5 State Victories for Kids in 2018

Save the Children Action Network advocates in Colorado.

Many states are facing multiple crises—from a lack of affordable, high-quality child care to supporting at-risk parents and children, especially in communities impacted by the opioid epidemic.

As state legislatures across the country wrap-up their legislative sessions for 2018, SCAN advocates pushed lawmakers to achieve these 5 bipartisan victories. They include:

1. Making high-quality child care more affordable in Colorado.

In Colorado, lawmakers passed two bills to increase funding for high-quality early learning and make it more affordable for low- and middle-income families to afford child care. The state’s Child Care Contribution Tax Credit passed with bipartisan support to continue a public-private partnership that provides much-needed funding for early childhood education. Lawmakers also expanded the Child Care Expenses Income Tax Credit increasing the amount of money working families get back to help pay for high-quality child care.

2. Providing stable child care for Illinois low-income working families.

In Illinois, overwhelming bipartisan majorities passed HB 4965, which extends eligibility for families in the state’s Child Care Assistance Program to a full year, which is now in line with federal requirements. No longer will at-risk families have to wonder every few months whether they will have necessary child care. This provides a consistent caring and learning environment for kids and more stability for working parents across Illinois.

3. New resources to help at-risk New Hampshire families.

In New Hampshire, voluntary home visiting services provide new and expecting parents with the support and knowledge they need to provide for kids that are healthy and ready to learn. Successful advocacy pushed lawmakers to increase funding for home visiting programs by $250,000—providing much needed funds for community-based family resource centers that can provide parents with assistance.

4. Ensuring kids in Tennessee are ready to learn.

Following nearly a decade of funding cuts for voluntary home visiting and parent support programs aimed at benefitting young children in Tennessee, lawmakers approved $1.4 million in new annual funding in the state’s budget. Advocates also celebrated $500,000 in new funding for “Breakfast After the Bell” programs that give kids nutritious meals and ensure they’re ready to learn.

5. A historic boost for Washington’s home visiting programs.

Finally in Washington, lawmakers approved an unprecedented $2.3 million funding increase for voluntary home visiting programs. They recognized that giving support to parents and kids in their earliest years of life is highly impactful and important to child development. This funding boost means 275 additional children and families will benefit from these services.

This exciting progress is the result of advocates like you who took action by calling, emailing and writing your state lawmakers to ask them to prioritize kids. SCAN volunteers and student advocates educated voters at dozens of events and community activities and collectively we sent more than 3,000 messages to state legislators this session.

Each of these victories was supported by strong bipartisan majorities. Elected officials and candidates running for office should take note—investing in high-quality early childhood education is a winning issue among voters and we should keep pushing to build upon these successes for kids!

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Ed Stierli is the State Director of Mobilization at SCAN. He has more than 10 years of grassroots organizing experience in support of education and environmental campaigns.  He has a B.S. in History and Political Science from Florida State University and a Master’s in Public Policy from George Mason University.