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Tag Archive: budget hearings

  1. General Assembly 2022: Mental Health Wrap-Up

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    The momentum was in place for children’s mental health in Virginia. The US Surgeon General and key advocates declared a national emergency to confront a decade-long decline in children’s mental health. Despite widespread concern, Governor Northam’s original budget proposal did not fund new programs in schools for children’s mental health. To meet the moment, a bipartisan group of legislators and advocates from various communities lobbied for investments in psychological services and counseling. Additional resources of $1.4 million per year will expand the Virginia Mental Health Access Program to integrate services in health care settings. Noted below are other new investments integrating mental health in school settings, increasing reimbursement rates, and supporting the workforce.

    A First Step for School-Based Mental Health Integration 

    Over the last three years, the General Assembly has focused on improving school-based mental health by funding specialized student support positions—counselors, social workers, and psychologists. While students have benefited from better relationships with faculty, COVID presented unanticipated disruptions, rapidly increasing needs, and barriers to vital care. School divisions have responded by allocating federal recovery funds into training, coaching, and even bringing community-based mental health professionals into schools.

    However, federal support during this emergency is impermanent and mental health threats are ongoing. School divisions need resources to continue to support these efforts. Voices led advocacy for additional state general fund resources supporting school-based mental health in flexible ways to assist school divisions in identifying key partnerships and resources. The General Assembly allocated $2.5 million in FY23 to begin supporting school-based mental health services and included language asking the newly established Behavioral Health Commission to study how schools can better integrate mental health services with sustainable funding streams such as Medicaid.

    The General Assembly also approved funding to establish a regional Recovery High School based in Chesterfield where substance abuse recovery is incorporated into the school day. The proposal by Delegate Carrie Coyner was finally approved after the 2020 COVID response cut funding. Other high schools will be able to look toward this model to support health needs in the classroom.

    Senator Jennifer McClellan has been a significant leader on school based mental health and increasing resources for school-based professionals. Read more in her Op/Ed in the Fredericksburg FreeLance Star.

    Addressing Workforce Shortages

    The lynchpin to support the social and emotional well-being of students is having an appropriate workforce. We are excited about two changes that will help address pressing workforce challenges.

    The House and Senate approved HB829, proposed by Del. Tony Wilt, that will provide flexibility on a provisional basis for licensed mental health professionals without certification to work in school-settings. This flexibility will ensure that school divisions can hire more mental health staff.

    The budget adopted by the General Assembly includes funding for a new initiative to help mental health professionals seeking licensure when they must pay for their supervision time out-of-pocket. The new initiative, Boost200, will provide resources to cover out-of-pocket expenses for licensure and match them with approved supervisors. This initiative is poised to make a significant impact on removing barriers towards licensure and diversifying the mental health field. Learn more about participating to address licensure costs or to work as a supervisor.

    Improving Medicaid Reimbursement Rates

    The third area that the legislature improved on mental health services was improving Medicaid reimbursement rates for several mental health services. Federal funds from the current “public health emergency” have increased payment rates for community-based services by 12.5%. The General Assembly approved resources to continue financing those services. The General Assembly also improved rates for psychiatric residential treatment facilities. Many facilities served children from other states and lacked placements for children in Virginia, leading to greater instability for the hardest to place children, who are the focus of the Safe and Sound Task Force. The increased rates should help caregivers meet immediate needs, but challenges remain to ensure that children are not placed in inappropriate and lengthy stays in congregate settings. While increasing Medicaid rates is a positive step, adequate reimbursement is essential to looking after the mental health of economically disadvantaged children and vulnerable children in the foster care system.

  2. General Assembly 2022: Child Welfare Wrap-Up

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    The Foster Care system has been adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In the last two years foster families have experienced greater financial stress, fewer foster parents have become trained, and turn over in the workforce has increased from already high levels. In some localities children have been sleeping in local department of social services offices while awaiting placement, resulting in the Governor calling a for a special “Safe and Sound” taskforce to address the urgent needs.

    We are encouraged by the final budget including many of the initial priorities for foster care that Governor Northam introduced in December. Beyond those policies, several new programs were funded targeting older youth in care  about to transition to adulthood. Ultimately, we still have a long way to go to properly fund our child welfare system.

    Here are the highlights of the budget for child welfare advocates:

    Investing in the Infrastructure of Child Welfare

    The instability of the foster care workforce and outdated technology are major challenges in Virginia’s child welfare system. According to a 2018 JLARC report, the quit rate for an entry-level Family Services Worker Specialist is 42%, with retention being an even greater issue in small, rural agencies.

    • 10% increase in staff and operations and Local Departments of Social Services over two years
    • $22 million for the replacement of the outdated child welfare data tracking system. Updated technology, along with updated training and child welfare courses, will allow social services to serve children and families more efficiently. This can reduce the length of time between a child entering foster care and finding permanent care through reunification, kinship care, or adoption.
    • $5 Million in mandated reinvestments to provide additional resources for ongoing mandated activities such as post adoption case management services, mutual family assessments, foster care and adoption services, and substance abuse services.

    Scale Up Evidence & Community-Based Practices to Achieve Better Outcomes for Children and Families

    • Funding to provide fidelity monitoring and evaluation of evidence‐based prevention services, appropriates federal Transition Act funding and fully funds salaries for allocated program position.

    Provide Social Supports & Easier Path for Kinship Caregivers

    • Funding for SB 396 provides that the court has the authority to review a foster care plan placement determination by a local board of social services
    • Funding for HB 653 Delegate Wampler which directs the Department of Social Services to establish and implement a collaborative local board placement program to increase kinship placements and the number of locally approved foster homes.
    • Increase to TANF Cash Assistance Allocation (impacts Kinship Families receiving child-only TANF) – 5% increase.

    Help Foster Care Youth Have Normal Adolescent Experiences

    Virginia continues to rank 49th in the country for youth in foster care aging out without a permanent connection. Investments in this area are desperately needed to support transition age youth.

    • Funding for the development of the iFoster Care Portal, a free internet resource that includes education assistance and workforce development options, as well as independent living resources geared for young adults who have experienced foster care.
    • $1 Million to develop a state-funded grant program providing a range of funding for the Great Expectations Program in the following areas: the hiring of college coaches or mentors, housing stipends, child care, and transportation needs.
    • Budget language directing the State Higher Education Council to examine the feasibility of having a point of contact at each public institution of higher education for students who have been involved in the foster care system.

    Supporting the Efforts of the Safe and Sound Taskforce

    After the budget was reconciled, Governor Youngkin introduced these budget amendments  recommended by the Safe and Sound Task Force which will continue to meet to address the current crisis in placement and the systems level changes needed to prevent children from entering foster care.

    • $592,120 for five positions to support the development of collaborative partnerships between local departments of social services (DSS) to increase capacity to approve kinship caregivers and recruit, train, and develop locally approved foster parents. This effort will support HB653, patroned by Del. Wampler, to facilitate collaboration between local DSS.
    • $1.1 million to create an enhanced treatment foster care pilot program, commonly known as the Professional Foster Parent Model. This program will serve foster homes caring for high acuity children and provide participating foster families with an annual stipend of up to $45,000 per youth.
    • $200,000 to cover the costs of coordination, recruitment, and additional training to foster care agencies.
    • $3,000,000 to support the initiatives of the Safe and Sound Task Force including community-based treatments, support for kinship, foster and adoptive families, and trauma-informed care for children in foster care who are displaced or who are at risk of being displaced.
  3. General Assembly 2022: Early Education Wrap-Up

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    Virginia lawmakers continued to create a path for growth and expansion in early education with the outcomes of the budget negotiations in the 2022 General Assembly Session. Building off years of historic state and national investments, the legislature approved significant resources for early childhood for FY23-24. The legislature approved several new initiatives and the bulk of the early childhood expansion proposals in Governor Northam’s outgoing budget.

    After years of significant strain on the child care industry and after a House of Delegates proposed budget made significant cuts to Northam’s proposals, early childhood advocates have something positive to celebrate in this state budget. The final compromise left most of his proposal in place. In recent comments, Governor Youngkin recognized a significant bi-partisan shift to support early education that he hoped the legislature would restore funding to early education.

    Below are the initiatives that will strengthen early education and the child care sector in the budget. In total, the budget includes an additional $76 million in state funds and an additional $7.5 million in ARPA funding for early education and child care.

    Six bipartisan legislators received Child Care Champions Awards from the Virginia Promise Partnership at an awards reception on June 1, 2022.

    Six bipartisan legislators received Child Care Champions Awards from the Virginia Promise Partnership at an awards reception on June 1, 2022.

    Creating a Stronger, More Equitably Resourced Early Education System

    A combination of policy changes in legislation and language in the budget will strengthen the alignment and oversight of early education programs.

    • The Regional Early Education System and Overpayment Fund HB 389, sponsored by Del. Bulova, was signed into law to create the structure for Ready Regions throughout Virginia and capture any overpayment to localities of subsidy funds so it does not revert to other areas.
    • Increasing the VPI per-pupil allocation to $8,359 will reflect the true cost of quality early education programs. In addition, language asks the Department of Education to conduct an annual benchmarking of VPI funding, as is done with other K-12 funding streams.
    • Language for more flexibility in the use of VPI funds will allow school divisions to serve more students with disabilities and expand to serve 3-year-olds in VPI funded programs.
    • An additional $6.7 million will expand public/private options for state-aligned preschools through the VECF mixed-delivery program. These funds will support the early childhood education of an estimated additional 500-600 students, including 200 infants and toddlers.
    • The legislature has directed $3.5 million in ARPA funds to the United Way of Southwest Virginia for a new initiative expanding child care capacity, “Ready Southwest”.

    Compensation and Retention for Early Childhood Educators

    • The approved budget will expand the early educator incentive grant program by an additional $5 million per year to recruit and retain early childhood professionals.
    • While reforms to the hiring process and background checks for provisional employment did not move forward, the Commissioner of Social Services has begun a process review and promise to address the timeliness of background checks.

    Accessibility and Affordable Care for All Children

    • Building off the legislation that passed last year, the new budget continues to expand child care assistance eligibility and reduces parent co-pays. Families with children under five, up to 85% of the state median income, and families looking for a job are eligible now for this assistance. The budget also eliminates the 72 month time limit to receive assistance, removing an arbitrary time limit for families who may have multiple children who could otherwise qualify for assistance.
    • The legislature also provided $4 million in ARPA federal funds to support 21st Century Community Learning Centers. These federal funds will strengthen school-based, out of school-time, programs that are affordable.
    • Governor Youngkin signed SB69 sponsored by Sen. Favola allowing home-based child care programs to be approved on the site of rental properties.

    Healthy Development

    • The legislature provided a $2.9 million increase each year to the base allocation for Part C Services early intervention services funded through DBHDS. This will contribute to services for infants and toddlers with developmental disabilities and delays.
  4. The Impact of Sharing Stories and How You Can Too

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    On January 4th members of the Virginia legislature convened four budget hearings around the State to hear requests from their Constituents. Sophia Booker, a former foster youth and Voices newest Bachelor’s of Social Work intern from VCU’s School of Social Work. testified at the Richmond hearing about her experience and asked for continued funding of Fostering Futures.

    Sophia shares her reflections on this experience below:

    My experience talking to the General Assembly has been minimal but apparently very impactful. I can only count on one hand how many times I have been to the General Assembly to speak on behalf of my peers. My first time in front of the General Assembly was the most memorable. The first wave of nervousness came from the thought of what outfit I was going to wear. I remember thinking nothing in my college deprived closet was good enough for the General Assembly. There was not much to consider due to my limited options in dress clothing. The second wave of nervousness was something I never felt before.  I felt empowered and extremely nervous at the same time. It also felt like I was supposed to be there in that moment to deliver the message that would only get across to the members through my voice. The feeling was so foreign and surreal; so much that I doubted if I was supposed to be there. Approaching the podium, my heart was beating like a loud drum. It felt like a bass system clouding my thoughts. At that moment, I spoke from my heart.  After what I thought was an embarrassing conclusion, the room erupted with applause.

    On Jan 4th, I had the opportunity to speak once again in front of the General Assembly.  This time, I was there to thank them for considering the bill and adding it to the budget.  This experience was very unique. In a room filled with people with many different emotions, I felt like my message would pierce the atmosphere for a brief moment.  The members seemed to be tired and lacking of any emotions. It was going to take a lot to get through to them.  Having the opportunity to speak meant the world to me. To stand in front of them a year later to thank them for choosing to make a positive impact in the lives of foster youth felt so amazing to me and I knew it had to feel good for them too.  I do not know what emotions were displayed on their faces after I walked away from the podium but I felt in my heart that I got the message across. It was important for me to thank them because I feel that they aren’t thanked often. Thanking them to me meant that me and others appreciate the hard work and thoughtfulness they put into these decisions despite what side of the political spectrum they fall on.  It also meant that my peers will now have a better opportunity for establishing permanent connections and be better prepared for adulthood when exiting the system because of the decision they made and that allows me to sleep better at night.

     

     I can sleep better at night knowing that my peers have access to permanent families through Fostering Futures. – Sophia Booker

    I would like to encourage others to share their stories with legislators. Voices for Virginia’s Children has several Advocacy Days where you can speak up for kids. You can also share your story online so that Voices can share your story for or with you here.

    By Sophia Booker

    Sophia Booker is a Junior at Virginia Commonwealth University studying Social Work. She currently works for UMFS – Project LIFE as a youth network coordinator and is interning at Voices for Virginia’s Children.

  5. Speak up at state budget hearings on Jan. 7!

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    This is the time to let the state legislators who are responsible for developing the state budget know that children are our priority! They need to hear from us about why it’s important to support services for children in Virginia, especially in our priority areas of foster care and juvenile justice reform, early childhood care & education, and children’s mental health.

    The budget hearings will be held in 4 locations around the state on January 7th, with a panel of legislators attending each one. It is a great opportunity to speak out about the devastating consequences to children and families when we do not invest in children’s well-being.

    More specifically, we are looking for volunteers to talk about the following:

    Foster Care & Juvenile Justice

    If you are interested in attending one of the budget hearings to advocate on behalf of older youth in foster care in support of the Fostering Futures program, or if you are interested in speaking about juvenile justice reform (strong investments in family- and community-based as alternatives to incarceration), please contact Senior Policy Attorney Amy Woolard at amy@vakids.org for talking points and more information on how to navigate the budget hearings.

    Early Childhood Care & Education

    If you wish to speak about early childhood education please contact Emily Griffey at Emily@vakids.org. She can help provide you with talking points to support home visiting, child care safety, the Virginia Preschool Initiative and the early childhood workforce.

    Children’s Mental Health

    Has your Community Service Board (CSB) and/or community benefited from the new children’s mental health funding for crisis response services and child psychiatry? Does your community still need better access to child psychiatry or crisis response services? If you are interested in talking about any of these topics, please contact Campaign for Children’s Mental Health Coordinator, Ashley Everette: Ashley@vakids.org.

     

    Why testify at a budget hearing?

    • Your comments can help shape the state budget for the next year as it pertains to children’s services.
    • Speaking out educates our legislators about issues that are important to you and helps make Virginia a better place to live for kids and their families!

     

    So where are the hearings?

    Thursday, January 7, 2016 (Hearings begin at 10:00 a.m.)

    • Fredericksburg – University of Mary Washington, University Center, Chandler Ballroom
    • Wytheville – Wytheville Community College, Grayson Hall, Snyder Auditorium

    Thursday, January 7, 2016 (Hearings begin at 12:00 noon)

    • Chesapeake – Tidewater Community College, Chesapeake Campus, Student Center Multipurpose Room
    • Richmond – General Assembly Building, House Room D

    If you plan to testify at the budget hearings, we are happy to help you prepare your testimony. Remember, you will have 3 minutes or less! So please write your testimony and practice with a timer to make sure you are within the required time. We’ve also put together advocacy tips for budget hearings  that can help you prepare your testimony.

  6. Gov. McAuliffe’s Budget Includes Investments for Children

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    Virginia’s revenue picture is certainly brighter than it was this time last year, though Governor McAuliffe informed the joint money committee members yesterday that his biennial budget proposal was based on “a conservative revenue forecast in the face of continued economic uncertainty.” He also noted that Virginia ended 2015 at a $549.6 million revenue surplus, “the largest in the Commonwealth’s history.” With that in mind, we are more determined than ever to make sure lawmakers use as much of that surplus as possible to make smart investments in strategies, supports, and programs aimed at improving the well-being of Virginia’s children.

    Here’s our breakdown of how the budget proposal looks for kids in each of our core policy areas; we’ve included some links to more detailed information in each section, and check out our State Legislative Advocacy page for more:

     

    Early Childhood Care & Education

    Voices and our partners in the Early Childhood Policy Network believe that Virginia’s approach to early childhood education should be comprehensive, starting at birth and continuing through school. We are pleased to see that the Governor’s budget proposal follows this same approach by investing in the expansion of home visiting and early intervention, improving the safety of child care and providing opportunities for public-private preschool partnerships (details here). We were also pleased to see Congress take action to support early childhood education (details here).

     

    Children’s Mental Health

    The Governor’s proposed budget includes an additional $138,192 over the biennium to increase needed pediatrician services at the Commonwealth Center for Children and Adolescents (CCCA), the only public inpatient psychiatric hospital for children in Virginia.  Other funding for children’s community-based mental health services remains level.

    While were are pleased that children’s mental health crisis services and child psychiatry services were preserved at current levels, we know that additional funding is necessary to reach more children in need of these services. With bi-partisan support for these highly effective services, Voices along with its partners in the Campaign for Children’s Mental Health will continue to advocate for additional funding to support the expansion of community-based crisis response services and child psychiatry.

     

    Health Care

    Thankfully, Governor McAuliffe is continuing to advocate for expanding health coverage to the 400,000 currently uninsured Virginians who need this access to care. Included in his budget proposal is a plan to draw down federal funding to expand health coverage to low-income Virginians using funds collected from Virginia’s hospitals to cover the Commonwealth’s state share of this option. While this topic has generated considerable controversy over the last couple of years, we hope the General Assembly can continue discussions with the administration to make sure we close the coverage gap and open access to health care for all Virginians.

     

    Foster Care

    We are thrilled to see that Governor McAuliffe included money once again in his budget to fund “Fostering Futures”—an option under the federal Fostering Connections Act to broaden foster care transition services and adoption assistance for older youth up to age 21. Fostering Futures will provide critical foundational supports to make sure that age 18 is a bridge to adulthood for these youth and not a cliff. Most importantly, this effort will include housing and lessen the chance that youth will have to forgo pursuing their education because of financial struggles.

    Also included in the proposed budget is an expected 2% increase in foster care and adoption assistance payments, which is triggered automatically during the year following a state employee pay increase.

     

    School Discipline

    The Governor’s proposed budget includes an additional $1 million over the biennium for implementing Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS) in schools, with an emphasis on schools with high rates of disciplinary offenses. PBIS, along with other strengths-based school reforms, has shown to improve school climate and reduce suspensions and expulsions.

     

    Juvenile Justice

    We are also pleased to see a biennial budget bill from the Governor that recognizes that the status quo within Virginia’s justice system is unacceptable. We support new language in the budget that provides for a reinvestment in a strong continuum of family- and community-based services as alternatives to incarceration. These types of evidence-based therapeutic responses are supported by the most current research, and are shown to reduce recidivism. Virginia’s current three-year reconviction rate for youth leaving our juvenile prisons stands at nearly 75%—we can and must do better; the reinvestment portion of the plan outlined in the Governor’s budget sets us on that path.

     

    Next Steps & Budget Hearings (Jan. 7th)

    When the General Assembly convenes on Wednesday, January 13th, they will begin to consider thousands of bills, including Gov. McAuliffe’s budget proposal, and work on reconciling their priorities. We need your help to make sure children’s issues are a part of that conversation! Join us at one of the four regional budget hearings scheduled around the state (Richmond, Fredericksburg, Chesapeake, and Wytheville) on Jan. 7th, and offer your support for Voices’ policy agenda.

    To speak to foster care issues, contact Senior Policy Attorney Amy Woolard (Amy@vakids.org); early childhood issues, contact Senior Policy Analyst Emily Griffey (Emily@vakids.org), and health care and children’s mental health, contact Policy Analyst Ashley Everette (Ashley@vakids.org).

    For a refresher on the legislative & budget process, review our Advocacy Guide. We look forward to working with you as a voice for children during the 2016 General Assembly session!

  7. Regional Budget Hearings: Join us on January 7th

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    The legislative money committees will hold their regional budget hearings in five locations on January 7, 2015. This is an opportunity for citizens to have their voices heard by some of the most influential members of the General Assembly. The Campaign for Children’s Mental Health wants to once again have a presence at all five hearing, so we need your help!  Details of the hearings are below.

    If you would like to speak at one of the hearings, please contact us at Ashley@vakids.org. We will provide talking points and more logistical information closer to the time. Thank you!

    Wednesday, January 7, 2015 in the following locations:

    Hearings begin at 10:00 a.m. 

    Prince William County-George Mason University, Manassas Campus, Hylton Performing Arts Center, Gregory Family

    Abingdon-Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center

    Hearings begin at 12:00 noon

    Williamsburg-College of William and Mary, School of Education, Professional Development Center 
    Martinsville-New College Institute, Building on Baldwin 
    Richmond-General Assembly Building, House Room D.

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  8. Budget Hearings are here: speak up for children’s mental health

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    Earlier this week Gov. McDonnell released his budget for the next two years; once session starts January 8, it will be the General Assembly’s job to amend and pass the budget. But first, the citizens get to have a say.

    Please mark your calendar for Friday, January 3, 2014. This is the time to let the state legislators who are responsible for developing the budget know what your priorities are! They need to hear from us about the continuing need for children’s mental health services.

    The budget hearings are held in 5 locations around the state on January 3rd with a panel of legislators attending each one. It is a great opportunity to speak out about the effectiveness of and ongoing need for crisis response and child psychiatry services, as well as, the need for transition age (16-25) mental health services.

    More specifically, we are looking for volunteers to talk about the following: 

    -Has your Community Service Board (CSB) and/or community benefited from the new children’s mental health funding for crisis response services and child psychiatry? If so, can you testify about that and/or find a family who can?

    -Does your community still need better access to child psychiatry or crisis response services?  We want these services to continue to expand in Virginia, so if you can speak to that need, that would be great!

    -Do you have a story to tell about the need for services specifically designed for older teens and young adults to help them make the transition to adulthood and adult mental health treatment?   We want the transition from the child mental health system to adult mental health system to improve, so speaking to this need would be helpful.

    So where are the hearings?

    Harrisonburg – Friday, January 3, 2013 at 12:00 noon: James Madison University, Festival Student and Conference Center

    Hampton – Friday, January 3, 2013 at 12:00 noon: Thomas Nelson Community College, Auditorium

    Blacksburg – Friday, January 3, 2013 at 12:00 noon: Virginia Tech, Graduate Life Center

    Richmond Area – Friday, January 3, 2013 at 12:00 noon: General Assembly Building, House Room D

    Fairfax County – Friday, January 3, 2013 at 10:00 a.m.: Fairfax County Government Center, Board of Supervisors Auditorium

    Voices and the Campaign for Children’s Mental Health are currently recruiting volunteers who are willing to testify at one of these hearings. Again, we will provide talking points and tips for you ahead of time. We also need volunteers to stand in line for the speakers to register them—so if you want to help but don’t want to speak, this is a job for you!

    Also, if you can’t attend a hearing but would like to share your story, we can submit written testimonies as well. Just let us know if you are interested.

    Please contact me for more information and to volunteer: Ashley@vakids.org  Thank you!

    Ashley Everette, Campaign Coordinator

  9. Speak up at state budget hearings on Jan. 4!

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    January 4, 2013 is the time to let the state legislators know that children are our priority! They need to hear from us about the continuing need for children’s mental health services, home visiting for vulnerable families, and early intervention services for infants and toddlers.

    The budget hearings are held in 5 locations around the state on that day, with a panel of legislators attending each one. It is a great opportunity to speak out about the devastating consequences to children and families when we do not invest in children’s well-being.

    Top 5 reasons to testify at a budget hearing:

    5. You only have to speak for 3 minutes or less.

    4. You will not be asked any questions, so no need to fear getting a question you can’t answer!

    3. You will be given talking points ahead of time, and there will be a Voices for Virginia’s Children staff member at each hearing to provide support.

    2. Your comments can help shape the state budget for the next year as it pertains to children’s services.

    1. Speaking out educates our legislators, reduces the stigma of mental health disorders and developmental delays, and helps make Virginia a better place to live for kids and their families!

    So where are the hearings?

    Manassas – Friday, January 4, 2013 at 10:00 a.m.: Hylton Performing Arts Center, George Mason University, Prince William Campus
    Middletown – Friday, January 4, 2013 at 12:00 noon: Lord Fairfax Community College, Corron Community Development Center
    Virginia Beach – Friday, January 4, 2013 at 12:00 noon: Tidewater Community College, Advanced Technology Center Theater
    Roanoke – Friday, January 4, 2013 at 12:00 noon: Virginia Western Community College, Business Science Building, Whitman Theater
    Richmond Area – Friday, January 4, 2013 at 12:00 noon: Virginia State University, Virginia Hall, Anderson-Turner Auditorium

    Voices and the Campaign for Children’s Mental Health are currently recruiting volunteers who are willing to testify at one of these hearings. Again, we will provide talking points and tips for you ahead of time. We need folks to talk about the importance of community-based crisis services and child psychiatry for children’s mental health, the need to restore funding to the evidence-based home visiting programs of CHIP and Healthy Families, and the need to fully fund Part C Early Intervention services so that babies are not put on waiting lists. We also need volunteers to stand in line for the speakers to register them—so if you want to help but don’t want to speak, this is a job for you!

    Please contact policy director Margaret Nimmo Crowe for more information and to volunteer: margaret@vakids.org. Thank you!