Having trouble viewing this email? View it in your web browser


New Videos! PPC Staff Discuss Key Investments We’re Advocating for in the 2021-22 State Budget

In the months since Gov. Wolf’s budget proposal in February, PPC staff have been working with policymakers and our partners across several statewide advocacy coalitions to ensure the FY 2021-22 state budget includes investments in programs that we know help children and families. These include high-quality child care and pre-k, evidence-based home visiting, and career and technical education.

With the June 30th deadline just four weeks away, we’re pleased to share informative summaries of how PPC is working to build better futures for kids in the state budget, brought to you by members of our team!

What Happens Next?
by Government Affairs Directors Kati Brillhart and Justin Fleming

Home Visiting
by Vice President of Public Policy Becky Ludwick

Early Childhood Education
by Policy Director Maggie Livelsberger

Career and Technical Education
by Policy Director Rachael Miller

The House and Senate are in session for the next month until the budget passes, so stay tuned for further updates from PPC on the latest activity in Harrisburg.


Thriving PA Releases WIC Policy Brief with Recommendations on How to Boost WIC Participation 

Through Thriving PA’s work related to the Women, Infants, and Children Program (WIC), advocates – led by Allies for Children – developed a policy brief that provides recommendations to policymakers and the Department of Health on improvements to reverse the declining participation in the WIC participation in the state. From 2016 to 2020, WIC enrollment declined by 21% or 50,000 enrollees in Pennsylvania. Continued declines in enrollment impact the amount of federal funding the program receives, thus creating fewer resources for WIC agencies to engage and serve eligible participants.

Some of the recommendations in the brief include:

  • Technology improvements, including making permanent the benefits seen from implementing telehealth provisions through the pandemic and developing a mobile app.
  • Coordination and partnerships through strategies like co-location of WIC clinics with other critical services like birthing hospitals and health clinics and implementing adjunctive eligibility – which streamlines the eligibility process when a family is already eligible for benefits like Medicaid or SNAP.
  • Certification, eligibility, and targeted outreach efforts, including looking at policies included in current federal legislation to extend postpartum eligibility to two years and extending infant certification periods for two-year spans.

Along with our partner advocates in the Thriving PA campaign, we look forward to working with the Department of Health and policymakers at the state and federal levels to increase WIC participation in Pennsylvania and provide women, infants, and children opportunities for healthy nutrition.


Update on Pennsylvania Childhood Immunization Data Released from PA DOH

The Pennsylvania Department of Health released new data showing the trend analysis in routine childhood immunizations during the 2020 calendar year, and the first few months of 2021. While it appears the 2020 rates are showing a rebound compared to prior years, for the available dataset PPC is analyzing what this means for making sure kids are fully caught up on their routine vaccinations since we first reported a downward trend last year.

We’re also reviewing the data from the first part of 2021 showing a decline in immunizations for some age groups, particularly children ages 4-10. That could reflect national trends where pediatric visits declined towards the end of 2020, ending up well below baseline heading into the early part of 2021.

As a reminder, with the recent CDC approval for children aged 12-15 to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, the CDC also issued guidance that it may be co-administered with other important adolescent vaccinations without regard to timing (i.e., waiting 14 days before or after administration of a vaccine).

More to come as PPC examines this issue further with expert partners.


Legislature Moves to Amend COVID-19 Emergency Declaration

A majority of Pennsylvanians who voted in the May primary election approved four proposed constitutional amendments, two of which transfer from the governor to the General Assembly the authority to limit or terminate disaster declarations. The election results must be certified before amending the state constitution, but the House of Representatives has already taken the first steps to end the state’s COVID-19 disaster declaration.

House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre) introduced HR 106 on May 24th that would:

  • End the administration’s ability to engage in no-bid, single-source contracting.
  • Re-establish mandatory work search requirements for unemployment compensation.
  • End the governor’s ability to mandate occupancy limits, business closures, and stay-at-home orders due to the pandemic.

The resolution did extend all other elements of the disaster declaration not repealed in the bill until October 1st. The resolution was voted out of the House State Government Committee on a party-line vote on Tuesday, May 25th (the day after its introduction and one week after the primary election) and is now on the House floor calendar.

Abruptly ending the COVID-19 disaster declaration has caused some concern. Earlier in the year, the Department of Human Services warned that the commonwealth would not be eligible for emergency federal funding for programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). It is unclear what the final impact would be if HR 106 becomes law. Legislative staff and administration officials are working to determine what steps are needed to ensure Pennsylvania continues to receive federal funding for pandemic-related programs. PPC will keep you informed of any future updates.


Biden Administration Releases Federal Budget Containing American Jobs, Families Plan Provisions

On Friday, May 28th, President Biden released his FFY 2022 budget plan, coming in at a $6 trillion price tag and covering the elements contained in the previously announced American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan.

Also, on the federal front, a group of Democratic senators – including Pennsylvania Sen. Casey introduced the Building Child Care for a Better Future Act last week. It would provide new, mandatory, permanent federal funding to help child care providers upgrade facilities, fund new child care centers to open, and train and invest in the child care workforce, among other things.


Help Us Spread the Word About Health Insurance Options for Infants and Toddlers 

At PPC, we believe every infant and toddler deserves a healthy start – health insurance matters for a healthy childhood.

Many families think they cannot afford health insurance for their children, but no family makes too little or too much to get health insurance in Pennsylvania.

Please help us ensure infants and toddlers in Pennsylvania are healthy and prepared to grow, learn, and succeed, by sharing these flyers in English and Spanish about several free or low-cost, affordable options for health insurance.

A Special Thank You.
To our early care and education partners in the Childhood Begins at Home and Start Strong PA campaigns: thank you for your advocacy efforts during two recent #healthystartpa Twitter chats. With your help, we are educating countless more parents and families about the health insurance options available for their infants and toddlers!


Pennsylvania Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program Opens Request for Applications for FY 2021-22

The Office of Child Development and Early Learning (OCDEL) announced a competitive Request for Application (RFA) for Pennsylvania’s Head Start Supplemental Assistance Program (HSSAP) for the fiscal year 2021-22. The RFA will be used to support providers in preparing to serve and enroll children by September. Interested applicants must submit Letters of Intent by June 24th. The application deadline is July 15th. Eligible entities who may apply include Head Start grantees and Early Head Start grantees. Governor Wolf’s proposed FY 2021-22 budget expands HSSAP by $5 million, and the RFA notes funding is contingent upon approval by the General Assembly.

OCDEL released additional information through HSSAP Application Guidance to assist applicants.


In Case You Missed It...

  • The Department of Human Services issued a press release to notify child welfare agencies, providers, advocacy organizations, and former and current foster youth of provisions under the consolidated appropriations act. The provisions include allowing youth who have aged out of care during the pandemic to return to care without traditional requirements. 
  • According to a U.S. Census Bureau report, Pennsylvania has fallen from 44th to 45th in the nation in state funding for public education.
  • The Pennsylvania Department of Education recently opened the application process to access the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund under the American Rescue Plan. 
  • PPC and other Thriving PA advocates signed on to these comments on the fiscal year 2022 State Plan for the WIC Program, which will govern how the Burau of Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) will administer the WIC program. The comments address three broad areas: transparency and consistency, streamlining enrollment and certification and reducing barriers.
  • The Philadelphia Inquirer released an article, Many Pregnant Workers Left Out of COVID-19 Aid, highlighting the experiences of pregnant women during the pandemic and policy changes needed to better support young families.
  • Zero to Three and Child Trends released a policy brief, Racism Creates Inequities in Maternal and Child Health, Even Before Birth, to inform maternal and child health policy looking through a targeted racial and ethnic equity lens at the data from the State of Babies Yearbook: 2021. The brief also provides recommendations for policymakers.

Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children
200 North Third Street 13th Floor | Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 17101
(717) 236-5680 | info@papartnerships.org

Follow Us

Unsubscribe or Manage Your Preferences