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Mapping Child Care in PA

Every child deserves an equal opportunity to a quality educational foundation that will prepare them to learn, grow, and succeed. Of the 200,730 children under the age of five living in families eligible for the Child Care Works (CCW) subsidy program, only 20% receive assistance to pay for child care, and only 44% are in high-quality child care.

Using our newly released interactive child care maps created for the Start Strong PA campaign, you can access data by:

These maps show the percentage of children under five participating in the Child Care Works subsidized child care program who are NOT receiving care in a high-quality program.

Using the online mapping tool, you can also access local data fact sheets that contain Start Strong PA’s budget ask—an increase of $115 million in sustainable state/federal funding for a wage supplement for teachers and staff. This investment will provide an increase of $2 per hour for child care professionals to retain the current workforce, reducing turnover which negatively impacts child development and results in classroom and program closures that disrupt families’ ability to work.


Home Visiting State and County Fact Sheets Available  

We’re a partner in the Childhood Begins at Home campaign working to increase access to evidence-based home visiting services and are happy to announce that the state and county fact sheets are available showing the unmet need for 2022.  

As part of the final state budget, the campaign urges policymakers to provide an additional 3,800 pregnant women, young children, and their families with evidence-based home visiting services by increasing the Community-Based Family Center line item by $15 million. Childhood Begins at Home also encourages increasing the Nurse-Family Partnership line item by $1.2 million to serve 200 more families.

Learn more by watching the Home Visiting Works video


Expanding Medicaid Postpartum Coverage Starting April 1st 

Each year in Pennsylvania, approximately 10,000 women and birthing individuals who use Medicaid for their health insurance during pregnancy lose coverage 60 days after their baby is born. Research shows that a lack of consistent and comprehensive health insurance during the postpartum period can negatively affect the health of a mother and her baby.

Under the American Rescue Plan Act, states have the option to expand health care access for pregnant women enrolled in Medicaid from the current 60 days to 12 months following the birth of their baby, beginning April 1st.

PPC and our Thriving PA campaign partners were pleased that DHS announced plans to promote good health and perinatal health equity by taking up this option to provide continuity of care during a crucial health period for moms and their babies.

The next step for Pennsylvania to expand to full-year postpartum coverage is for DHS to formally submit paperwork—called a state plan amendment (SPA)—to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for approval. Our understanding is that DHS intends to use a retroactive April 1st starting date. Another critical factor for implementation is funding in Governor Wolf’s 2022-23 state budget proposal, which is supported by Thriving PA.

And while we wait for DHS to submit the paperwork, fortunately, individuals eligible for pregnancy Medicaid do not have to wait for continuous health coverage—at least temporarily while the public health emergency is in place.

Thanks to federal action taken early on during the pandemic, all individuals are continuously enrolled in Medicaid during the PHE with few exceptions. But we know that won’t last indefinitely, and time is ticking.

PPC and our stakeholder partners are urging DHS to not further delay submitting the SPA for federal approval so Pennsylvania can become the next state offering continuous full-year Medicaid coverage for new moms to improve their health and well-being and save lives.


PPC Priority Child Welfare Legislation Gains Momentum as Activity Picks Up in Harrisburg

After a quiet stretch last week with just the state Senate in session, a flurry of activity is occurring in both chambers in Harrisburg this week and PPC is tracking it all.

Of particular note for our policy priorities, on Monday the House Children and Youth Committee unanimously voted out HB 1866 which would improve permanency practices for transition age youth in the foster care system. The bill now heads to the House floor for consideration. On the same meeting agenda, HB 1731 and HB 2214 were also approved. HB 1731 would establish the Pennsylvania Advisory Committee on Greater Father Involvement within the Joint State Government Commission while HB 2214 addresses indemnification language in government contracts for private child welfare service providers.

A fourth bill originally scheduled for a vote, HB 2400, was removed from consideration for the committee meeting pending further amendatory language. The bill prescribes how child care facilities can publicly display their Keystone STAR level (which is already largely done) but would also allow providers to use work experience in lieu of formal education credentials to move up a Keystone STAR-level. PPC and other early care and education groups voiced concern over this specific provision and its impact on the practice and perception of high-quality early education.

Also on the child welfare front, the Senate Appropriations Committee advanced SB 871 which, among other things, would address expungement timeframes, amend the definition of child abuse to include cooking meth in front of a child, clarify the process of founded reports after completion of ARD, and streamline the child fatality/near fatality review process. PPC sent a memo in support of specific elements of the bill including fully eliminating any retention timeframes to provide for as much consistency and clarity as possible in statute.

Switching to K-12 education, PPC joined with other advocacy groups to oppose HB 2169, the Lifeline Scholarship Program, or the latest iteration of voucher legislation to come from the General Assembly. The bill went through second consideration on the House floor and will likely see a final vote imminently.

In child care-related news, the Senate Health and Human Services Committee advanced SB 749 which would promote workplace safety and clarify Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana law for employers and employees, including in child care facilities. Last year PPC joined the PA Chamber of Business and Industry in a letter supporting the bill, which is now being recirculated as the legislation continues to advance.  

Other legislation that PPC continues to closely monitor that has seen momentum include:

  • HB 972 / SB 1191 – HB 972, dubbed the “Protect Women’s Sports Act,” aims to prevent transgender individuals from competing in sports in the sex in which they identify. The bill has been voted out of the House Education Committee on a party-line vote and received second consideration on the House floor this week. A final vote is expected imminently. Similarly, in the Senate, SB 1191, which would accomplish the same intent, was voted out of the Senate Education Committee on Monday.
  • SB 1121 – This legislation would check wage benefit records at the Department of Revenue against both Medicaid and SNAP recipient lists in the Department of Human Services. Given the 60-day implementation timeframe, PPC is monitoring the bill’s progress as it relates to the ongoing conversations with the Wolf administration with the unwind of the public health emergency.
  • SB 358 – Was reported unanimously from the Senate Appropriations Committee last week and is now on the Senate calendar awaiting a vote. The bill would amend the Maternal Mortality Review Act to categorize maternal deaths and severe maternal morbidity complications as reportable events to the Department of Health. PPC submitted a memo of support for the bill.

The House of Representatives is back in session again the week of April 25th, but then both chambers are not back in the capitol building until after the Primary Election date of May 17th – at which time it will be full speed ahead on completing the state’s annual budget before the June 30th deadline. Stay tuned for more updates in the coming weeks.


Biden’s Budget Proposal Seeks Compromises While Prioritizing Education

President Biden recently released his FY 2023 budget proposal, a blueprint of the president’s priorities for the coming year. This year’s proposal is pared down due to the election cycle and does not contain various elements that were in the Build Back Better plan like universal pre-k and paid family leave.

What is included? K-12 education would receive a significant increase, with Title I funding doubled from $18.2 billion to $36.5 billion; this increase includes $1 billion for mental health services, $514 million to combat the national teacher shortage, and $20 million for CTE state grants.

For early childhood education, the proposal includes a $1.3 billion increase for the Child Care Development Block Grant and a $1.1 billion increase for Head Start and Early Head Start. The proposal consists of a $450 million increase for the Preschool Development Grant.

Maternal and child health initiatives also receive a funding boost in the proposal: $470 million to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity rates and reauthorize and increase funding for the Maternal, Infant, Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program. IDEA Part C funding is nearly doubled in the proposal for infant and toddler Early Intervention services. The plan includes $6 billion for the WIC program and an extension of the increased Cash Value Benefit through FY 2023. There is a $40 million increase for state and local governments to reduce lead-based paint in homes of low-income families with young children, $25 million to address lead-based paint in public housing, and a $1 billion increase to address lead in drinking water.

Also highlighted in the proposal is funding for child welfare programs. Through the Promoting Safe and Stable Families program, flexible funding for states is nearly doubled to expand access to legal representation in the child welfare system. The budget increases mandatory funding through the Chafee Program for Successful Transition to Adulthood by 70% to better support youth who age out of foster care. It invests in two new sets of child welfare competitive grants for states and localities, including grants to address longstanding racial inequities in the child welfare system and grants to improve the educational outcomes of youth in foster care.

Due to the current political climate and upcoming midterm elections, where Democrats could lose the House and possibly the Senate, there is little hope of a bipartisan budget bill passing before September 30th. Expect Continuing Resolutions to fund the federal government for the near future, with one or two bills passed via the resolution process before midterm elections in November.


In Case You Missed It...

  • On April 1st, PPC joined the Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance to support the start of the National Child Abuse Prevention Month and acknowledge the over 32,000 children suspected of being victims of child abuse and neglect in 2020.
  • The Wolf Administration outlined an ambitious regulatory rewrite to address several agenda items that have been unsuccessful in legislative agendas. Regulations relative to PPC’s policy agenda include child welfare and WIC, among others. 
  • Please help us celebrate Black Maternal Health Week! Join our friends at the Maternity Care Coalition for a virtual discussion on the importance of direct service workers and community-driven solutions for Black birthing people and their families this Thursday at 11 am.
  • DHS is urging Pennsylvanians receiving Medicaid to update contact information and enroll in text alerts as they prepare for the eventual end of the federal public health emergency. WHYY recently ran a story, “Pennsylvanians on Medicaid risk losing health coverage when COVID emergency ends.” Learn more about the risk of children becoming uninsured, featuring PPC’s VP of Public Policy Becky Ludwick, during an upcoming NCIT webinar on April 21st.

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

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