And we’re off! The Iowa Legislature reconvened in Des Moines this week and the Child and Family Policy Center is publishing the first of our weekly legislative updates. We’re approaching them a little differently this year. First, you’ll notice a new format and a new name, “The Weekly 3.” Second, you’ll notice we’re publishing under the name of the Center itself, instead of Every Child Counts, which is how we have traditionally branded our advocacy efforts. About that: Over the years it’s become clear that advocacy—being a strong voice for Iowa children—is integral to our work and not a side project accompanying our research and data analysis. With that, we’re moving away from using the name Every Child Counts and putting the full range of our work, including our policy advocacy, under the Center's name. 

About “The Weekly 3”: Wise folks have told us that individuals can usually retain no more than three individual pieces of information at a sitting. With that in mind, we’re aiming to highlight three important issues at the State Capitol each week (although we reserve the option to break the rule and sneak in an extra item or two on occasion). You’ll also be able to link through to our bill tracker, where you’ll find more detailed information on the status of specific legislation we are following. 

Our approach may be a little different, but our aim is the same—to give you timely, actionable information on child policy in Iowa and concrete actions you can take to influence the decision-making of your elected officials. Let us know how we’re doing.

Our 2018 policy priorities

By engaging elected officials, the Child and Family Policy Center seeks to influence policies affecting the lives of Iowa children and families. Our policy priorities this year focus on early care and education, child health and welfare and family economic success. Our specific asks include making preschool more accessible to low-income children, assuring the safety of children in Iowa's foster-care system, and protecting and expanding tax policies that help working families make ends meet.

We understand that lawmakers will face another tough budget year, but the solution to that challenge cannot be put on the backs of Iowa children and their families. Iowa's long-term prosperity depends on helping children achieve their full potential. Read our legislative priorities here

Condition of the State

CFPC policy director Sheila Hansen watched Gov. Kim Reynolds' first Condition of the State address Tuesday with an ear toward the Governor's strategies to help working families get ahead. Sheila was disappointed not to hear ideas on how to address the high costs of child care, especially how Iowa might to strengthen the state's Child Care Assistance program, which helps low-income working families pay for child care while they are at their job or in school. Read Sheila's thoughts on the address here

For other missing elements in the Condition of the State, including taxes and K-12 funding, read the Iowa Fiscal Partnership's January 10 response to the speech. The Partnership is a joint effort of CFPC and the Iowa Policy Project

An overflow crowd watches Gov. Kim Reynolds' Condition of the State address on TV in the Capitol rotunda January 9. 

Meet your legislators at home

In the coming weeks, we will be sharing more detailed information on policies up for debate at the Capitol, and encouraging you to weigh in with your elected officials. Meeting your Representative or Senator at legislative forums back home is an invaluable way to hear about what they are focusing on this session and share your thoughts—and you don't have to go to the Capitol to do it. House and Senate caucuses all maintain calendars of these events. Find your legislators' forums here: 

Senate Democrats / Senate Republicans / House Democrats / House Republicans


Bill tracker

Want to go deeper? Curious about the status of key bills? The Center maintains a bill tracker to outline the specific legislation we are following this this session. Here you go.


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Des Moines, IA 50309
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