Week 2 in the books

The second week of session was a little shorter than normal due to the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday and a little harder to get to due to the snowy, stormy weather outside! Inside the Capitol, though, things were relatively quiet.

Next week will be busier, with more committee meetings and events on the calendar. Several partners are hosting Day on the Hill events, and we look forward to seeing them there and supporting their efforts.

Monday, January 28
AMP (Achieving Maximum Potential), the fantastic group of current and former foster youth from around the state, will gather at the capitol to meet with their legislators. They will hold a press event at 2 p.m. in the rotunda.

Tuesday, January 29
United Way of Central Iowa will share its legislative priorities in the areas of education, income, health and essential needs with policymakers.

Thursday, January 31
ACEs Policy Coalition will gather at the hill and advocate for a "Resilient Iowa." The coalition includes state, regional and local organizations actively involved in advocacy related to childhood health, mental health and well-being. Check out their priorities here


Policy priority: Early Childhood Iowa

This week, the joint House-Senate Education Appropriations subcommittee met to hear about the Governor's recommendations for education funding. Gov. Reynolds is proposing a modest 2.3 percent increase in per-pupil funding for K-12 schools. But once again, our state's early childhood education programs saw a recommendation for status quo funding. If approved, Early Childhood Iowa, Early Head Start and Shared Visions would all continue to operate on the same state funding they have seen for the last several years.

But ECI's funding woes go back even further than that. It has seen its funding cut or held flat every year since 2008—even as it has continued to serve more families. 

That's a tremendous lost opportunity for Iowa because ECI is uniquely positioned to improve services and fill gaps in early-childhood services in the areas of health, early learning, family support and special needs. Here's how ECI's most recent annual report describes its work:

ECI brings communities together – parents; child care, human service and health care providers; educators; business people; and the faith community – to identify strengths, needs and gaps in services in the community. Through the identification of the community's gaps in services, ECI area boards provide tools and resources to fully engage young children in learning opportunities so they can grow to be healthy, productive and well-rounded students, parents, workers and leaders.

ECI funding and Iowa young-child population, 1999-2019

This chart compares changes in ECI's funding with changes in the young-child population. In its early years, ECI's funding kept up with or grew faster than the number of young children. But since 2008, the opposite has been true. Early childhood grants help local ECI areas fund a wide array of child care needs, including care for mildly ill children and those who need care during second and third shifts. School readiness grants help local areas cover comprehensive services for young children, including preschool for low-income children and family support and parent education efforts. View a more detailed history of ECI funding here


New: Iowa Kids Count data snapshots

We advocates sometimes talk about Iowa's 700,000+ children as a single group. New county data snapshots from Iowa Kids Count take a deeper dive into the data, which outline 20 indicators of child and family health and well-being in every Iowa county. Our aim is to provide policymakers, educators, advocates, practitioners and engaged Iowans with the tools to make informed decisions around child and family issues. The Center's Kids Count work is made possible by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a Baltimore-based organization with a long history of supporting Kids Count activities in all 50 states. Explore the Casey Foundation's Kids Count work here

Want to find out how kids are doing in your area? Explore 20 indicators of child and family health and well-being for each of Iowa's 99 counties here.


Find your legislator

Not sure who represents you? With 50 senators and 100 representatives, it can be hard to keep tabs. Visit our Legislator Lookup tool to find out who represents you in the state house and senate, biographical information about each one and a link to their legislative websites, which list contact information and committee membership. All you need to do is enter your home address and zip code. 

505 5th Ave., Ste. 404
Des Moines, IA 50309
(515) 280-9027 / www.cfpciowa.org

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