Restore Funding for Home Visiting!

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Families Forward Virginia Advocacy

The Va. General Assembly is a few weeks from finishing its work, and we’ve been busy advocating for children and parents all session.

We had 8 “Virtual Visits with Parents” from all over the Commonwealth. We had over 100 parents and program staff speak directly to their elected officials about how Home Visiting has helped them be better parents, and how families need financial help to afford the basics such as clothing, housing, and transportation.

You can see a list of bills we were tracking this session here.

On Sunday Feb 20th, the Va. House and Va. Senate released their budgets and unfortunately our top priority, a budget amendment to help CHIP Home Visiting become an evidence based program, was not included in either budget. Needless to say this is a shocking and disappointing outcome.

On the bright side, the Va Senate budget included an expansion of the Refundable Earned Income Tax Credit so that means we could see low paid families getting more economic assistance next year. There were also several bills such as Del. Kathy Tran’s HB 1043, which addresses child sexual abuse in youth sport that passed the house and are on the Senate floor for final approval. 

The released budgets also include:

  • increases in k-12 public education funding

  • modest increases to add early reading specialists for schools

  • additional funding for pre-k programs

  • modest increases in Medicaid dental rates

  • funding for state agencies to improve language access

  • increased funding for the Va. Housing Trust Fund to build more affordable housing  

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You can get updates on advocacy by following our Policy Director on Twitter!

What is Advocacy?
Advocacy is as basic as speaking on behalf of oneself or others to get something done. For example, as child advocates we seek to ensure that the children in our community have a voice and that their needs are met. This can mean speaking on behalf of children and families to your local community officials, your state-level elected officials, or your federal policy-makers.

Helpful resources include this Advocacy 101 Webinar and this Advocacy Guide.


Why Advocate for Families?

The most obvious reason to be a child and family advocate is that you care. You care about the children in our country and want them to be safe, healthy, and happy. It follows that you want to help ensure that local, state, and federal policy-makers adopt, implement, and maintain important policies and programs that support children families. In order to ensure that these policies and programs are maintained, it is critical to have a sustained vocal and noticeable presence at all levels of policy-making. You can be part of that presence; and therefore, you can be part of the effort to protect our nations children and families.

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Decades of research have shown that the creation of positive childhood experiences can mitigate the effects of adversity. 

While brain science has helped us understand how adverse childhood experiences cause toxic stress for children, which can lead to poor health outcomes, we also know that positive childhood experiences protect adult mental health and promote healing from toxic stress."

Melissa T. Merrick PhD, President and CEO, Prevent Child Abuse America