Tag Archive: working families

  1. Urgent Action Needed to Prevent Virginia’s Child Care Cliff: Your Voice Matters

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    Life has thrown Virginia families more than their fair share of challenges in recent years. From the upheaval of the COVID-19 pandemic to the strain of school closures and economic uncertainty, families have shown incredible strength. However, a new crisis is on the horizon, one that could devastate the foundation of Virginia’s communities: the impending child care cliff.

    The Looming Crisis

    A recent analysis highlighted a grim scenario: without swift intervention from Congress, an estimated 88,265 children in Virginia are on the brink of losing their child care beginning September 30. This alarming projection stems from the anticipated closure of nearly 1,400 child care programs across the state. As families are already grappling with rising costs and a lack of affordable child care, this crisis could have far-reaching consequences.

    The Human Face of the Crisis

    As a mother who works outside of the home, this issue hits close to home for me. My own family went through the challenges of child care upheaval during the pandemic. The closure of my son’s child care provider due to health concerns left us scrambling to find alternative solutions for him. Later, it became evident that he needed additional support. Our journey through assessments and evaluations eventually led us to the Chesterfield County pre-kindergarten program, where he finally received the specialized care he required.

    Sr. Policy and Programs Director with her son, Perry at the Virginia General Assembly

    Through this personal experience, I gained a profound understanding of the critical significance of accessible and high-quality child care for every child. As federal funding for child care approaches its expiration, families like mine are bracing for even greater obstacles in securing the necessary care and support our children need to truly flourish.

    Other families shared their stories in The Campaign for a Family Friendly Virginia’s storybook.

    A Beacon of Hope: The Childcare for Working Families Act

    Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, along with Senators Patty Murray, Bob Casey, and Mazie Hirono, recognize the urgency of this situation. They are advocating for the passage of the Child Care for Working Families Act—a bill that could provide the lifeline Virginia families need. This bill aims to offer critical federal funding to stabilize the child care sector and alleviate the financial burden on families.

    Under the proposed legislation, most families would pay $10 a day or less for child care, ensuring that the cost won’t become an insurmountable obstacle. Additionally, the bill seeks to prevent the projected closure of child care programs by providing subsidies to child care providers. These subsidies would guarantee a living wage for child care workers and elevate their roles to be more on par with elementary school teachers. The bill also envisions expanding access to Pre-K and full-day, full-year Head Start programs, enhancing early childhood education across the state.

    Your Voice Matters: Act Now

    As the countdown to September 30th looms, your voice is needed more than ever. Use our link to email your local congressperson today and urge them to support the Child Care for Working Families Act. By doing so, you can help prevent a catastrophic loss of child care for tens of thousands of Virginia’s families. Let your congressperson know that this issue directly impacts their constituents, and that the future of our communities depends on their support.

    The time for action is now. By raising your voice and advocating for the Child Care for Working Families Act, you are standing up for Virginia’s families, children, and the prosperity of our commonwealth. Together, we can ensure that the child care cliff becomes averted, allowing families to continue thriving and children to have the opportunities they deserve.

  2. FAMIS: A Success Story That’s in Jeopardy

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    ***UPDATE*** 1/6/15    Sign on letter for organizations supporting extension of funding for FAMIS

    FAMIS, the public health insurance program for low-income families, along with Medicaid, has helped reduce the number of uninsured children in Virginia by 24% from 2008 to 2013. Comprehensive, child-centered benefits and affordable cost-sharing with families make FAMIS an effective means of ensuring that children in low-income, working families grow up getting the preventive and primary health care they need to thrive. Both Republicans and Democrats have championed this public health success for kids in Virginia.

    Without action by Congress, however, funding for the entire Children’s Health Insurance Program (which we call FAMIS in Virginia), will expire at the end of September 2015. If this happens, it will be left up to each state to take over the entire cost of insuring these children (the federal government currently covers 67% of the cost) or discontinue the program, leaving an estimated 104,000 Virginia children without insurance. It is unlikely Virginia would take over full financing of the program, as the federal assistance is built into the FY15-FY16 state budget, and the Commonwealth already faces a deficit.

    Loss of the FAMIS program would essentially double the number of uninsured children in the Commonwealth. According to a new report released today by the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, “Children’s Coverage at A Crossroads: Progress Slows,” 5.4% of the Commonwealth’s children, or more than 101,000 kids, remain uninsured.

    “Without a renewed commitment to children’s health coverage, we are concerned that the progress we’ve made for children will stall,” said Joan Alker, executive director of the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families. You can listen to a Virginia News Connection story about the report here.

    In Virginia, Gov. Terry McAuliffe has already taken action to increase outreach efforts to low-income families throughout the state. As part of his September 2014 Healthy Virginia report, Gov. McAuliffe announced additional funding to reach families who may be eligible for FAMIS but are not aware of the program, or who need help applying. According to the Department of Medical Assistance Services, this outreach has already begun in Southwest Virginia, an important area to target since 22% of the uninsured kids in Virginia live in rural areas.

    Child advocates must focus on educating Congress about the importance of refunding CHIP before the program expires. This will ensure that Virginia’s low-income working families do not lose the comprehensive health coverage they now have for their children. Voices is partnering with the Virginia Oral Health Coalition, the Virginia Poverty Law Center, The Commonwealth InstituteVirginia Organizing, and many others to advocate on this issue. Stay tuned for details on how you can take action!

    Would your organization like to join the coalition? Contact Ashley Everette at ashley@vakids.org.