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Let Congress Know They MUST Protect KidsCare!

KidsCare is threatened once again in Arizona. President Trump’s budget slashes CHIP funding and will cause an immediate freeze to KidsCare. Since the freeze on KidsCare was lifted in September of 2016, 20,000 children now have health coverage, with hundreds more signing up every week.

Email our congressional delegation today to let them know we need to keep KidsCare for Arizona’s children. If you don’t know your congressional district, click here to find it.

Sample Email:

I’m writing to ask you to act quickly to make sure we can continue KidsCare health coverage in Arizona. President Trump’s budget slashes CHIP funding and will cause an immediate freeze to KidsCare. Thanks to KidsCare, 20,000 children can now see a doctor for preventative care or when they are sick. Let’s not take Arizona backwards, especially by kicking children off of lifesaving health coverage. Act now to protect CHIP funding in the budget!

District representatives and senators can be reached by clicking on the hyperlinks below.

Senator John McCain Contact Form
Senator Jeff Flake Contact Form
Congressional District 1 Tom O’Halleran
Congressional District 2 Martha McSally
Congressional District 3 Raul Grijalva
Congressional District 4 Paul Gosar
Congressional District 5 Andy Biggs
Congressional District 6 David Schweikert
Congressional District 7 Ruben Gallego
Congressional District 8 Trent Franks
Congressional District 9 Kyrsten Sinema

Join CAA and Our Partners for a Discussion on Medicaid

PDF Version 

Join our panel of economic and business experts to learn how

Medicaid Works!

Join us for a discussion about Medicaid in Arizona (AHCCCS)

and how it benefits the state budget, local economies and working families.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

6:00pm to 8:00pm

ASU Preparatory Academy

735 E Fillmore St., Phoenix

Panelists include:

Lee McPheters, Arizona State University

Mike Hutchinson, East Valley Partnership

David Lujan, Arizona Center for Economic Progress

Moderator: Don Henninger, DH Advisors and SCOTT

Please RSVP by Monday, June 5 to Charlie Fisher at (602) 525-4889
Light refreshments will be served

ICYMI: A Snapshot of Lawmakers’ 2017 – 18 Budget

PDF Version for printing here

If you’ve not had a chance to get caught up on the latest legislative news since the session ended, here is a quick snapshot of what it looks like for the next fiscal year:

“Moms” Petition Urges Sen. McCain and Flake to Keep Affordable Health Coverage Options for Families

PDF Version

(Phoenix, AZ) – What is it that moms really want for Mother’s Day?

Is it a human sized, automatic, remote-controlled vacuum cleaner? An automatic wine dispenser or self-cleaning house?

She likely wants all those things, but as health care legislation continues to be debated in Washington, D.C., could it be that moms also really want affordable health coverage for families?

A petition directed at Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake has been signed by hundreds of Arizona mothers, telling their elected officials in Congress that families deserve coverage that is affordable, high-quality and protects kids who are living with pre-existing conditions.

The petition drive – spearheaded last week by Protect AZ Healthcare, a grassroots coalition of parents, organizations and other groups – continues to gather signatures from Arizona moms who want changes to the American Health Care Act (AHCA), a poorly constructed “repeal and replace” piece of legislation that narrowly passed in the House of Representatives in early May. In its current form, the AHCA does not adequately protect vulnerable populations, such as children and the elderly, who may be living with chronic conditions, and it would force states to ration Medicaid and other health care programs for low-income families. The Senate, however, has an opportunity to make dramatic changes to the bill before it sends the measure for a full vote.

Arizona mom Corinne Bobbie said she is urging Senators McCain and Flake to support a better health care bill, since her daughter, Sophia, has a chronic cardiac condition that requires frequent medical care. Bobbie is concerned that protections for kids like Sophia be kept in place to ensure she doesn’t exceed a “lifetime limit” (eliminated for children during the phase-in of the Affordable Care Act). “Caring for a sick child – who may need an emergency visit to the hospital at any time – is stressful enough for parents,” said Bobbie. “Not having to worry about whether insurance is going to cover it because the treatment or procedure might cost too much helps ease those concerns, and we can concentrate on taking care of our families.”

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The Good and Not-So-Good of the 2018 State Budget

The state legislature ended its 2017 session last night. There were a few small bright spots for children and families. But the big decisions put us on a path to endanger children’s health, education and security going forward. Many Arizona lawmakers continue to point to the 2009 Great Recession, to blame struggling parents, and to vilify cities and school boards instead of standing up to take responsibility for the policy decisions in their hands.

Arizona kids need our voices and our commitment to build a better future.

Below is a brief summary with more details to come soon.

Small bright spots:

• A new law streamlines the application process for SNAP benefits (food stamps). This law will help alleviate hunger in Arizona by removing a cumbersome and expensive requirement for in-person finger imaging.
• Aunts, uncles and other relatives who raise abused and neglected children rather than placing them in foster care will now be able to get a small monthly payment to keep them more financially stable.
• School districts with a high percentage of low-income students can apply for $8 million in grants to strengthen their early literacy strategies and improve third grade reading success.
• Some moms who participate in TANF cash assistance will be able to care for their children and get more time to prepare to re-enter the workforce. Moms who have perfect compliance with requirements for their children’s school attendance and job search will be able to extend participation for up to 12 additional months beyond the 12-month lifetime limit. See Governor Ducey’s statement directing his administration to work with us on helping families succeed.
• New legislation takes one step forward in giving youth in foster care a tool they need to support their transition into adulthood. The law permits youth living in foster care who are at least 16 years old and who have taken a driver safety course to buy auto insurance on their own.

Big danger for children and families:

• The budget invests only a 1% increase in teacher pay with another 1% “intended” for next year. Due to the intentional structure of this item in the budget, it is not built into ongoing state funding for schools so districts and charters can’t count on it permanently. As a result, they will probably use it for one-time bonuses for teachers, rather than for pay raises.
• Small amounts of new funding were added to a number of small education initiatives, with no focused impact to address the teacher shortage or the achievement gap for low-income students.
• A new law expands ESA school vouchers to allow subsidies for private schools for every student, no matter what their income. The number of new vouchers is allowed to grow each year until 2022 with more state tax dollars removed from public schools without accountability.
• State lawmakers took no action and made no plan to close an annual deficit of $1.1 billion in cuts to public schools that have not been restored, leaving Arizona families and businesses facing a teacher shortage, outdated textbooks and technology, and unsafe school buses and school facilities.
• Governor Ducey and a majority of lawmakers chose private schools, political soundbites, and corporate giveaways above children’s health, education and security. Private school tax credits continue to grow by 20% each year while by fiscal year 2020 new tax cuts will take more than $30 million out of the coffers for education with no evidence of any return on investment.
• Arizona remains an outlier, leaving our children behind children in every other state in the nation with the lowest rates of child care assistance, the lowest teacher salaries, the shortest lifetime limit on assistance for poor moms and children.

Sign Our Mothers Day Request for Senators Flake and McCain

Join us in sending a message to Arizona senators John McCain and Jeff Flake: Preserve health care for children and families, particularly those with pre-existing conditions.

You can sign the petition here. Thank you for standing up for Arizona families!

 

Thank You, So. Arizona, for Helping Us Celebrate Champion for Children, Susie Huhn

A big thank you to Southern Arizona friends and partners for joining us at our Champion for Children event in Tucson last night to celebrate Casa de los Niños CEO Susie Huhn. Susie is respected throughout Arizona and around the country for her extraordinary work with the community and families.

Susie has concentrated her focus on issues related to child abuse, neglect and prevention, as well as behavioral health treatment for children and youth. Her expertise has made Susie a valuable resource for child advocates, government officials, other child welfare organizations. She is generous in sharing her time and talent and going beyond the walls of her own organization to speak up for children and families.

Susie is past president of Prevent Child Abuse Arizona, serves as advocacy chair for Arizona Council of Health and Human Service Providers and she is a board member of the National Council for Behavioral Health. Congratulations to Susie for a well-deserved honor.

Pictured above right: CAA president & CEO Dana Wolfe Naimark, Champion for Children honoree Susie Huhn and CAA board member Brinton Milward at the celebration on May 4, 2017.

State Budget Behind Closed Doors: Not Enough to Protect Arizona Families

State budget negotiations have been behind the scenes like usual and an official budget proposal was released yesterday for hearings today. While the budget has some small signs of progress for children and families, the big picture will do nothing to improve children’s health education and security. The good news is the votes are not nailed down and there is still a chance to re-shape this budget!

If you have a “Request to Speak” RTS account on the legislative computer system, please click here and sign in against the main budget bills, HB 2537 and SB 1522. Please ask legislators to vote NO on any budget without a 4% teacher raise.

A summary budget chart is attached and some highlights/lowlights are listed below.

  • The budget includes funding for a 1% teacher raise next year and anticipates an additional 1% raise the following year. We are calling for at least a 4% teacher raise next year to take a meaningful step to address our teacher shortage crisis.
  • The budget includes $37 million in “results-based” funding for select district schools and charter schools that are already excelling. Most of the funds go to higher income schools so they will not help close the achievement gap and the funds are not guaranteed for future years so they can’t be used for teacher salaries or ongoing expenses.
  • Nothing in the budget helps children growing up poor to prepare for success in school. Child care rates remain the lowest in the country with thousands of qualified working parents turned away every year. The lifetime limit for TANF cash assistance remains 12 months – the lowest in the nation. Almost no welfare reform funds are spent on job training and helping people move successfully into the workforce.
  • Hidden below the surface of the printed budget are millions more of our tax dollars going to private schools through tax credits and ESA vouchers, corporate tax cuts still phasing in, and new business tax cuts that will grow over time — all leaving fewer resources for public schools.