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Budget Negotiations Continue Towards June 30th Deadline

House and Senate leadership have been working behind the scenes to craft a state budget that will receive majority support and a signature from Gov. Tom Wolf in his final year in office. Two general budget bills are currently moving: HB 2652 by outgoing Republican House Appropriations Chairman Stan Saylor (R-York) and SB 1100 by outgoing Republican Senate Appropriations Chairman Pat Browne (R-Lehigh). After an agreement is reached, the final budget numbers will be loaded into the legislation and brought up for a vote by the House and Senate.

State legislators are meanwhile working on other pieces of important legislation while the budget process continues. Last week SB 967 by Sen. Judy Ward (D-Berks) passed the Senate; this bill would create the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) state advisory board, which PPC supports. SB 522 by Sen. Lisa Baker (R-Luzerne) also passed the Senate, which would create a universal lead screening mandate for infants and pregnant women. HB 2646 by Rep. Meghan Schroeder (R-Bucks), which would streamline the process for out-of-state Career & Technical educators to be licensed to teach in the state, has also been moving.

Rep. Curt Sonney’s (R-Erie) Concurrent Regulatory Review Resolution disapproving Gov. Wolf’s Charter and Cyber Charter School regulations is moving quickly—PPC supported the regulations as they moved through the process. A disapproval resolution will eventually allow legislative leadership to take legal action to stop the regulations from being implemented. This week, the Senate Education Committee will take up HB 2169, which would create a voucher system for students in the bottom 15% of poor-performing schools, along with bills addressing adult education, student mental health, and Pennsylvania’s version of Florida’s “don’t say gay” bill.

As we do every year, PPC will release a budget chart with funding information on K-12 education, early care and education, child welfare, and children and perinatal health funding when the budget passes finally. Be on the lookout for our special budget edition of A Voice for Kids!


Home Visiting, Perinatal, and Children’s Health Stakeholder Groups Rally at the Capitol 

The Childhood Begins at Home campaign has been actively engaging the General Assembly to ensure an adequate funding increase is included in this year’s state budget. Governor Wolf proposed a $15 million state increase for the Community-Based Family Center line in his 2022 budget address, a much-needed funding boost after two years of stagnant budgets. The recently announced awards from the competitive bidding process for home visiting funds has made the need for the full $15 million increase in the Community-Based Family Center line more critical. Multiple existing home visiting programs were granted conditional awards that make service continuity contingent upon the passage of the entire proposed $15 million increase.

Two of our campaign partners recently rallied at the Capitol to support children and perinatal health and early care and education budget increases. On June 8th, the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (PA-AAP) called on legislators to act on three issues affecting pediatric practices and patients. The included investments in early childhood education, an increased timeframe for Medicaid redeterminations at the end of the Public Health Emergency, and prior authorization reform. A Nurse-Family Partnership home visitor and family joined the PA-AAP advocates and called on lawmakers to address the above priorities to improve the futures of Pennsylvania’s children.

Pennsylvania’s Parents as Teachers (PAT) home visiting model celebrated its 30th anniversary on June 15th with a rally on the Capitol steps. Speakers at the rally included PAT families, home visitors, administrators, representatives from the Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL), Rep. Kyle Mullins (D-Lackawanna), and PPC President & CEO Kari King. King concluded the press conference by calling on the advocates at the rally to urge their legislators to pass the $15 million increase in the Community-Based Family Center line item.


PPC and PennAEYC Release Early Intervention Part C Report

After a year-long planning project co-lead by PPC and the Pennsylvania Association for the Education of Young Children (PennAEYC), we are pleased to release a comprehensive report, Statewide Advocacy Agenda to Improve Part C Early Intervention Services for Pennsylvania. The report is a culmination of months of interviews and focus groups with interested stakeholders, a national analysis of early intervention work in other states, and a review of data and current practices in Pennsylvania’s system.

There are five core recommendations as a result of this work:

  1. Serving all children who can benefit from Part C EI through outreach, referral, enrollment
  2. Ensuring Part C EI services offer the quality needed to make a difference
  3. Achieving equitable access in Part C EI
  4. Addressing mental health needs of infants and toddlers in Part C EI
  5. Partnering with Medicaid to improve Part C EI

Next, we will launch the advocacy component of this work with the broader prenatal-to-five coalition, Early Learning PA. The report will help educate gubernatorial candidates through the administration transition process and inform state policymakers. Stay tuned for more updates as our early intervention work progresses!


Source: EI Impact dashboard


In Case You Missed It...

  • A Medical Assistance bulletin from DHS has everything providers need to know about its recent adoption of the CDC’s recommended Blood Lead Reference Value to 3.5 mcg/dL.
  • The Health Resources and Services administration launched a National Maternal Mental Health Hotline that is available 24/7 and will provide free, confidential support for pregnant and postpartum individuals facing mental health challenges: 1-833-9-HELP4MOMS (1-833-943-5746).
  • Last week in Washington, a bipartisan group of senators reached a preliminary deal on framework legislation to address gun violence. The legislation still must be written and advance through the legislative process; advocates are pushing legislators to pass the legislation before the July 4th recess. Democratic lawmakers in Pennsylvania have also recently attempted to force a vote on gun control legislation; however, their procedural push to utilize a discharge petition failed when Republican leadership moved multiple gun control bills out of the House Judiciary Committee.
  • See the Capital-Star for an article by Pittsburgh Institute for Nonprofit Journalism about tutoring to address alarmingly low math proficiency rates for Black students in the Pittsburgh area. Five elementary schools in the city had math proficiency rates among Black students at 0% for the 2021 PSSAs.
  • Save the date for the Paving the Way for Educational Success Conference! The conference aims to deepen knowledge, enhance best practices, and share innovative solutions for working with students experiencing homelessness and students in foster care.
  • A new report from Child Trends focuses on the importance of alignment between the child welfare and early childhood education systems and recommends better collaboration and coordination across systems to serve children and families better. 
  • Georgetown Center for Children and Families writes about broad coalition efforts to connect young children to COVID vaccines. This comes as the FDA and CDC have just approved vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna for children aged 6 months to 5 years. Vaccines could be distributed as early as this week.
  • While Juneteenth (June 19th)—celebrating the end of slavery in the U.S.—has passed, there’s still time to learn more about the holiday and its meaning. NPR’s special series includes historical timelines, poetry, music, and a reading of the emancipation proclamation.

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

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