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Pre-K Fact Sheets & Mapping Available

We create interactive maps for the Pre-K for PA campaign each year, and the 2023 maps and fact sheets are now available.  

The maps show the unmet need for high-quality, publicly funded pre-k and high-quality pre-k locations receiving public funds and eligible provider locations not yet receiving Pre-K Counts funding or not yet serving eligible preschool-age children through Child Care Works. From the mapping application, you can print statewide and county fact sheets. PPC typically can produce fact sheets at the legislative district level, but these are unavailable for 2023 due to delayed census data and redistricting effective this year. 


Medicaid & CHIP Helped Improve PA's Child Uninsured Rate During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Children in every community in Pennsylvania rely on Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program for their comprehensive health insurance, including more than 1.3 million children enrolled in Medicaid and more than 130,000 children enrolled in CHIP. 

Medicaid and CHIP helped improve the state's child uninsured rate during the COVID-19 pandemic. The three fact sheets in this series show enrollment by Congressional, state House, and state Senate districts: 

Our last two newsletters covered the Medicaid unwinding and significant operational changes to CHIP. We encourage you to share Katie Meyer's in-depth coverage about reenrolling in Medicaid and ensuring that CHIP or other health care options cover kids.  


Budget Hearings Wrap Up with Health, DHS 

The House and Senate Appropriations Committee budget hearings ended last week after marathon questioning sessions with DHS, DOH, and the Governor's Budget Office. DHS staff testified before the House on Tuesday, April 11th, and before the Senate on Wednesday, April 12th. Both hearings featured robust discussions on health care, child care, public health insurance, pharmacy issues, and food insecurity. Acting DHS Secretary Val Arkoosh defended Gov. Shapiro's first budget proposal for DHS: $19.6 billion, representing a 5.5% increase over 2022-23.  

During the House budget hearing, Rep. Justin Fleming asked about the impact of workforce shortages on Early Intervention services and sustaining rates for providers achieved with federal stimulus funding. Sec. Arkoosh noted OCDEL is currently selecting a vendor to complete an EI Part C rate study and confirmed part of the proposed $20.2 million increase would sustain the rate increase. Rep. La'Tasha Mayes acknowledged the start of Black Maternal Health Week and asked what DHS is doing to support doula care services provided through Medicaid. Sec. Arkoosh said DHS is working with the Pennsylvania Doula Commission on certification requirements; she also acknowledged the importance of the 12-month postpartum extension for Medicaid made permanent by last year's federal omnibus budget bill.  

Rep. Kyle Mullins asked what DHS has done to help child care providers attract and retain staff. Sec. Arkoosh agreed that the child care workforce is underpaid at an average hourly wage of $12 and cited the three rate increases for the Child Care Works program since 2021, which keeps providers at a reimbursement rate of 60% of the private pay rate. This was also initially achieved through federal stimulus funds, with the $66.7 million in the proposed budget sustaining it with recurring state funding. Rep. Eric Nelson also focused on child care, specifically the "child care cliff," by asking if the $25 million increase in last year's budget helped families. DHS Budget Director Gloria Gilligan said 607 families have benefitted from the program's extended eligibility and the budget includes money to continue to fund the program in 2023-24.  

The Senate budget hearing with DHS also featured many questions on child care. Sen. Judy Schwank expressed her gratitude for the proposed $66.7 million increase for child care but said she was concerned with the number of child care providers utilizing SNAP and Medicaid. Sen. Ward raised concerns about the proposed regulatory changes for the Keystone STARS program regarding payments. OCDEL Deputy Secretary Shante' Browne clarified that child care certification regulations are currently only in draft form and will be available to review after they are distributed publicly at the end of the year.  

Shifting to health care, Sen. Tracy Pennycuick asked about the proposed increase in funding for CHIP arrearages. Sec. Arkoosh explained that increased funding is needed because if CHIP premiums go unpaid, children can be disenrolled from the program. Families could potentially face large bills from CHIP insurers seeking to recoup funds from denied claims. Multiple senators asked about the redetermination period for Medical Assistance. Sec. Arkoosh described the process DHS will use during the 12-month redetermination period and emphasized the importance of keeping eligible people enrolled in Medicaid. 

The Senate DOH budget hearing contained similar topics. Sen. Schwank discussed the importance of the WIC program and opined that it is underutilized; she asked if DOH will allow WIC recipients to load their benefits cards remotely. Sec. Debra Bogen said DOH is currently working on the electronic loading of WIC benefit cards, however, the process will take time to implement and must be approved by the USDA. Minority Chairman Vince Hughes referenced Black Maternal Health Week and asked what DOH is doing to address the issue. Sec. Bogen referenced the proposed $2.3 million increase to implement recommendations made by the Maternal Mortality Review Committee and emphasized her commitment to addressing black maternal mortality. 

The General Assembly is in session this week, and each chamber will hold session on separate weeks in May before a weekslong recess to precede work on the 2023-24 budget. Stay tuned for future updates as we approach the June 30th budget deadline. 


Data Did You Know?


In Case You Missed It...

  • DHS and OCDEL recently released the final-form regulation #14-545 on Subsidized Child Care Eligibility. IRRC is considering the regulation at a public meeting on May 18th. Interested parties can submit comments to DHS in advance, and they are due no later than 10 a.m. on May 16th.  
  • The Pennsylvania Workforce Development Association has launched a campaign to pass legislation for better access to workforce data from the Commonwealth called #FreeTheData. PPC is a proud member of this new campaign, and we look forward to continuing this vital work. 
  • PPC Vice President of Public Policy Becky Ludwick spoke with Keystone State News Connection about how families can enroll their children in CHIP now that the state has changed the enrollment process.  
  • PPC and other state advocacy organizations are providing comments to the Administration of Children and Families on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for Kinship Licensing. Under the proposed regulatory changes, states can license kinship caregivers differently than formal foster parents, reducing barriers to formal licensure.  
  • Rep. Pashinski introduced a new bill to provide legal support services to kinship caregivers caring for children outside the formal child welfare system. PPC is an active partner in reviewing and providing feedback on the bill, and President and CEO Kari King notes our strong support of the proposed pilot program.  
  • A recently released longitudinal study examines the mortality risk associated with children and caregivers who live in low-opportunity neighborhoods. Findings suggest a clear association between neighborhood opportunity, socioeconomic characteristics, and mortality rates, highlighting the need to focus more on the structural inequities that lead to residential segregation. 
  • The KIDSCOUNT Data Center website has a new look! There are additional ways to search and sort indicators too. Check out our data webpage to access updates to the Early Childhood indicators under the Education category within Pennsylvania KIDS COUNT® Data Center! 
  • The Center for Children and Families at Georgetown University has blogged about the Biden Administration's proposed rule to provide access to health care coverage for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) grantees. The proposed language isn't live, but it will change rules around access to Medicaid, CHIP, and the Marketplace for DACA recipients. 

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

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