Voices’ Blog

Early Care & Education Budget Requests- UPDATED 6/25

Posted:  -  By: Voices for VA's Kids

UPDATE 6/25/14: With a few days to spare before the end of the fiscal year, the Governor, House and Senate have signed off on the biennial budget. While we did not get everything we wanted, we were pleased that many of our requests on behalf of vulnerable young children were included.  

Voices and Unified Agenda Priorities

Our top budget priorities for both Voices for Virginia’s Children and the Early Childhood Policy Network are restoring funding to home visiting services that have experienced cuts in recent years and ensuring that all infants and toddlers with developmental delays have access to Early Intervention/Part C services.

* Increase Funding for Early Intervention Part C- ASKS: 1. An additional $400,000 in FY14 (Howell- 315 #2s) (Brink- 315 #2h) 2. An additional $2M GF fill in gap in unmet for services in FY15-16 (Howell- 308 #7s) (Brink-308 #8h) 3. An increase in the Medicaid reimbursement rate of $1.2 in GF & NGF (Howell- 301 #22s)

FINAL ACTION: Neither the House nor Senate included additional funding for Part C Early Intervention signifying that there not be an increase in new funding this year. 

* Restore Funding for Home Visiting- Healthy Families– ASKS: Restoring funding to Healthy Families Virginia home visiting program, which has experienced cuts and program closures since 2010. $1.6 M GF each year (Howell- 341 #1s) (Peace- 341 #2h)

FINAL ACTION: The FY15-16 budget includes an additional $500,000 in TANF funds for Healthy Families in each year. While this increase is essential, state funding for Healthy Families is still $1.2 M short of pre-recession levels.  

* Restore Funding for Home Visiting- CHIP– Restoring funding to the CHIP home visiting program which has experienced cutbacks in service. $900,000 GF each year (Lucas- 291 #4s) (Dance- 291 #2h)

FINAL ACTION: The FY15-16 budget includes an additional $450,000 in TANF funds in FY15 and GF in FY16. While this increase is essential, state funding for CHIP is still approximately $500,000 short of pre-recession levels. 

Voices for Virginia’s Children also supports these additional budget requests:

1. Update the Virginia Preschool Initiative (VPI) calculation to better reflect current Head Start participation. Language (Hanger- 136 #16s)

FINAL ACTION: As we were made aware of the need to extend the hold harmless provision for communities using all of their VPI slots, this request morphed into a larger budget amendment that extended the use of the same number of slots used in FY14 to all divisions and sought to make some tweaks to the formula. The final budget included both language and funding to ensure that localities could access the same number of VPI slots as actually used in 2014.  

2. Additional funding for at-risk child care assistance $1 M each year (Stanley- 335 #2s)

FINAL ACTION: No additional funding included in the House or Senate budget proposals. 

3. Restore eligibility for low-income pregnant women in FAMIS Moms and Plan First who are not able to enroll in the federal Health Care marketplace. $1.5 GF & NGF (Howell- 301 #19s) (Brink- 301 #15h)

FINAL ACTION: The FY15-16 budget includes funding to restore eligibility to low-income pregnant women who would have previously been eligible for health coverage under the FAMIS program. This coverage will ensure that low-income pregnant women have access to health care without paying out of pocket expenses or going through any additional hurdles to apply and seek coverage. It is critical pregnant women access prenatal care as early as possible in their pregnancies to ensure their health and a healthy baby. 


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