Photo courtesy of Conner Baker via Unsplash
I am very excited to share the Partnership’s 2022 annual report with you – focused on the hard-fought policy wins our members around the nation achieved for kids and families. When I reached out to members for your stories, I was bowled over by what we heard.
Here’s an overview of some of the big policy changes benefiting kids that our members won last year.
Building family financial security & advocating for the Child Tax Credit
As pandemic-era federal assistance programs sunset, Partnership members worked hard to bring financial relief to low-income families in their states – with impressive results:
- Voices for Vermont’s Children removed barriers to participation in the state’s TANF program, Reach Up.
- In California, advocacy by Children Now and 450 organizational allies eliminated monthly Medi-Cal premiums for over 500,000 people.
- Connecticut Voices for Children helped pass a one-year increase in the Connecticut Earned Income Tax Credit.
- Hawai’i became the first state in the nation with an $18/hour minimum wage (!) – thanks in large part to the leadership of Hawai’i Children’s Action Network.
- And in Virginia, Voices for Virginia’s Children and allies won a ten-year campaign for a state-level refundable Earned Income Tax Credit that will benefit more than 600,000 families.
- Partnership members built on the incredible impacts of the federal Child Tax Credit (CTC) to enact or improve CTC’s in their own states, including Connecticut and Hawai’i.
Early Childhood Education Funding
The momentum behind early childhood education and child care right now is undeniable. Partnership members leveraged the new wave of appreciation for our long-neglected child care sector to boost programs nationwide:
- VOICES for Alabama’s Children championed the successful passage of a first-time, $17.8 million state investment in Alabama’s quality child care programs;
- Victory in court for the Children’s Alliance: the Washington State Supreme Court upheld the state’s new capital gains tax – securing an estimated $500 million in recurring funding for affordable child care and early learning in Washington;
- In California, Children Now and coalition partners secured billions of additional investments in child care for California families in the 2022-23 state budget;
- Kansas Action for Children won unanimous support to fix an inequity in the tax code by modernizing the Employer Child Care Tax Credit;
- Our Children Oregon advocated for an historic investment of nearly $100M into the state’s child care sector;
- Rhode Island KIDS COUNT and coalition partners won several important funding increases for early childhood programs in 2022, including improving compensation for early educators;
- Hawai’i Children’s Action Network won significant investment in early childhood education, including the restoration of funds for the preschool subsidy program that had previously been cut by the legislature; and
Thanks to advocacy from the Maine Children’s Alliance, Maine made a $12 million investment in the Maine Early Childhood Workforce Salary Supplement Program.
Using public policy to advance equity
Members in Oregon and Rhode Island made impressive gains for equity through innovative policy measures. Rhode Island will allow all eligible children to enroll in the state’s insurance program, RIte Care, and also extended Medicaid coverage from 60 days to 12 months post-partum – regardless of immigration status.
Oregon’s legislature invested in taking health care directly to Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) communities as a strategy to address racism as a public health crisis. And Oregonians facing immigration issues will now have access to legal assistance, called universal representation, helping immigrant families stay together.
Improving family health coverage
As the federal government leveraged pandemic-era policies to close holes in Medicaid coverage, members across the nation worked to extend Medicaid coverage from 60 days to 12 months post-partum. States adopting this policy in 2022 included Alabama, Arizona, California, Kansas, and Maine. This will ensure continuous health coverage (and better outcomes!) for millions of families with new babies.
Maine Children’s Alliance also advocated to bring low-cost children’s health insurance (CHIP) to more children – taking the state’s eligibility level for the program up to 300% of federal poverty level.
Fighting child hunger
Together with partners, Hawai’i Children’s Action Network won an increased federal school meal reimbursement rate for Hawaiʻi after years of advocacy – so that more children will be able to eat healthy meals at school, and fewer children will go hungry. The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy secured $3.2 million/year over three years for Oklahoma’s SNAP nutrition incentive program, Double Up Oklahoma (DUO).
Preventing child abuse & neglect and supporting kids in foster care
Several state partners won significant funding and other improvements to their states’ child welfare and foster care programs, including Vermont and Arizona. Members also advocated for expansion of home visiting programs – proven to prevent abuse early in life – in states including Arizona, Georgia, and Oregon.
Just the beginning
The staggering list of policy victories above is just a sampling of what our members achieved for kids and families in 2022. Read our annual report to delve into more inspiring policy stories from around the country! We are beyond proud of these results, and the role that the Partnership plays in helping these members work together and learn from each other’s successes.
“The national organization provides operational support through discussions about how to advocate, how to responsibly run a non-profit advocacy organization, and how to learn across states.”
–Caitlin McMunn Dooley, Voices for Georgia’s Children
Many thanks to the Partnership members who shared their hard-fought victories with us! Please stay tuned as we continue to feature highlights from Partnership members around the nation in our bi-monthly blogs.