December 13, 2012
The 2013 Virginia General Assembly Session is just a few weeks away, beginning on January 9th. As we do each year, Voices staff will be working diligently to bring the needs of Virginia’s children and families to policymakers and promote legislation that improves children’s well-being. Each week, via email, we’ll be sending updates on our progress in our priority areas; we’ll also be sending out action alerts and other advocacy opportunities.
We hope you’ll join us this year in speaking out to your legislators about these issues of such critical importance to Virginia’s children and families.
Here you’ll find a “Road Map” of our efforts for this coming session–our 2013 Legislative Agenda:
Children’s Mental Health:
Expand community services - Building on our 2012 success in getting $3.2 million for children’s mental health services in three regions, we’re working to fund child psychiatry and crisis response services in two additional regions – Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads.
Foster Care Reform:
Eliminate barriers to school enrollment for children in kinship care – Oftentimes, children may be staying with relative caregivers during a family issue or crisis. Voices is working to eliminate unnecessary barriers to school enrollment for these children to help smooth their path towards graduation.
Increase program access, services and funding for former foster kids ages 18-21 – While Virginia is improving in this area, we still have a long way to go in supporting our youth aging out of foster care without permanent connections. Voices will be championing several measures this year designed to support these young people during a critical time of transition in their lives.
Early Childhood/School Readiness:
Restore cuts for home visiting programs – Bring funding for CHIP of Virginia/Parents as Teachers and Healthy Families back to pre-recession levels.
Fund Early Intervention Services – Fund this fiscal year’s $8.5 million shortfall, increase the reimbursement rate to cover costs and provide additional funding to meet growing need.
We will also be supporting health care reform efforts to increase access to care and efforts to protect TANF payments. You can find more details in our 2013 Legislative Agenda.