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PPC Advocates for MIECHV Reauthorization in Washington

PPC President and CEO Kari King and Government Affairs Director Kati Brillhart recently met with our congressional delegation in Washington to discuss the need for the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program's reauthorization, which is needed by September 30th. They met with members of the delegation on the House Ways and Means Committee, including Congressmen Brendan Boyle, Dwight Evans, and Lloyd Smucker, as well as Sen. Bob Casey. The House Ways and Means Committee oversees the program in the House, while in the Senate, the Finance Committee, on which Sen. Casey sits, has jurisdiction.  

PPC and our partners in the National Home Visiting Coalition have advocated for MIECHV reauthorization with a funding increase of $200 million every year for five years, bringing its appropriation to a funding level of $1.4 billion. With a current allocation of $400 million, the MIECHV program has been flat-funded since its inception. It has also been negatively affected by sequestration, so its actual funding level is lower. Pennsylvania's share of MIECHV funding has shrunk from $16.3 million to $11.8 million annually from the federal government.  

It is rare in Congress for "stand-alone" legislation or bills that only address a single issue to be passed into law. However, it is still worrisome that reauthorizing legislation for the MIECHV program has yet to be introduced in either the House or Senate, with less than 60 days before the program expires. Despite reassurances that MIECHV reauthorization language could be easily added to a moving bill with an amendment, the possibility of a program and funding lapse becomes nearer and nearer as the clock winds down. This is similar to what occurred the last time the program was up for reauthorization in 2017, when it lapsed (along with many other federal programs, including CHIP) and was not reauthorized until February 2018.  

PPC is hopeful that continuing discussions between the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee on health care-related spending could incorporate MIECHV reauthorization. Stay tuned for additional updates as we approach the September 30th deadline. 


CHIP Turns 25…Looking Back and Moving Forward 

On August 5th, the Children's Health Insurance Program will celebrate its 25th anniversary at the federal level. We have even more reason to mark the noteworthy occasion in Pennsylvania since our state CHIP program helped shape the federal version passed in 1997. (For those keeping track, we'll celebrate our milestone of 30 years of Pennsylvania CHIP later this year!) 

CHIP was created through a bipartisan commitment to help fill a gap, specifically for families who couldn't afford to pay for private health insurance yet didn't qualify for Medicaid. And for the past few decades, CHIP has connected kids to free or affordable, comprehensive health insurance and made a clear impact on reducing the child uninsured rate. 

Yet, at least one big programmatic hurdle remains: CHIP has to be renewed by Congress to prevent its expiration—the next juncture is 2027.  

The success of CHIP has prompted many supporters and advocates alike, including PPC, to call for making CHIP funding permanent to ensure stability for the hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvania children and millions across the country who rely on this program for their health coverage. Ensuring children have access to doctor and dentist visits, prescriptions, immunizations, hospital visits, and more is a building block necessary for their healthy development. 

While in Washington, PPC also encouraged multiple health provisions to be in the next reconciliation package, and you can read our letter urging the delegation to support CHIP permanency and other essential health initiatives, such as extending the tax credits for affordable health insurance through the marketplace and making the Medicaid postpartum extension option permanent. An agreement between Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Majority Leader Schumer was struck last week on a reconciliation bill called the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. The current iteration of the bill contains provisions allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices and extends health care premiums but does not address other children’s health care issues defined above. 


Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts Celebrates 15th Anniversary!

The Pre-K for PA campaign is celebrating the 15th anniversary of Pennsylvania's Pre-K Counts program. Founded in 2007 under former Governor Rendell, PKC provides 3- and 4-year-olds with access to high-quality, publicly funded pre-kindergarten and ensures our young children enter school ready to succeed. The program is for families earning up to 300% of the Federal Poverty Level and children with an increased risk of barriers due to community factors, academic difficulties, or economic disadvantages. Currently, the program serves 27,000 children across the state at over 900 high-quality early learning providers.  

Over the last 15 years, policymakers have worked bipartisanly to increase program investments to more than $300 million. This includes the $60 million increase in this year's 2022-23 budget—the largest in its history following its initial appropriation in 2007. Appropriations for the program are not mandated and are purely state-supported, making the program investments each year more commendable.  

The Pre-K for PA campaign continues to advocate for increased investments each year to ensure all 3- and 4-year-old children have the opportunity to attend high-quality pre-k. We are thankful for the support from policymakers for prioritizing funding for pre-k education and are looking forward to another 15 years of building this program!  


In Case You Missed It...

  • OCYF's 2021 Annual Child Abuse Report is available. It outlines mandated reporting trends and child protective and general protective services reports and outcomes.  
  • A new report from Georgetown University's Center for Children and Families highlights how the Medicaid postpartum coverage extension from 60 days to a full year can support maternal and child health. Pennsylvania is one of 34 states (as of July 2022) that has implemented or is planning to implement the option for 12 months of coverage. 
  • Child care providers can now complete the 2022 Child Care Market Rate Survey either through a paper or online option. Details were mailed by OCDEL to each licensed child care provider this month. The results will help inform future child care programming and policies and set reimbursement rates for providers for the Child Care Works program.  
  • In April, the Office of Head Start announced a rule change that allows families enrolled in SNAP to automatically qualify for Head Start and Early Head Start. Learn more from the National Head Start Association how this change will better impact families, and check out its implementation toolkit
  • The Philadelphia Inquirer's latest chapter of its series A More Perfect Union, a special project looking at systemic racism through institutions founded in the city, dives into the maternal mortality crisis, juxtaposing it with its history of having the nation's first hospital and medical school. When the Water Breaks examines medical practices from the 1800s to today, showing unequal treatment received by Black people persists and making them nearly three times more likely than white people to die of maternal morbidity. 
  • PPC joined other state and national child welfare organizations to advocate for non-discrimination protections for LGBTQI+ children and youth in foster care, including requiring critical data collection for this population.  
  • A joint bulletin from several DHS offices, "Referring Children to the County Intellectual Disability and Autism Programs," offers guidance on referring a child who is suspected of having an intellectual disability, developmental disability, or autism. 

KIDS COUNT® Data Center Indicators

Check out our data webpage to access updates to several new indicators within the Pennsylvania KIDS COUNT® Data Center: Early Intervention & School Lunch (under Education), Public Assistance (under Economic Well-Being), and Insurance (under Health). They include research-based context supporting how this data is vital to tracking the well-being of children and are under the "Why This Indicator Matters" section for each indicator.


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

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