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Voices’ Blog

Statement on Forming the Children’s Cabinet

Posted:  -  By: Emily Griffey

Statement on Gov. Ralph Northam’s and First Lady Pam Northam’s Announcement on the Formation of the Children’s Cabinet and State-Level Early Childhood Leadership

At Voices for Virginia’s Children, we are grateful Gov. and Mrs. Northam have made child well-being a top priority by forming The Children’s Cabinet. The cabinet will facilitate bringing together state resources and expertise across secretariats and agencies to solve critical challenges for children.

Voices included the continuation of The Children’s Cabinet as a key element of our children’s policy agenda. During the 2018 gubernatorial election and the transition to a new administration, Voices advocated for the continuation of the cabinet as a way to ensure children’s policy issues broke out of their silos in state government. When addressing school readiness, child welfare, and children’s mental health, policymakers need to make decisions in a place where they can consider the impact of their decisions on the whole child rather than on individual agencies or programs.

We are thrilled Pam Northam will provide the leadership for The Children’s Cabinet. As a former educator who has the backing of a governor who is a pediatric neurologist, she will set the right tone. It is rare to have a first couple so knowledgeable on children’s issues.

In particular, Mrs. Northam’s interests in early childhood education will bring a new vision to an important topic. Previous administrations and the General Assembly have laid the groundwork for bipartisan support for improvements in early learning. Through the First Lady’s platform, the vision of the commonwealth’s chief school readiness officer, and the backing of The Children’s Cabinet, we believe it’s time to make big strides forward in early childhood.

We applaud the foresight of The Children’s Cabinet to focus on trauma-informed policies and practices. Increasing attention on adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and their impact on the developing brain points to the need for leadership to identify and implement trauma-informed practices in all child-serving settings.

The Children’s Cabinet is an important vehicle for improving Virginia’s policies and practices, and we look forward to working with cabinet members.

Children’s Cabinet priorities and members

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