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Watch Launch of Video Series Outlining Thriving PA Policy Goals!

Our Thriving PA campaign partner, Maternity Care Coalition (MCC), is leading the work to advocate for policies that can help improve outcomes and promote equity for people enrolled in Medicaid during pregnancy and the postpartum period. 

🧡 Watch Sara Jann - Director of Policy and Advocacy at MCC - share the campaign’s goals around perinatal health. đź’ś 

Thriving PA is working to advocate for perinatal health equity in Pennsylvania, because for babies to get the absolute best start in life, moms and birthing people have to have healthy and supportive pregnancies. 

Get additional information and resources about this and our other areas of focus, including children’s health insurance, nutrition supports and lead screening and abatement at www.thrivingpa.org – and stay tuned for future partner videos!


Raising Our Future: America's Child Care 

The science is clear. The lifelong impact of early experiences on babies’ physical and cognitive development makes access to high-quality child care essential. And as our economy recovers, we know that our child care infrastructure remains in crisis while accessible, affordable, high-quality child care is critical in order for families to work. A strong child care system helps build a future for our families, our economy, and our nation.

Want to learn more about where we stand as a nation in providing this care? The PBS NewsHour, one of the nation’s most trusted nightly news sources, recently produced five segments on child care in the United States.

The series aired the week of July 12th, and we thank our fellow partners in Pennsylvania’s prenatal-to-age-three collaborative and the Start Strong PA child care campaign for helping promote the series. Together we will continue to stress the need to address this very real crisis and urge policymakers to recognize that young children are our greatest resource.


U.S. Senate Leadership Vows to Complete Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal by August

Congress returned to Washington, D.C. last week following the Fourth of July break with the U.S. Senate beginning to address the FFY 2022 appropriations package containing many elements of President Biden’s American Families Plan and focus on concurrently bringing to a vote the long-awaited infrastructure package announced by the Biden administration earlier this spring.

A bipartisan group of senators proposed a $1.2 trillion infrastructure package with President Biden’s support in June. The proposal tackles classic infrastructure problems while leaving out components focused more on “human infrastructure” elements – including funding for child care infrastructure improvements. Read more details from the Biden administration summarizing the deal.

On a concurrent track with the bipartisan proposal, Democratic leaders also are working to align their caucus to pass a larger, more comprehensive spending package around the FFY 2022 budget with only Democratic votes via the reconciliation process. The package would attempt to combine components of the American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan to address these human infrastructure improvements. The proposed provisions that are of interest to early care and education advocates include:

  • Creating a free, universal pre-k program for all 3- and 4-year-olds.
  • Capping the cost of high-quality child care for families to no more than 7% of their income and addressing early care and education workforce issues including pay.
  • Permanently extending the Child Tax Credit and the Child Care and Dependent Tax Credit, as well as expanding the amounts of the former initiative.
  • Instituting 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave.
  • Potentially including from the American Jobs Plan child care infrastructure elements such as funding to help upgrade child care facilities through a Child Care Growth and Innovation Fund for states to build a supply of infant and toddler care in high-need areas as well as an expanded tax credit to encourage businesses to build child care facilities at places of work.

With tight margins for Democrats in both the House and Senate, the reconciliation process is one of the last the conference can utilize to pass sweeping legislation before the 2022 election cycle where party control may or may not change.

PPC will keep you informed as these fluid negotiations between the infrastructure proposal, the American Families Plan and the FFY 2022 budget package continue.


New Report Highlights Declining Participation in WIC Nationwide

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ new report, Eligible Low-Income Children Missing Out on Crucial WIC Benefits During Pandemic, highlights the decline in WIC participation over the past decade and the impacts seen within the program during the pandemic. From February 2020 through February 2021, WIC participation nationwide grew by only 2%. State participation varied considerably; however, in Pennsylvania, WIC participation decreased by 9% - a worrisome trend that unfortunately is not new to the commonwealth.

The report also shows the program’s challenges in reaching eligible populations compared to Medicaid and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants. Based on income eligibility, Medicaid and SNAP participants are automatically eligible for WIC; however, although those programs saw increases during the pandemic, WIC saw marginally increased participation or a decline in the case of several states. For Pennsylvania, the report shows an increase in Medicaid participation by 14% and a 4% increase in SNAP, yet a continued decline in WIC participation.

There are several reasons why participation has been declining. Pennsylvania has a relatively unique challenge of an offline electronic benefits transfer (EBT) system, which means WIC clients must physically take their card to a WIC office to have their benefits loaded – a problematic requirement during the pandemic. The report also highlights other potential challenges to the WIC program and opportunities for state and local governments to help reverse the trend of declining participation.

Thriving PA similarly is seeking policy changes to modernize and strengthen the state’s WIC program – a recent policy brief includes county-level WIC data and recommendations to make modernization improvements and reverse these enrollment trends. Advocates are working to increase participation and educate families eligible for benefits to ensure Pennsylvania children and pregnant and postpartum mothers have access to healthy nutrition.


OCYF Releases Bulletin Outlining Policies and Procedures for Family First

As the state draws closer to the October 1st implementation date for prevention provisions under the Family First Prevention Services Act, the Office of Children, Youth, and Families released its new bulletin outlining specific policies and procedures required for county child welfare agencies. The publication identifies core components for identifying candidacy of children at risk of foster care placement and eligible for title IV-E reimbursement, identifying efforts through a prevention plan, monitoring prevention plans, and fidelity monitoring of current prevention services. 

Each county child welfare agency will be required to ensure individual practices adhere to the bulletin and are shifting practices to enhance family stability and prevent the need for out-of-home placement. 

The state anticipates selecting at least eight evidence-based services rated by the Title IV-E clearinghouse but has not issued them in the bulletin. They will be in the full Title IV-E plan submitted to the Administration of Children and Families in the next few months.

Stay tuned for further updates as PPC plans to issue a full report on the state’s implementation plan this fall. 


In Case You Missed It...

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

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