September 29, 2015

Caregivers Address Trauma, Need for Training and Services in Child Welfare    

Families implored almost 50 state Legislators, Congressional staff and other policymakers to provide better supports for caregivers in the child welfare system, including foster, adoptive and kin parents, at a special FamilySpeak sponsored by Michigan’s Children and others at the state Capitol Sept. 23.

Traveling from across the state, more than a dozen family members converged to testify to struggles accessing physical and mental health care, child care, education and transportation and other essential services for their children. Major themes of the day were the need for better training for families dealing with the results of trauma suffered by children entering the system, and immediate assessment and provision of assistance.

The forum follows numerous KidSpeak forums on foster care and is part of Michigan’s Children’s work to inform and influence positive policy changes for children, youth and families in the system.

Read our recap about the forum.  Then listen to a post-FamilySpeak WKAR broadcast interview with Michigan’s Children Vice President for Programs Michele Corey and state Rep. Jim Runestad.

Gillard Testifies, Urging Improvements in Third Grade Reading Bill

Before passing a bill intended to improve third grade reading proficiency in Michigan (HB 4822) last week, the House Education Committee included recommendations from Michigan’s Children aimed at strengthening the bill’s attention to the role of parents and other caregivers in improving their children’s reading. The legislation now goes to the full House for consideration.  

President & CEO Matt Gillard testified on Sept. 17 and urged that after-school providers and other caregivers be included in the development and implementation of “read-at-home” plans.  “Knowing the many challenges of working parents – particularly for parents who have their own literacy challenges – engaging other caregivers in addition to parents and guardians in developing and implementing a read-at-home plan just makes sense,” he said.

The measure passed the panel after two years of debate and deliberation. It’s not known when the full House will take it up.

Read Matt’s full testimony and other recommendations by Michigan’s Children. View the substitute bill passed out of Committee. And read our Issue briefs detailing evidence-based suggestions for improving literacy in Michigan.

First Focus Strengthens National Movement to Support Better Policies for Kids

First Focus, one of Michigan’s Children’s national partners, has launched The Children’s Network, a nationwide movement to make America a better place to raise children. The effort will engage individuals, non-profit organizations and businesses committed to the health, education and well-being of U.S. children in promoting better federal policy.  

Members will receive updates on child policy, action alerts and advocacy tools and opportunities to sign on to letters to members of Congress on key children’s policy priorities. Read more about the movement and read The Children’s Network agenda. First Focus is a bipartisan organization dedicated to making children and families a priority in federal policy and budget decisions. Michigan’s Children is part of the Children’s Network, and will continue to connect the dots between federal and state policy opportunities and advocates throughout the state.

#AllKidsMatter: Supporting Achievement for All Students

The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) is slated for reauthorization in Congress after 15 years.  Michigan’s Children has long advocated for the important role the federal government assumes in ensuring that all children have equitable access to educational opportunities in this country. (See “The Federal Role in Education Policy, ESEA Update” by Michele Corey.)  

Tomorrow, September 30, we are joining the Education Trust, parents, advocates, educators and others from around the nation for a virtual advocacy event, #AllKidsMatter, to support quality education for all children as provided for in the ESEA. This virtual opportunity coincides with a gathering of advocates meeting with federal leaders about education policy in Washington, D.C.

View the All Kids Matter priorities here, and participate by calling your member of Congress; sending your member a letter; posting a tweet or posting a message on your member’s Facebook page and ask them to ensure educational equity in ESEA reauthorization . Recruit others to speak up!
Advocacy tips to help you stand up and speak out for Michigan children. 
You don't need to advocate alone. Take the opportunity to join your voice with others around the state and nation as often as you can. Sign up for advocacy updates from organizations you believe in, and keep in touch with Michigan’s Children.

Direct Quotes
“These kids have a history of trauma and abuse and neglect. They need more than love.” 
 -- Rachel Kornilakis, FamilySpeak Parent

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. 

Sign-up for our Action Networks to receive timely information on how you can impact public policy


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.

Forward to a Friend

215 S. Washington Square, Suite 110
Lansing, MI 48933
(517) 485-3500

Unsubscribe from this list    Update subscription preferences   Forward to a friend

Copyright © |2015 Michigan's Children, All rights reserved.