Tag: Children’s Action Alliance

Children’s Action Alliance — Pandemic’s impact on routine child vaccination puts Arizonans of all ages at risk

| July 20, 2021
Children’s Action Alliance — Pandemic’s impact on routine child vaccination puts Arizonans of all ages at risk

Arizona has long had some of the most lenient childhood vaccination policies in the nation. Parents of children enrolled in school or child care can refuse to immunize their children by submitting a medical, religious, or personal belief exemption. The use of these exemptionshas skyrocketed over the past few years. Unsurprisingly, our schools are rapidly losing herd immunity to diseases that pose a serious risk to children, older adults, immune-compromised individuals, and pregnant people and their newborns.

The newly approved budget passed by Governor Ducey and the Legislature further compromises our ability to protect those with vulnerable immune systems. Tucked in the budget is a blanket prohibition on “COVID-19 vaccine passports.” It also prohibits schools from requiring the COVID-19 or HPV vaccines, and adds layers of red tape that must be completed by the Arizona Department of Health Services before any new vaccine can be required for school attendance.  

A new report by researchers at Georgetown’s Center for Children and Families sheds light on a growing crisis, one fueled by inequity in our health care systems.

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Children’s Action Alliance — Arizona’s legislators missed a unique opportunity this legislative session

| July 20, 2021
Children’s Action Alliance — Arizona’s legislators missed a unique opportunity this legislative session

Arizona’s legislators had a unique opportunity this legislative session.  The pandemic did not result in state revenues falling to the $1 billion deficit that was expected.  Instead, analysts projected there was more than $1 billion in ongoing, unobligated revenues plus nearly $3 billion in one-time cash.  These funds could have been used to invest in Arizona’s future.  From public schools to health care to state highways, many opportunities exist to make improvements that would have long-lasting impacts on our state.  Instead, the legislature squandered this opportunity and passed record-breaking tax cuts that reduce revenue so much the tax cuts cannot be fully phased in until after fiscal year 2024.   

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Children’s Action Alliance — Foster Youth Delivered Petition to Distribute Federal Relief Funds

| July 13, 2021
Children’s Action Alliance — Foster Youth Delivered Petition to Distribute Federal Relief Funds

(July 13), Fostering Advocates Arizona (FAAZ), a group of policy leaders with lived experience in foster care, delivered a petition signed by nearly 600 Arizonans to Governor Doug Ducey and Department of Child Safety (DCS) Director Mike Faust urging them to use federal COVID relief funds to provide young people who aged-out of foster care with a $500 check.  In early March, the state received $10.5M in additional funding to help older and former foster youth get through the pandemic, but to date, less than $1M has made it into the hands of young people and time is running out for former foster youth ages 21 through 26 who will lose eligibility for the funds on September 30th.  

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Children’s Action Alliance — Babies and Toddlers Need Help Too!

| June 29, 2021
Children’s Action Alliance — Babies and Toddlers Need Help Too!

The pandemic has raised awareness of several issues and gaps in the early childhood system that have long existed. Much focus has been placed on the needs of preschool and school aged children and the gaps in access to high quality child care, but we do not want to forget our babies and toddlers who have entered the world during this tumultuous time. To help accomplish that, earlier this month a bipartisan group of Senators reintroduced the Resilience Investment, Support, and Expansion (“RISE”) from Trauma Act. This legislation is aimed at supporting children who have been exposed to Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and trauma.

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Children’s Action Alliance — Arizona Families with Children Continue to Struggle During the Pandemic

| June 22, 2021
Children’s Action Alliance — Arizona Families with Children Continue to Struggle During the Pandemic

Since 2019, more Arizona children are living in high poverty areas, and more children in the state are without health insurance, according to the 2021 KIDS COUNTĒį Data Book, a 50-state report of recent household data developed by the Annie E. Casey Foundation analyzing how families have fared between the Great Recession and the COVID-19 crisis. In Arizona, 15% of children live in high poverty areas compared with the national average of 9%, and in 2019, 9% of Arizona children are without health insurance compared with the national average of 6%.

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Children’s Action Alliance — SCOTUS Upholds the Affordable Care Act!!!

| June 22, 2021
Children’s Action Alliance — SCOTUS Upholds the Affordable Care Act!!!

Have you heard the news? (On June 17) the Supreme Court of the United States determined that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is here to stay. The 7-2 ruling by the court is a huge victory for all Americans, including the 31 million people who currently have health insurance through either the ACA Marketplace or Medicaid Expansion. If the Court ruled the other way, these individuals would have been in immediate danger of losing their health care during a deadly pandemic. 

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Children’s Action Alliance — Foster Youth Need Stimulus Payments – No Strings Attached

| June 15, 2021
Children’s Action Alliance — Foster Youth Need Stimulus Payments – No Strings Attached

Yesterday, the Department of Child Safety finally re-launched an online portal to distribute COVID relief funds to older and former foster youth. The new portal, administered by Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation, allows young people ages 14 through 26 to apply for needs-based pandemic relief. $10.5M in federal funds for the relief were allocated to Arizona in early March, but DCS is having trouble getting the money out the door—and time is running out for young people ages 21 through 26 who will lose eligibility on September 30th.   

The first iteration of the portal was cumbersome and the process was time-consuming. Although DCS agreed to correct the problems and re-launch a new version of the portal, nearly two months have gone by without any way for young people to apply for funds while a new portal and process were readied. Unfortunately, even though the process may be improved, DCS continues to rely on need-based criteria to distribute the funds. Despite federal guidance, urging from community stakeholders, and a spate of other states that have adopted the strategy, Arizona refuses to make stimulus checks available to all eligible young people who have aged out of foster care.  

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Virtual Event on May 26 — Arizona State Budget: Tax Cuts, Prop 208 and Funding for Children

| May 25, 2021
Virtual Event on May 26 — Arizona State Budget: Tax Cuts, Prop 208 and Funding for Children

Arizona’s legislative leaders are proposing a roughly $13 billion spending plan that includes almost $3 billion in tax cuts over three years. The plan also seeks to negate the effects of Prop 208. Not included in the plan is the proposal to expand KidsCare. How else does this plan affecting funding for children? What are its chances of passing? Send in your questions. Tune in – it’s free to attend!

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Children’s Action Alliance — #ReleaseTheFunds: Make sure pandemic relief intended for foster youth gets to foster youth!

| May 25, 2021
Children’s Action Alliance — #ReleaseTheFunds: Make sure pandemic relief intended for foster youth gets to foster youth!

Young people who have aged out of foster care were at high risk for experiencing homelessness, unemployment, food instability, and other negative outcomes prior to the pandemic, and COVID-19 has heightened their vulnerability. Even as conditions begin to improve in Arizona, the recovery tail will be longer for these young people who do not have family to support them as they try to regroup, recoup, and reengage in school and work.   

The Department of Child Safety has almost $10.5M for pandemic relief for older and former foster youth. But, to date, DCS has distributed just $500,000 to young people.Slowed down by a cumbersome, individualized, needs-based process, DCS has had trouble getting the money out the door.   And for most young people, time is of the essence. Eligibility for the funds was expanded to include young people ages 21 through 26, but only until September 30th.   

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Children’s Action Alliance — CARES Act funds for the Child Care Workforce Retention and Recruitment Grant program

| May 11, 2021
Children’s Action Alliance — CARES Act funds for the Child Care Workforce Retention and Recruitment Grant program

For months, the early childhood community has experienced a workforce shortage crisis, and as more Arizonans return to work, it has been a challenge for child care providers to hire enough staff.  For health and safety reasons, child care providers must maintain strict child-to-staff ratios, and with no new staff onboard, many have had to turn away parents seeking care for their children.

But help is now on the way!

On Friday, to coincide with Child Care Provider Appreciation Day, Governor Ducey and DES announced the release of $9M in remaining CARES Act funds for the Child Care Workforce Retention and Recruitment Grant program.

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