February is always a short month, but this February flew by! Between action (or snow days) in the legislature and the big Chiefs win at the beginning of the month, we can’t believe it’s over already. Check out some of the work we’ve been up to and the ways we’ve been connecting with partners and policymakers to make Missouri a better place for kids.
Shoutout to our Partners!
- This month, there were many opportunities for collaboration in advocacy. We especially want to thank the 20+ partners who showed up to support HB 2379, providing 12-month continuous coverage in MOHealthNet for children. We always want to support our partners in their advocacy efforts and provide opportunities to engage with us in advancing our coalition’s priorities. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to staff if there’s an issue on which you’d like to engage with us.
- We have so many amazing partners doing incredible work throughout the state – we decided it was past time for us to begin putting the spotlight on the amazing work happening for children throughout the state.Check out our first Partner Spotlight from February with Erica Williams, Executive Director and Founder of A Red Circle.
Our Work & News from Throughout the State
- Casey spent some time meeting with parent leaders from Kansas City and preparing for several upcoming community conversations with parents throughout the state. As we work to engage those impacted by the policies we advance, parents bring a critical voice and perspective to our policy development and advocacy work. We enjoyed the opportunity to hear from parents and look forward to continued engagement with parents as we work to make Missouri a better place for our children.
- We hosted a community conversation with some home and faith-based providers in the Kansas City area with support from Mid-America Regional Council. As we continue to work on improving quality, increasing accessing, and developing and supporting the workforce in early childhood, it is critical to engage with those on the frontlines, caring for our children.
- We continue to engage with partners around the state around our Medicaid work. Hopefully you saw the launch of Cover Our Kids, an initiative from the Missouri Budget Project, Missouri Coalition of Children’s Agencies, and Kids Win Missouri. We are still seeking partners to advocate with us for continuous coverage for kids and easing the enrollment and eligibility processes to ensure children and families can get and keep their coverage. Fill out this form if you are interested in engaging to tell us the ways you’d like to be involved. We also encourage you to continue sharing stories with us about Medicaid and your experiences as a recipient or as a professional helping families navigate the system..
- Craig attended the first Early Childhood Data Summit with partners and stakeholders, which centered on data alignment, evaluation, and outcomes across programs. We’ll be sharing more around this as the work progresses.
- On Saturday, February 29, partners in St. Louis launched the Ready by Five campaign for early childhood funding in St. Louis County. In the long term, the initiative is modeled around the Playbook, which was the final product of a year-long initiative led by WEPower in St. Louis to identify needs and develop an action plan to reimagine and redesign the early childhood system in the St. Louis region. The Ready by Five campaign for St. Louis County sales tax funding is the first phase of the initiative. Learn more on the Ready by Five website.
Policymakers took steps on some of our policy priorities in February.
- A 12-month continuous eligibility bill (HB 2379) was filed and had a committee hearing held.
- The Subcommittee on Appropriations—Health, Mental Health, and Social Services recommended to the House Budget Committee a $3 million federal authority increase for possibly accepting home visiting funding through Medicaid.
- A comprehensive bill (HB 2216) on foster and adoptive care includes three components of our youth homeless legislation. This bill moved through the Rules Committee and may see House Floor debate as early as this week.
- A bill to reorganize the Coordinating Board for Early Childhood (CBEC) was referred to committee on February 20.
Bills We Testified on in February
Coming Up in March
- In March, we’ll be hosting more community conversations with providers, parents, and community leaders in Springfield, Kennett, and St. Joseph. We’re also planning for future conversations in St. Louis, Joplin, Columbia, and Moberly.
- As we build toward Child Advocacy Day, we’ll be working with the committee to host some trainings and share resources to help prepare participants for the big day.
- On March 11, you can attend a 30 minute Lunch & Learn Webinar to learn how to share your story with policymakers on Child Advocacy Day. Register for the Webinar here.
- We’ll share more information and resources with our email list as we have them available throughout the month. If you haven’t registered or need more information about Child Advocacy Day, visit the Child Advocacy Day website here.