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March 22, 2016

Contact Your Lawmakers over Spring Break to Advocate for Budget Priorities     


Legislative work-at-home breaks create an ideal time for constituents to connect over issues of prime importance to children, youth and families in their home districts.  With the state budget moving at the Capitol this month, this creates an even greater opportunity to directly advocate for spending priorities in the upcoming FY 2017 budget. 

Talk to your lawmakers about the programs and services that work best for kids and families and discuss those that need even greater support, such as Early On.  Review Michigan’s Children’s policy priorities to help get your conversations started. Set up an appointment or ask about times they will be making public appearances in your hometown.

Read Michigan’s Children’s budget reports here.



Spotlight Series Features Family Literacy


With five children and trouble finding a job, Heather Lipsey was determined to change her life and influence her children’s lives, too. So she enrolled in an adult education program at Mount Pleasant Community Education to work toward a high school diploma.  Lipsey’s story of setting a new example for academic achievement for her kids is the latest installment in our series about programs support parenting in Michigan for Parenting Awareness Month.

Read Spotlight on Parenting and Family Literacy

Supporting Family Literacy: Equipping Parents and Children with Literacy Skills for Lifelong Success (3/8/2016)
 



Kids Count Data Review Draws Call for State Funds to Programs Such as Early On


Too many indicators for child well-being continue to fall short for children in Michigan, according to the newly released 2016 Kids Count Data Book, pointing  to  state investments necessary for progress on lingering problems.  Michigan’s Children participated in a news conference in Lansing on Tuesday to provide some local context for the annual Data Book findings. Also attending were Michigan League for Public Policy (MLPP) President & CEO Gilda Jacobs, officials from the Ingham County Intermediate School District and the Early On liaison to Ingham County from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

“The sad thing is that what is in the report is nothing new. We have to change that,” Gillard said.  “Where state lawmakers and policy-makers target resources, improvements will follow.”

Matt Gillard addresses 2016 Kids Count in WILX-TV interview

Watch this captured footage of the Tuesday, 3/21/2016 press conference by the Ingham County Intermediate School District

Read Michele Corey’s blog, Counting Our Successes and Fixing Our Failures
 

CCDGB: Improving Child Care in Michigan


With two children soon to enter child care, Senior Policy Analyst Mina Hong discusses the changes created by the 2014 re-authorization of the federal Child Care and Development Block Grant in Michigan.  Her blog, Bold Steps Force Improvements in our Child Care System, addresses the policy shift that recognizes child care as an important child development and education tool today, and not just a workplace support. And she also looks ahead, pointing to other necessary changes to ensure that high-quality child care in more widely accessible Michigan. 

Read our recent child care recommendations to the Michigan Department of Education.

Senate Takes Action on Detroit Schools


The state Senate approved a comprehensive plan for Detroit Public Schools today that would dedicate $515 million in state funds to make the district debt-free over 10 years and another $200 million in seed money to launch a new community school district. It also includes a new Detroit Education Commission to serve as an independent board to regulate school opening decisions.
 
While action on this crisis is critical, the fate of the package rests with the House. House members are expected to take it up when the Legislature returns from its two-week break starting Friday. 
 
The plan is similar to what Gov. Rick Snyder earlier proposed, launching a year-long debate.  Detroit Mayor Michael Duggan said today he wholeheartedly supports the plan.
 
Until now, the Legislature has only recommended short-term relief to DPS.  Last week the House approved a $48.7 million supplemental bill to keep school doors open through the rest of this school year.

 
Advocacy tips to help you stand up and speak out for Michigan children. 

The 2016 Kids Count Data Book is out and presents a yearly update on child well-being in many key categories. Access it for trends that are up or down in your county. Then contact your state lawmakers and tell them to direct resources to solve problems for kids in the community.
 
     
 
Direct Quotes
 
“Really, the question is, Do kids really count in Michigan?  Kids in Michigan are struggling.”
 
 -- Gilda Jacobs, MLPP
addressing Kids Count results


 
 



 
Speaking for Kids is Michigan's Children's twice-a-month e-bulletin that offers public policy and budget information relating to children, youth and families in our state. 


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Invest in Michigan’s Children and know that your dollars make good things happen for kids and families. By working to reform public policy, this organization improves the odds for all children, and supports the work of those who provide services that help individual children overcome the odds. 
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