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Voices for America’s Children is a Washington, DC based national, non-profit, non-partisan network of organizations, advocating for effective public policies for children at the local, state and federal levels of government. Celebrating 25 years of advocacy for kids in 2009, Voices now has 60 member organizations in nearly every state.
Voices believes in Improving the Healthy Development of Children by Strengthening Broad-based Child Advocacy Networks, and is committed to working on critical child health and child abuse issues.
Voices has set a goal that all children will have access to quality health care coverage by 2013. During 2009, CRY America support enabled Voices member organizations to improve health coverage for all children through both state and federal actions, including training, technical assistance, and workshops on broader children’s health issues.
Voices developed a strategy with partners that builds upon and coordinates with state work and the experiences of Voices members involved in child health policy with the needs for proactive engagement with federal policymakers.
They developed and promoted messages towards providing health care coverage for all children, including materials (toolkits, electronic tools, other publications, templates), and training. They provided tools and technical assistance to Voices members in the field to ensure that states implement the new Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP) law to ensure coverage of maximum children in need. Messaging and training focus was that a child’s health needs know no border, skin color, or nationality.
Voices worked on broader health care reform with policymakers in Congress, to ensure that all children have developmentally-appropriate health. For the last two and a half years, Voices has served on the Steering Committee of the National Home Visiting Coalition. This work is likely to result in provision of upto $1.5 billion for evidence-based home visitation services over the next five years.
Voices has also helped craft a draft proposal for the reauthorization of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) with congressional staffers. Specific new inclusions include coordination with early learning systems, mental health/substance abuse and domestic violence providers.
2010 will be a critical year for federal child health policy. Over the next year, Voices will help integrate state-level advocacy with national-level work on child health quality issues and create champions within Congress for such changes. These ongoing efforts will help sustain and leverage the work and relationships that Voices established with members of Congress and their health staff during the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) reauthorization campaign.
Voices members have been leaders in developing policies to create medical homes, provide dental and other health coverage, conduct parental depression screening as part of well-child care, and expand coverage for developmental health services within Medicaid.Sustaining and building upon these efforts requires the following:
- A strong national presence by Voices on behalf of its members, working with national partners.
- Assistance to Voices members strategically positioned to influence local, state, and federal policy on these issues.
- Communications support for building public and political will at both the state and federal levels.
- Networking, peer learning, and advocacy opportunities for Voices members to share expertise and engage in federal advocacy, through regular convening and Capitol Hill visits.
- Access to technical assistance and expert presenters for strategic work within states with members and their partner organizations.
Voices will continue efforts for a successful reauthorization of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act. They will continue to serve as a key partner in implementing the Fostering Connections to Success and Increasing Adoptions Act, the landmark legislation that seeks broad improvements to the child welfare system. The successful implementation of the kinship guardianship provision, specifically, will strengthen child stability and lead to reduced maltreatment rates as children are able to stay with safe, caring members of their family when they enter the foster care system.
Voices will continue its work with legislative staff in crafting proposals that lead to the safe reduction of children in foster care through enhanced family support, stronger community relationships, and effective practices that focus on children before they are in harm’s way.
CRY America’s 2009-2010 grant to Voices will be directed towards Voices Child Abuse Prevention and Child Health initiatives, the purpose of which is to sustain the work of Voices at the state & federal level for health insurance coverage for all children; promotion of a health coverage model that meets children’s health needs, continued efforts on the reauthorization of the Child Abuse Prevention & Treatment Act; effective implementation of the Fostering Connections to Success & Increasing Adoptions Act and other policy advocacy efforts that keep children healthy and protected from harm.
For more information about Voices, please visit www.Voices.org
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