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The New School Year Has Begun: Help Ensure AZ Public Schools Get the Support They Need

In just 90 days, a group of volunteers called Save Our Schools Arizona collected more than 111,000 petition signatures to put a hold on the expansion of Arizona’s school voucher program (called Empowerment Scholarship Accounts) that would divert millions of tax dollars from public to religious and other private schools, giving Arizona voters an opportunity to decide whether to keep the legislation when they go to the polls in November 2018.

Proponents of school vouchers, with funding from out-of-state special interest groups, have already filed at least two lawsuits trying to get the thousands of signatures these volunteers gathered from Arizonans across the state thrown-out on technicalities. While this works its way through the legal process, you can still demonstrate your support for public education in Arizona by signing the Strong Schools Pledge.

With the Strong Schools Pledge, individuals, organizations and businesses can tell the Governor, the legislature, and all those running for office that we support a strong, vibrant Arizona economy by:

  • Increasing revenue for our public schools to create sustained and dedicated funding to expand and stabilize our workforce of qualified teachers, provide critical tools for classrooms, and repair and maintain school facilities,
  • Repealing the taxpayer-funded ESA voucher expansion because Arizona cannot afford to fund two education systems: one public, one private.

Sign the pledge today.

See what we mean when we say the $1.1 billion deficit that has not been restored to our public schools since the Great Recession.

More information is available on ESA vouchers in our policy brief.

 

Southern AZ Congressional Reps Grijalva and McSally Announce Support for Arizona Grandparents Raising Grandkids and Other Kinship Families

Southern Arizona’s two members of the U.S. House of Representatives, Raul M. Grijalva and Martha McSally, today joined the Arizona Grandparent Ambassadors (AZGA) to announce their support for Arizona grandparents raising grandchildren and other kinship families.
Grijalva (D- AZ) and McSally (R – AZ) plan to introduce a bipartisan resolution on the floor of the House when they return from recess, declaring September as “National Kinship Caregivers Month.”

The intent of the resolution is to draw attention to the growing number of children being raised by grandparents, and other family members and the challenges they face. Nationwide, 2.6 million adults are raising their grandchildren or other family members. Children benefit from growing up with people they know and love when they can’t live with their parents due to medical issues, domestic violence, imprisonment, or other crises. Many kinship families face financial challenges, health and housing issues, and the impact of the trauma the children have experienced.

AZGA is a statewide network of grandparents raising their grandkids who have engaged in important efforts to change public policy in Arizona. Members have worked closely with Governor Ducey and the state legislature to remove barriers to financial support and improve the stability of kinship families.

AZGA will host its statewide summit on September 9th at the Kroc Center in Phoenix and invite others to join them. You may click here to register; the deadline is August 31st.

Register Now for the 2017 Grandparents Summit in Phoenix

Join Children’s Action Alliance and the Arizona Grandparent Ambassadors for the 2017 Grandparents Ambassador Summit, taking place next month in Phoenix.

This one-day program is energizing and packed with useful information, tips for grandparents raising grandchildren and other kinship families, interactive workshops and friendship building experiences.

All kinship families are welcome, whether you are a licensed foster family through the Department of Child Safety or have an informal placement in your home. Professionals are also welcome to attend.

Free child care for children over 6 months of age is available. The cost to attend is just $5, which includes lunch. Sign up online.

Additionally, we are sharing our newly updated  for kinship families: Help for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren and Other Caregivers. This booklet is filled with current information on benefits available to kinship families and which agencies to contact for assistance with a variety of issues.

Happy “Platinum” Anniversary to Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Created 20 Years Ago This Month

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(Phoenix, AZ) – The State Children’s Health Insurance Program, known as CHIP, this year celebrates its 20th anniversary with a strong history of bipartisan support in Arizona and around the nation.

Authorized in 1997 by a bipartisan vote in Congress, CHIP is an affordable health coverage option for children in working, low-income families across the country who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid (AHCCCS in Arizona), yet cannot afford private or employer-sponsored plans. CHIP provides federal dollars to the states, with some states, such as Arizona, now funded 100% through our federal tax dollars.

Arizona’s CHIP, known as KidsCare, was reinstated in September of 2016 after being frozen for six years. In just the last 10 months, more than 21,000 children are now covered by KidsCare. Families participating in KidsCare pay low-cost monthly premiums for high quality health insurance, giving them access to medical care that covers routine and emergency treatments, dental work, prescription medications and the ability to for kids to get healthy and stay healthy.

CHIP is a positive force for state economies: A report from Harvard Business School finds parents are more likely to start a business if their children have access to CHIP. Families with CHIP have a 23% higher rate of being self-employed.
Congress will take up the issue of reauthorizing CHIP funding when it returns from summer recess in September.

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