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Become an AmeriCorps Vista Member

CAA Flyer for AmeriCorps positionThe Arizona Youth Opportunities Initiative (AYOI) is working to improve outcomes for young adults transitioning out of foster care. In order to grow our efforts, Children’s Action Alliance is seeking an AmeriCorps VISTA to help roll out the Opportunity Passport™ program, work with the Young Adult Leadership Board, and implement Initiative strategies. This is a paid, fulltime, year-long opportunity to do advocacy work from the ground up. Please share with your networks, professional affiliations, alumni associations, and any emerging professionals you know. Interested candidates should apply directly through my.americorps.gov.

Click here for the position announcement.

Share the flyer for the position.

Election Updates

arizona election 2014 220pxVoters registered as Independents or with a party other than the Republican, Democratic or Libertarian parties,can and should vote in the Primary Election on August 26th. The deadline for all voters to request a mail-in ballot is THIS FRIDAY, August 15th at 5:00 p.m. Click here for contact information for all 15 county Elections Offices.

In other election news, CAA is proud to co-sponsor with the American Association of University Women, Flagstaff Liberty Alliance, Friends of Flagstaff’s Future, CCRC and many other local groups a gubernatorial debate on Monday, August 18th at 5:30 p.m. Free parking – doors open at 5:15 p.m. The debate will be held at the Cline Library at NAU. So far, candidates Barry Hess, Fred DuVal, Ken Bennett, John Mealer, Frank Riggs and Christine Jones have confirmed. If you’re in Flagstaff on Monday, please join us!

Reading Scores Show Mixed Results

The Arizona Department of Education released AIMS test results recently. AIMS is the state standardized test that measures student achievement. 2014 was the first year in which 3rd grade students who score extremely low on reading proficiency will not be promoted to fourth grade, according to Arizona’s “Move On When Reading” law. The news on the test results is mixed.

child reading naep fact sheet rounded corners drop shadowThe great news is that only about 3 percent of third graders (2,200 children) fell far below meeting the reading standard. This is a slight improvement over last year’s test results. After remedial reading courses and other programs, it is estimated that only about 600 children will actually be held back in third grade. This improvement is likely due to the hard work of teachers, schools, the Arizona Department of Education and State Board of Education, and community partners with more focus on reading proficiency.

The bad news is that a whopping additional 20 percent of 3rd graders also failed the test and failed to read at grade level — scoring in the “approaching reading proficiency” category. The new law does not require them to be retained in third grade. But parents, schools, teachers and policymakers can do a lot more to improve reading success so that these students have the skills for greater achievement in school and career. Parents and quality child care and preschool can help even very young children develop pre-reading skills. Family literacy programs, effective tools for K-3 classrooms, reading coaches for teachers, and after school and summer reading programs can all dramatically improve Arizona’s reading success. Tackling this challenge will be a key job for our new Governor and legislature in 2015 and beyond.

Click here for a fact sheet with Arizona reading scores.

Click here to learn more about easy ways to improve early literacy.

State seeks consultant to make sure new Department of Child Safety runs properly

Alarming Rate of Parents Not Immunizing their Children

Health Manual 2014 English for print, reduced sizeMany families are busy with back to school activities this month and one of those activities should be updating immunizations to keep kids healthy. Unfortunately, more and more parents are saying no to this basic health care step. Recently, the Arizona Republic reported on the alarming trend in Arizona: Exemption rates for immunizations for Kindergartners and sixth grade students have nearly tripled in the past ten years.

Parents should know that vaccinations are both safe and critical for the development of healthy children. Exemptions raise the risk of any child acquiring a transmissible disease. Moreover, purposely skipping immunizations poses a broader risk to the community by raising the possibility of an outbreak.

See the full article here.

National Immunization Awareness month is the perfect time to make sure children are up to date on vaccines. It’s important to get answers from an expert – your child’s doctor, local or state public health department. Visit www.WhyImmunize.org to learn about vaccine preventable diseases and get information about immunization schedules and where to go to get them.

Be a Superhero…Through the Eyes of a Child

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 You may not be able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, but you can be superhero for Arizona’s kids by supporting Children’s Action Alliance and our annual Awards Luncheon and Silent Auction.

Please join us on Friday, October 10th for another fun and friendly event that funds CAA’s child advocacy work at the legislature and in the community.

This year, we are honoring two heroes for children and families:state senator Leah Landrum Taylor and Gene D’Adamo, President and CEO of the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust and former vice president of Community Relations for Republic Media.

Through the Eyes of a Child Awards Lunch and Silent Auction
Friday, October 10, 2014 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Sheraton Downtown Hotel, 340 N 3rd St in Phoenix, AZ

Mark your calendars now to join us and honor our community superheroes!  Ticket sales will begin in late August.

Sponsorship opportunities are still available; contact Sheryl Worthy at (602) 266-0707 x219. A very special thanks to this year’s most generous sponsors:

Exclusive Sponsor

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Premier Sponsor

Greenberg Traurig

Platinum Sponsors

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Mercy Care Mercy Maricopa

Gold Sponsor

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Candidates Weigh in on Kids’ Issues

emily for presidentStarting today, voters who requested a mail-in ballot will start to see them arriving in their mailboxes. Before you cast your vote, you can see where your candidates stand on issues affecting children and families by reviewing the Vote for Kids non-partisan candidate questionnaires.

Legislative and gubernatorial candidates expressed their priorities for children and families in a 10-question survey co-sponsored by Children’s Action Alliance and nineteen other community organizations dedicated to children’s health, education and security (see sponsor list).

The responses from 57 candidates from 24 legislative districts are posted, unedited, on the Children’s Action Alliance website, along with surveys and statements from five candidates running for governor. Responses came from candidates across all major parties and Legislative District 9 stands out with a 100% response rate.

When asked about reducing reports of child abuse and neglect and reducing the need for foster care, fifty-one of the responding legislative candidates expressed strong support for shifting resources to prevention strategies such as child care assistance, substance abuse treatment, and professional parent mentoring. Candidates also expressed support for a range of policies to improve reading success by third grade, including reading programs and education for parents and children together and reading programs after school and during the summer.

The survey asked candidates to name their top two priorities to improve children’s health, education or security. Restoring funding for K-12 education topped the list. Specific funding priorities mentioned include:

  • early education
  • career and technical education
  • teacher salaries
  • school safety

Candidates overwhelmingly name the new Department of Child Safety as another priority, many commenting that we must provide the oversight and resources the Department needs in order to protect children.

“It’s clear that public policies and budgets matter a lot for children and families in Arizona,” said Dana Wolfe Naimark, President and CEO of Children’s Action Alliance. “We’re very proud to offer voters this tool to help them find the candidates who share their priorities.”