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PPC Visits Congressional Members Ahead of Debt Ceiling Showdown 

PPC staff recently met with members of the Pennsylvania congressional delegation in Washington, D.C. to advocate for children's health insurance coverage, subsidized child care, WIC, and child welfare, specifically, transition age youth via the Journey to Success initiative spearheaded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. The team had discussions with members in all corners of the state, including Representatives Dwight Evans, Mary Gay Scanlon, Lloyd Smucker, Matt Cartwright, Brendan Boyle, Brian Fitzpatrick, and Agriculture Committee Chairman Glenn "GT" Thompson. All included positive discussions of future policies impacting Pennsylvania children and families.  

Despite these constructive conversations, the debt ceiling crisis cast a long shadow. President Biden and Speaker McCarthy reached a deal last week to lift the debt limit for two years and cap spending during that time. The House passed the bill package by a vote of 314-117, and the Senate followed shortly after by a vote of 63-36; President Biden signed the bill, dubbed the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023, on Saturday. While a crisis was averted, the cap on federal discretionary spending will impact Pennsylvania's state share of funds across a variety of programs PPC advocates for, including MIECHV for home visiting and CCDBG for child care. 


Prioritizing Universal Free School Breakfast in the State Budget  

Each day, families struggle with food security and the ability to provide their children with healthy meals that fuel their minds and bodies. Our new fact sheet explains why universal free school breakfast is critical to student success and how policymakers can ensure that.  

Free school breakfast is available to all Pennsylvania students this school year. However, this initiative will expire without additional 2023-24 state budget funding. We're asking policymakers to support an investment of $61.5 million for the School Food Services Program that includes: 

  • $51 million to expand free school breakfast for all students and to cover the costs for all students receiving reduced lunch; and 
  • $10.5 million to continue the current program.

No student should go hungry. This investment would help alleviate poverty, support good nutrition, advance learning, and improve overall health. 


KIDS COUNT® Data Center Updates  

Check out our data webpage for recent Pennsylvania KIDS COUNT® Data Center updates! We have updated information from the 2020 Census release this past week for our population and housing indicators and the most recent information on births from the state Department of Health! 


Data Did You Know?


In Case You Missed It...

  • NIEER released its first-ever State(s) of Early Intervention and Early Childhood Special Education: Looking at Equity. The report focuses on the 2020-21 school year but includes data going back to the 2005-06 school year. Both national and state profiles, including for Pennsylvania, are available. Findings indicate inequities in the system, including in Pennsylvania, where data shows that during the COVID-19 pandemic, Hispanic children saw the largest decrease in receiving EI services (21%). 
  • The Associated Press spent a year examining how racial health disparities have harmed generations of Black Americans. From birth to death, Black Americans fare worse in health measures than their white counterparts, including higher rates of infant and maternal mortality.  
  • According to the recent Child Welfare Financing Survey issued by Child Trends, child welfare agencies continue to spend most funding on placement costs rather than prevention services.  
  • DOH recently released its 2021 Childhood Lead Surveillance Annual Report showing the number of children in Pennsylvania tested for lead exposure each year and those children with elevated blood lead levels (EBLLs). In 2021, a little over 156,000 children under the age of 6 were tested for lead exposure, and nearly 5,000 children had EBLLs of ≥ 5 micrograms per deciliter (μg/dL), which was a slight increase from 2020.  
  • Thriving PA submitted comments to the Department of Health on their proposed FFY 2024 state plan for the WIC program. Feedback focused on program improvements, such as technology updates and cross-program integration, as well as improving participation rates across the state. 
  • The Georgetown Center for Children and Families posted two blogs of interest around doing more to scale home visiting through Medicaid and another regarding the updated CMS claiming guide that reinforces the scope of Medicaid services provided in schools: 

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

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