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Governor, Policymakers, and Advocates Come Together in Allentown to Mark Pre-K Counts Expansion 

As a proud member of the Pre-K for PA campaign, PPC participated in an event last Friday with Gov. Wolf, state Sen. Browne, and state Reps. McNeill, Schlossberg, and Schweyer at the Children’s Center/Volunteers of America in Allentown to mark the $79 million increase to state-funded pre-k programs in this year’s budget. The governor spent time with children attending the center’s pre-k program before discussing the importance of pre-k programs with leaders in the community and the media. “When we ensure that high-quality early learning programs are available for children, we are making a direct investment in our communities and our commonwealth’s economy. At a time of record inflation and families feeling the pinch of soaring costs for childcare, these investments are even more critically important,” said Wolf.

Kari King, President and CEO of PPC, spoke at the event about ensuring every eligible 3-and 4-year-old has access to high-quality pre-k, beginning with those most in need. “Bipartisan support for pre-k shows that policymakers understand these programs’ value and efficacy. A recent academic study of Pennsylvania Pre-K Counts showed enrolled children outperformed their kindergarten peers who did not have access. It’s clear that high-quality, publicly funded pre-k pays dividends and is a smart return on investment.”

This year’s funding increase means 2,300 additional children can attend high-quality, publicly funded pre-k programs in the upcoming school year and provides higher rates to providers to help cover the cost of care.

View additional coverage of the event from WFMZ and WLVR.


September 30th Deadline Looms in Congress for Federal MIECHV Reauthorization

The clock is ticking until program and funding authorization ends for MIECHV with the 2022 federal fiscal year. MIECHV, which provides federal funding to states for evidence-based home visiting programs, must be reauthorized by Congress every 5 years. The program lapsed during its last reauthorization in 2017, which was not secured until February 2018, causing months of uncertainty for families, home visitors, and their models. Despite our best advocacy efforts with partners and federal policymakers, including Sen. Casey, Rep. Evans, and Rep. Smucker, the lack of bill text and agreement between the House and Senate has made an on-time reauthorization appear unlikely to materialize within the next few weeks.

A strong reauthorization plan for MIECHV needs a funding increase of $200 million each year over 5 years for a total appropriation of $1.4 billion. Since its enactment in 2010, MIECHV has yet to receive additional funding and has been impacted by federal sequestration, meaning many states are receiving less federal support than they were over a decade ago.

In recent developments, the House Ways and Means Committee has agreed on reauthorization, but the Senate Finance Committee and other legislative leaders have not reached a final consensus. Federal home visiting advocates are working with Senate leadership to include stopgap funding for MIECHV in a continuing resolution until an omnibus budget package can be passed at the end of the year. Congress is working in September to finalize a spending package that can be passed through both chambers and signed by President Biden.

Stay tuned for further updates as the September 30th MIECHV deadline approaches.


September is Kinship Care Month 

Kinship caregivers are aunts, uncles, grandparents, and other natural supports who step up to care for children and youth who cannot safely remain in their biological homes. Kin can become a caregiver when a child is placed in the child welfare system due to abuse or neglect and take children into their homes to avoid formal system intervention.

September is a time to recognize the importance of kin and their support to children, youth, and their families. In 2021, over 20,000 children and youth were placed in the foster care system, with 42% residing with kin. We’re releasing our annual State of Child Welfare report later this month that, among other essential policy recommendations, data, and research findings, will highlight the importance of placing children with kin- or someone they know, trust, and with whom they have a relationship.

See our report, Kinship Care in Pennsylvania: Creating an Equitable System for Families, for policy solutions on eliminating barriers to kinship caregiving so that every child in the foster care system can be connected to kin.


In Case You Missed It...

  • A PennLive story announcing free breakfasts starting October 1 for all school children quoted Kari King saying the initiative is a great first step in addressing student hunger and hopes it will entice policymakers to expand it to include universal free lunch, as the antiquated system of application and eligibility for free or reduced school lunch often leaves too many students behind. Gov. Wolf’s plan to offer free breakfast is funded by state and federal funds left over in last year’s school food services budget.
  • According to an examination of the National Center for Education Statistics, math and reading scores for 9-year-olds had a sharp decline during the pandemic.
  • The Wolf Administration Encourages Pennsylvanians to Make Immunization Part of Back-To-School Planning by reminding families to keep their children up to date on vaccinations to protect against diseases such as chicken pox, meningitis, measles, and whooping cough before heading into the new school year.
  • The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released its proposed rule on the Child Core Set of Health Care Quality Measures in Medicaid and CHIP. For the first time, the regulation would require states to implement the mandatory annual reporting of the child core set in 2024; Pennsylvania currently reports 22 of 24 health care quality measures provided to Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries.
  • A new report discusses the projected number of individuals at risk of losing coverage due to procedural reasons at the end of the public health emergency. Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families analysis of the report finds children at the greatest risk of losing coverage, with nearly 3 out of every 4 children projected to be disenrolled from Medicaid, despite still being eligible.
  • Listen to Advances in Supporting Kinship Caregivers - Part 1 from Child Welfare Information Gateway, featuring the successful kinship navigator program in Rhode Island.

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

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