Coalition for Delaware’s Kids

From Matt Denn’s FB page:

Yesterday, I joined a wide spectrum of religious, medical, civil rights, and children’s advocacy organizations to urge Delaware to spend $55 million in unexpected revenues on important services for at-risk kids over a four-year period. There will be lots of good ideas for using this money, but we have underinvested in this state’s children, and we need to ensure that each child in this state has an opportunity to succeed. I will be posting a lot more about this proposal, because the state’s budget process stretches from now through the end of June and we will need your help if we are going to seize this rare opportunity to make the American Dream a reality for our state’s children.

This is from the announcement of a proposal from the newly formed Coalition for Delaware’s Kids. It is asking the state to put to use a $55M windfall to focus on children in poverty statewide. Elements of the proposal:

  • Home Visits from the Nurse Family Partnership Program — sending nurses to the homes of first-time low-income mothers to ensure that their children get off to a good start in life.  If that sounds familir, it is.  Delaware was doing this for a time until the funds dried up from the Feds.  Plus this is a version of a similar program implemented by Howard Dean when he was Governor of Vermont.
  • Create a Recovery High School — a place for high schooler with addiction problems can access treatment and go to school
  • Expand pre-school enrollment among low-income three and four year olds through the ECAP program
  • Award grants to the ten elementary schools in the state that have over 70% of their students living in households below the poverty line so they can add appropriate staffing to support early learning
  • Expand After-School and Summer Programs for Children in Low Income Neighborhoods, earmarking some of these funds specifically for children 12 and over.
  • Provide competitive grants to non-profit organizations that seek to provide cognitive behavioral therapy  programs and family-centered programs to juveniles after release from Delaware juvenile correctional facilities
  • Paying for the Costs of Implementing the Data Analysis Program Recommended by the CDC Report.  This is mainly about investing in linking the data across a number of state data repositories.

This is important, because as AG Denn notes, the State has been underinvesting in our neediest kids.  And all of that underinvestment is showing up in scholastic performance, in juvenile offender rates, in the lack of job readiness, in the overall health of these children.

The good news is that we have a senior elected official here that recognizes how badly we underinvest in high-poverty children.  That might be because he gets to deal with the results of that underinvestment every day.  I think that most Delwareans want all of our kids to have a good shot at success, but we lack leadership in making the case for the real funding that is needed to make this happen.  Many thanks to AG Matt Denn for advocating for kids again and am looking forward to hearing from other Delaware leadership in support of this program.

You can help advocate for this proposal — just sign this petition to Governor Carney and the GA to ask them to support it.  And pass it along to your friends.

You don't make progress by standing on the sidelines, whimpering and complaining. You make progress by implementing ideas. -- Shirley Chisolm

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