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Our Policy Roadmap for the Next Two Years

In December, our Board of Directors approved our biennial policy roadmap that aligns with our organizational mission to improve the health, education and well-being of children and youth in the commonwealth.

Learn more about our five policy areas, including data points, policy priorities, and legislative or other significant actions:    

  • Child Welfare: Ensure each child in Pennsylvania lives in a home where they are safe and protected from abuse and neglect.
  • Early Care and Education: Ensure each child in Pennsylvania can participate in affordable and accessible high-quality early care and education, including infant and toddler child care and pre-kindergarten education.
  • Home Visiting: Ensure each child in Pennsylvania can grow up in a stable and healthy home environment.
  • K-12 Education: Ensure each child in Pennsylvania has the opportunity for an adequate and equitable high-quality public education.
  • Perinatal and Child Health: Ensure each birthing person and child in Pennsylvania can access affordable, quality health care.  

PPC is committed to policy choices that improve maternal and child well-being, advance racial equity and support economically disadvantaged families.

Our work to advance equitable policy solutions is critical in our long-term vision because we can't achieve our goals if any child is left behind.

Explore the policies we work on to build better futures within the 2023-24 Policy Roadmap.

Also new this year is our revamped State of the Child, which serves as a data companion to the roadmap. View a variety of data points pertaining to Pennsylvania’s children and their well-being


Federal 2023 Budget Puts Kids and Families First

In late December, President Biden signed a sprawling appropriations package (HR 2617) which sets the federal budget for Fiscal Year 2023. Many elements of the omnibus budget prioritized kids and families including reauthorizing the MIECHV program, increasing child care funding, and enhancing CHIP and Medicaid programs across the country.

The omnibus contained language from the Jackie Walorski Maternal and Child Home Visiting Reauthorization Act of 2022, which passed the House in November and included:

  1. Reauthorization of the MIECHV program through 2027
  2. An initial increase in funding of $100 million, bringing the program's full appropriation to $500 million
  3. Subsequent funding increases of $50 million annually (except for a $150 million increase in 2027)
  4. Establishing a publicly available dashboard that reports program outcomes
  5. Requiring activities to reduce unnecessary data collection, reporting, and other administrative requirements of the program
  6. Allowing for virtual home visits

In a victory for the child care sector, the budget contained a 30.1% increase for the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) to over $8 billion. Pennsylvania will get about $56.3 million more in 2023 compared to 2022. It also contained increases for Head Start and the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA).

The omnibus also contained multiple provisions related to Medicaid and CHIP. First, it delinked the Medicaid continuous coverage requirement from the COVID-19 public health emergency and set the gradual decrease of the federal match for Medicaid to begin on March 31, 2023. In an exciting win for advocates, the law now requires all states to provide 12 months of continuous eligibility for children in both Medicaid and CHIP (previously only available for children up to age 4 in Medicaid, but all children in CHIP). Funding and authorization for the CHIP program extended two years to 2029, and the 12-month postpartum coverage option for CHIP and Medicaid was made permanent (this provision was initially supposed to sunset after five years). If you'd like to read more about the health care provisions of the omnibus, please check out SayAhhh!, the blog by our partners at the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families.


Chaos Reigns in State House as Senate Moves Constitutional Amendments 

In an unprecedented series of events this month, the state House elected a consensus candidate as Speaker, struggled through a special session day, and has since been in limbo. The question of which party holds the majority is still unanswered. Democrats won 102 seats in the 203-seat chamber in November but after the passing of Rep. Anthony DeLuca and the moves to higher office by Reps. Austin Davis and Summer Lee, the Republicans have held a technical majority in the lower chamber. Partisan gridlock appeared to ease on swearing-in day when Rep. Mark Rozzi, a Democrat from Berks County, was nominated as Speaker by a Republican colleague. Rozzi won the role of Speaker by a vote of 115-85, with Republican leadership joining a united Democratic caucus in support. Speaker Rozzi announced that he would be an Independent Speaker; however, he did not verify if that meant he would change his voter registration and Democratic affiliation.

Speaker Rozzi has long been focused on passing a constitutional amendment that would allow adult victims of child sexual abuse a 2-year window to sue their abusers and the institutions that covered up the crime. Constitutional amendments must be passed in consecutive legislative sessions and then placed on the ballot for consideration by the citizens of Pennsylvania. Last week, Governor Wolf called for a special session of the House and Senate to pass the child sexual abuse amendment. The first day of this special session was marred by confusion as there was no agreement made between party leaders on the House rules. A bipartisan group of House members was chosen by Speaker Rozzi to create proposed House rules that can receive majority support. This group includes Republican Reps. Jason Ortitay, Paul Schemel, Valerie Gaydos, and Democratic Reps. Pete Schweyer, Morgan Cephas, and Tim Briggs.

Special elections for the three vacant districts will be held on February 7th, 2023. Unless an agreement can be reached on both rules and the constitutional amendment conundrum, the House may not see regular order until after the special election results are certified and the new members are sworn in.

In comparison, the state Senate, which has maintained its Republican majority, has been working in regular order this month. President Pro Tempore Kim Ward gaveled into the required special session called by Gov. Wolf before quickly adjourning to regular order. First on the list was passing an omnibus constitutional amendments package. This package contained language to create a statute of limitations hold, stricter voter ID laws, and changes making it easier for the legislature to override regulatory changes. Senate Republicans have been vocal about not passing a single-subject amendment to address the child sex abuse issue, and Speaker Rozzi has remained committed to only passing the statute of limitations reform.

In the midst of the uncertainty, one date to note is Tuesday, March 7th – the day Governor Shapiro will release his first budget proposal for the 2023-24 fiscal year. Typically held in early February, the date is pushed back a month given the gubernatorial transition.


Kids Count Data Center Update 

Check out our data webpage to access recent Pennsylvania KIDS COUNT® Data Center updates! We have updated information from various sources across the Economic Well-Being, Education & Health categories, including data from the American Community Survey, Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates, and Pennsylvania Departments of Education, Health and Labor & Industry.


Data Did You Know?


In Case You Missed It...

  • OCDEL recently announced the receipt of a three-year Preschool Development Birth Through Five Renewal Grant (PDG-R) totaling $16 million. The funds are intended to provide an updated needs assessment, marketing materials in other languages to support compulsory school attendance, additional early childhood mental health supports for families and staff, and more.
  • Over the last few weeks, Josh Shapiro has nominated several officials to fill out his cabinet. Notable nominations include former Montgomery County Commissioner Dr. Valerie Arkoosh as Secretary of Human Services; Dr. Debra Bogen, former Director of the Allegheny County Health Department, as Secretary of Health; Khalid Mumin, former superintendent for the Lower Merion School District as Secretary of Education; current Acting Insurance Commissioner Mike Humphreys in the same role; and former State Senator Pat Browne as Secretary of Revenue. Governor Shapiro's latest nominations continue his trend of selecting diverse and geographically varied candidates from all sides of the political spectrum. All cabinet secretaries require confirmation from the state Senate, which is expected to schedule hearings through late winter and spring.
  • While the state House has yet to name committee chairs or members, the Senate made some noteworthy announcements: Senator Judy Ward is Aging and Youth Chair, Senator Scott Martin is Appropriations Chair, Senator Dave Argall is Education Chair, and Senator Michelle Brooks is Health and Human Services Chair. See the full Senate list.
  • Two bills we championed in the last legislative session, Act 118 of 2022 (House Bill 1866) and Act 150 of 2022  (Senate Bill 522), have taken effect in the new year after being signed into law by Governor Tom Wolf. The original sponsor of Senate Bill 522, Senator Lisa Baker, stated her intent to reintroduce legislation in the new session requiring universal lead testing.
  • A new study in the Early Childhood Education Journal examines Early Childhood Educators training, experience, and preparedness to address challenging behaviors and support child mental health, and identify what factors contribute to their own mental health, stress, and burnout.

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

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