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Tag Archive: public health

  1. Our Statement on the Events of January 6, 2021

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    As we watched the events unfold on Wednesday, January 6 at the United States Capitol, we found ourselves once again awash with a host of feelings and emotions — horror, revulsion, fear, anger, heartbreak, confusion, rage, and so many more.

    Let’s make it plain, what we witnessed was white supremacy on full display. The impact is racial trauma – the mental and emotional injury caused by encounters with racial bias and ethnic discrimination, racism, and hate crimes. An individual who experiences an emotionally painful, sudden, and uncontrollable racist encounter is at risk of suffering from a race-based traumatic stress. In the U.S., we recognize that Black, Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) are most vulnerable due to living under a system of white supremacy.

    This includes our children.

    Voices for Virginia’s Children is deeply committed to working diligently by advocating for all of Virginia’s children always, but even more so during these deeply disturbing and uncertain days.   We know that young people already carry the burdens and bear the scars of violence and injustice. We see the horrific price they pay due to systemic racism and lack of equity in our society. We hear the fear and frustration in their parent’s voices as they both hope for a better life for their children but lack the evidence that it may even possibly be so.  Prior to 2020, almost one in five children experienced at least two traumatic experiences in childhood. After the challenges that came with COVID-19 and the escalated instances of racial and social injustices, we can only imagine what these numbers will look like in the coming years.

    We want a better society and life for all children.  We do not want each ensuing generation encumbered by the trauma of the past, nor injured by their own traumatic experiences. It does not have to be this way. We can do better. We must do better.   For the children, for their families, for our shared community, we all have an obligation to do everything we can to help bring about change on a personal and a systemic level.

    What’s needed is a change in our policies, a change in where we make investments and a system-wide overhaul that will finally provide an equal opportunity for children of color, children from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, and immigrant children to have the same opportunities as their white counterparts and more affluent peers.

    We can start by supporting Delegate Aird’s resolution to declare racism as a public health crisis which outlines steps Virginia can take to address systemic racism.

    Yes, this is hard work. But it’s necessary. We owe it to ourselves, to our communities, and most of all, our children and youth.

    For more resources….

  2. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act In Your Community

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    The CARES Act was signed into law on March 27th to create a $2 trillion economic stimulus efforts for business, health care, communities, and families. Implementing the CARES Act will provide direct relief to some families and businesses. And it will require a number of policy choices by state and local leaders to determine how funds will be used in communities and which of the many pressing needs will be met. Learn more about what is included in the CARES Act to prepare to speak up for the needs of children and families.

    This chart shows how the $2 trillion economic stimulus impacts various sectors. We have posted a blog on the impacts on individuals. In this blog, we highlight the impacts on public health, the safety net and economic security.  

    How the CARES Act will impact your community:

    Federal, State, and Local Public Health Agencies

    $140.4 billion in funding is allocated to the Department of Health and Human Services. $127 billion goes to the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund, which encompasses $100 billion for grants to hospitals, public entities, non-profits and Medicare-and-Medicaid-enrolled suppliers and institutional providers to cover unreimbursed healthcare expenses or lost revenue. Additional funding includes:

    • $16 billion for the Strategic National Stockpile funding to help secure personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators and other medical supplies.
    • $11 billion for vaccine diagnostics and other medical needs.
    • $4.3 billion through the CDC  to federal, state, and local public health agencies to respond to COVID-19.
    • $425 million to SAMHSA for treatment mental health and substance use disorders as a result of COVID-19 pandemic with certified community behavioral health clinics receiving $250 million, including $50 million for suicide prevention and $100 million in flexible funding allotted to mental health, substance use disorders and providing resources to youth and the homeless during this time.
    • $275 million to expand capacity for rural hospitals, telehealth, poison control centers.

    Child Care 

    The child care industry serves as the backbone of the economy to support working parents under normal circumstances. Today, these providers offer a safe place for essential workers. The National Association for the Education of Young Children COVID19 response survey found that 30% of the 6,000 providers surveyed would be able to survive a closure of more than two weeks without support.  The CARES Act includes $6.3 billion to the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), including $3.5 billion in emergency funding through the Child Care & Development Block Grant (CCDBG), which allows states to provide critical relief to childcare providers. This will allow states to use funding to:

    • Provide continued payments to child care providers in response to decreased enrollment or closures.
    • Provide child care assistance regardless of income to healthcare employees, emergency responders, sanitation workers, and other workers classified as essential during the pandemic.
    • Provide funding to child care providers who did not participate in subsidy prior to COVID-19 emergency for cleaning and sanitation and other activities needed to resume program operation.

    Virginia will receive approximately $67 million in child care assistance funds.

    Human Services

    The stimulus provided minimal to moderate assistance in other areas of human services including:

    • ACF increases child welfare service flexibility by providing $45 million in federal grants to states to support child welfare services for family violence prevention services, including shelters.
    • $1 billion to the Community Services Block Grant to help local community-based organizations provide social services and emergency assistance.
    • $900 million for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program to help manage costs associated with home energy bills, energy crises, and weatherization and energy related minor home repairs.
    • $2 million for the Domestic Violence Hotline.
    • $25 million to provide assistance to runaway and homeless youth.

    Economic Stimulus Funding to States, Territories, Local and Tribal Governments

    One area that will take additional analysis to better understand and implement is the $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund for state, local and tribal governments. Virginia is estimated to receive $3.3 billion to use at the state and local level for a number of flexible purposes. Localities with populations over 500,000 people can receive up to 45% of Virginia’s total allocation.

    Funding is intended to be utilized for costs that:

    • Are necessary expenditures related to COVID-19.
    • Were unaccounted for in the most recently approved budget as of the date of the passing legislation.
    • Incurred between March 1, 2020 and December 30, 2020.

    Voices is monitoring how local governments are responding to these difficult economic choices. These stimulus funds will not solve all the problems and stresses now impacting Virginia’s children and families or the local and state government leaders wishing to respond.

    Learn more about how the Congress has taken action to ease families financial burdens on our companion blog.