Conflict Lab.
  • Jen DeBell, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Association for the Education of Young Children, whose professional development opportunity will utilize the Non-Profit Finance Toolkit for Leaders developed by the Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management.
  • Katie Lane, Policy Manager of Reach Out and Read, whose professional development opportunity will involve completing two leadership courses through the Penn Fels School of Government: Financial Management of Government and Nonprofits, and Leading Nonprofits.
  • Angela Liddle, President and CEO of the PA Family Support Alliance, will seek a Diversity and Inclusion Certificate from Cornell University, thanks to the fund.
  • And our own team at Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children will utilize unlimited access to enterprise training through Fred Pryor for professional development.

PPC thanks The Grable Foundation, The Heinz Endowments, and the William Penn Foundation for their generous support of this scholarship fund. The recipients are to utilize the funding during the 2022 calendar year.


New Board Directors Elected to PPC Board; Thanks to Members Cycling Off

At its final meeting of 2021, our Board of Directors elected the following individuals each to serve three-year terms beginning January 1, 2022:

  • Marge Angello - Market President, AmeriHealth Caritas Pennsylvania
  • Manal El Harrak - Chief Executive Officer, Sadler Health Center
  • Lucy Johnston Walsh - Assistant Professor of Law and Director, Children's Advocacy Clinic and Center on Children and the Law, Penn State Dickinson Law
  • Ellen Kyzer Smith - Director of Client and Community Relations, PNC Financial Services Group

We welcome these new members and look forward to working with them!

At the same meeting, Charlie Lyons, Partner with Shelly Lyons Public Affairs and Communications, and Jayson Wolfgang, Managing Shareholder, Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney PC, were re-elected to two-year terms as Chair and Vice Chair of the Board of Directors, respectively.

Finally, the following individuals cycled off the board and thus ended their volunteer service with PPC:

  • Mike Acker – Partner, Triad Strategies
  • Marion Alexander – retired, fundraising consultant
  • Jane Ervin – retired, former President and CEO of Community Services for Children, and former Lehigh County Executive
  • Tom Lamb - Senior Vice President, PNC Financial Services Group

We thank Mike, Marion, Jane, and Tom for their years of support and service to PPC and wish them well!


Report shows Pennsylvania should expect another undercount of young children in the 2020 Census


In Case You Missed It...

  • The long-awaited Family Support Programs Request for Applications (RFA) was released by the Office of Child Development and Early Learning last week. Questions about the RFA are due January 25th, and applications are due March 11th. The RFA will competitively rebid funds for evidence-based home visiting services in the state. PPC and its partners in the Childhood Begins at Home campaign are reviewing.
  • Last week, the Biden Administration again extended the Public Health Emergency declaration, now pushing it to April 16, 2022. Learn more about what this means for continued health care coverage in Medicaid in a blog from our partners at the Georgetown Center for Children and Families.
  • The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently made a finding that child welfare agencies may no longer conduct required home inspections solely on the mere say-so of an anonymous call to ChildLine. It further requires that there must be probable cause under the 4th Amendment.
  • Pennsylvania's education funding lawsuit resumed after the New Year with testimony from the William Penn School District and the School District of Philadelphia. 

Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children
200 North Third Street 13th Floor
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17101
(717) 236-5680

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