Pass The Children’s Assurance of Foster Care Act
September 23, 2016 – The Michigan House of Representatives has passed a package of bills that are a step in the right direction in addressing barriers faced by children, youth and families and improving their outcomes in the state’s foster care system. There is still time to get these bills through the Senate and to the Governor to sign, but that has to happen before the end of the year. If not, the bills would have to be re-drafted and the process through the Legislature would have to start over again in 2017.
ACTION: Find out the steps that you can take to give this Legislature the opportunity to finish this critical legislation by reading our most recent Action Alert.
Act Now for More Child Care Funding
September 14, 2016 – If the Legislature and Administration do not act by September 30, 2016, Michigan is poised to lose over $20 million in federal Child Care and Development Funds (CCDF) – money intended to support low-income working families access high quality child care for young children and afterschool and summer learning options for school-aged children. Michigan is only a handful of states – and the only Midwest state – that returns CCDF, and no other state has ever returned this level of funding. This is unacceptable given that Michigan consistently ranks at the bottom of states when it comes to our child care subsidy system. This funding can be used to ensure high quality child care for low-income working families with children from birth to age 12 are available – opportunities that can ensure children are ready for school and staying academically on-track. And in fact, a newly released report by the Michigan Department of Education points to numerous challenges with the state’s child care system and highlights recommendations to improve the system.
ACTION: Contact the Governor and your State Representative and Senator today and tell them to move a fiscal year 2016 supplemental budget bill by the end of this month that includes the state match needed – about $7.5 million – to maintain over $20 million in federal child care money.
Finish What’s Been Started
September 14, 2016 – With ever fewer days left of the Michigan legislative session, important legislation needs to be finished or risk efforts needing to begin again in 2017. Three sets of legislation important to children, youth and families — particularly children, youth and families facing the most challenges in their lives — are still on the table, passing only through the State House, but not the Senate. The Children’s Assurance of Quality Foster Care Act, the Raise the Age package and efforts to improve school discipline laws are all awaiting Senate action. Efforts to improve third-grade reading need to be approved by a conference committee.
ACTION: Contact your state Representatives and Senators, ask them to support all of these efforts and urge their colleagues support quick passage of all packages.
Medicaid Study Needed for Early On
August 24, 2016 – Michigan continues to ignore the needs of Early On, which supports families of young children birth to age three who have developmental delays or disabilities. Many states utilize Medicaid funds to support early intervention services, but Medicaid is inconsistently and infrequently used in Michigan. In the FY2017 state budget, $25,000 to commission a Medicaid maximization study for Early On was included in the House-passed FY2017 budget but was not in the final budget.
ACTION: Urge your lawmakers – particularly your State Senators – to support a Medicaid maximization study for Early On through a FY2017 budget supplemental. Let them know that Medicaid is the 2nd largest funding source for Early On in the nation yet underutilized in Michigan, and that adequate funding is needed to see reduced need for special education.