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Tag Archive: Governor Northam

  1. Governor Northam’s 2021 Budget Proposal

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    On Wednesday, Governor Northam announced his proposed amendments to the 2020-2022 biennial budget. The proposed budget focuses on funding for Virginia’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, paths for economic recovery and steps to advance a progressive agenda. As noted in our initial response, although we recognize some of the investments toward early childhood education, child welfare and school counselors, the budget simply falls short for Virginia’s children.

    In summary, the budget does not go as far as we would like to provide the level of support children and families need to recover economically, or socially, and emotionally from the pandemic. As the legislature already took action to restore some of the unallotted items in the budget during the 2020 Special Session, the governor’s revised budget only adds additional funds and policy changes for the current fiscal year and FY22 beginning on July 1, 2021.  

    We are disappointed that the budget did not include funding for a dedicated position to staff the Governor’s Children’s Cabinet and advise on children’s issues. We hope to pursue this effort to intentionally ensure the needs of children are prioritized.  

    Some highlights of the Governor’s budget proposal include: 

    Early Childhood & Education

    • Restoring $11¬†million¬†to the Virginia preschool initiative to increase per pupil funding and provide additional flexibility to localities to serve 3 and 4-year-olds.¬†¬†
    • Increasing the Early Educator Incentive Awards by $5 million to provide¬†additional¬†$1,500 incentive grants to early educators.¬†¬†
    • Providing approximately $100 million in additional funding to protect public education from enrollment loses and sales tax declines.¬†¬†
    • The¬†budget¬†includes bonus payments for teachers and additional funding to increase broadband access¬†to help schools and teachers respond to the¬†pandemic.
    • An additional $27 million to hire school counselors to bring the ratio of counselors to students to 1:325.¬†

    Health & Mental Health

    • $2.4 million was provided to increase access to doula care for pregnant women. Doulas have been shown to have a demonstrated impact to reduce racial disparities in maternal health.¬†¬†
    • $38,564 for FY¬†22 in funding to allow members enrolled in FAMIS MOMS to access to treatment in an Institution for Mental Diseases under the Addiction and Recovery Treatment Services (ART) waiver.¬†
    • $771,612¬†additional funds¬†for¬†FY¬†21-22¬†were¬†provided¬†for the administrative cost required to implement the Marcus Alert legislation. The funds will be used to maintain the crisis hotline, evaluate the current capacity of the crisis systems in localities, and lastly, to¬†provide contractual funds for a public advertising campaign.¬†¬†

    Child Welfare

    • The Social Services budget includes¬†$14 million of state and federal funds¬†to begin the implementation of the Families First Prevention Services Act providing services and supports to families at-risk of their children entering the foster care system.¬†¬†
    • $75,000¬†to implement¬†an¬†emergency¬†approval process for¬†kinship¬†placements.¬†
    • Requires the Virginia Department of Social Services to develop a plan to provide access statewide to a Kinship Navigator Program which will provide services to kinship caregivers who are having trouble finding assistance for their unique needs.¬†

    Family Economic Security

    • The¬†governor‚Äôs budget restores the Housing Trust Fund to $50 million to provide financial resources to avoid eviction and provide rental assistance.¬†
    • The budget includes several changes that will make eligibility and enrollment more streamlined for the SNAP food security program and TANF financial security program.¬†¬†¬†

    Campaign for a Trauma-Informed Virginia: Racial Truth & Reconciliation

    • $517,553 in FY22 to provide general fund support to the Virginia Helping Everyone Access Services (HEALS) program, which concentrates its efforts on early identification and intervention to lessen the impact of trauma in children, including COVID-19 related challenges.¬†

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  2. Early Childhood Education Budget Details- Gov. Northam’s Proposed Budget

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    As we learned from the exciting announcements from December 9th on maternal health and December 10th on early education, Governor Northam’s FY2021-2022 budget makes significant investments in healthy births and young children. These investments will help to close the opportunity gaps and help to ensure all children enter school healthy and ready to learn. Read more about the budget proposals here:

    An additional $95 M to serve economically disadvantaged 3 & 4 year-olds in public and private preschool

    Low-income families and children will benefit from additional support to attend preschool. Private preschool providers will benefit from tools and incentives to support mixed-delivery. Localities will benefit from additional in-kind contributions for local match and flexibility to collaborate among programs. These proposals include:

    • Increasing the Virginia Preschool Initiative (VPI) per pupil amount to $6,959 in FY21 & $7,655 in FY22;
    • Providing an $2,500 incentive per child to promote mixed-delivery of services through private providers for approximately 2,000 students;
    • Providing an additional $13 M over two years to fund increased VPI class sizes and teacher to student ratios;
    • Increasing the in-kind contribution for local match from 25 percent to up to 50 percent.
    • Creating a set-aside to serve children in localities that having waiting lists for preschool.
    • Allocating funds and establishing a process to serve additional three-year-olds; and
    • Providing $10 M per year for mixed-delivery grants administered by VECF and expanding those grants to serve 3 year-olds.

    Additional early childhood system improvements include:

    • An additional $8 M over two years to increase the Early Childhood Educator Incentive created through the Preschool Development Grant Birth to Five grant.
    • Increased support for VPI classroom observations and professional development.
    • Transfer the responsibility of the federal Child Care Development Fund (CCDF) grant from the Department of Social Services to the Department of Education and consolidate state oversight with the Department of Education and the Board of Education. Transfer would be in effect July 2021. Along with the oversight transfer 150 licensing positions to the Department of education.
    • Increase funding for Part C – Early Intervention services by $2.5 M in FY21 and $3.9M in FY22 to serve 4% increase in children identified.

    Reduce racial disparities in maternal health and improve healthy births

    • Provide $13 M in state funding and the authority to submit a state plan amendment to create a home visiting service for high risk pregnant women and new mothers funded by Medicaid. Asks the Medicaid agency to create a stakeholder workgroup to shape the proposal.
    • Additional funding to extend FAMIS MOMS coverage for low-income pregnant women to 12 months postpartum.
    • Adds language to study a Medicaid benefit for doula care.