McAuliffe announces creation of Children’s Cabinet and the Commonwealth Council on Childhood Success

Governor-McAuliffeGovernor Terry McAuliffe today signed an Executive Order creating a cabinet solely dedicated to the education, health, safety, and welfare of Virginia’s children and youth. The newly launched Children’s Cabinet will develop and implement a policy agenda that will help better serve Virginia’s children and will also foster collaboration between state and local agencies.  As a part of that effort, the Governor also signed a second Executive Order establishing the Commonwealth Council on Childhood Success. This Council will be chaired by Lt. Governor Northam and will focus on improving the health, education, and well-being of our youngest children.

“Children are the Commonwealth’s most important resource, and it is critical that we provide them with the tools and resources they need to thrive in a 21st century economy,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Both the Children’s Cabinet and the Commonwealth Council on Childhood Success will help ensure that Virginia’s children live happy and productive lives.”

Secretary of Education Anne Holton and Secretary of Health and Human Resources Bill Hazel will serve as co-chairs of the Children’s Cabinet.  Lt. Governor Ralph Northam, Secretary of Public Safety Brian Moran, Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones and the First Lady of Virginia Dorothy McAuliffe will serve as members of the Children’s Cabinet.

“The Children’s Cabinet provides an opportunity to work together on the complex issues that affect a child’s development.  Addressing the need for safe housing, access to healthcare and proper nutrition are important first steps that will help bridge the achievement gap and prepare Virginia’s children to succeed in a new Virginia economy,” saidFirst Lady Dorothy McAuliffe.

“It is an honor to be named Chair of the Commonwealth Council on Childhood Success,” said Lt. Governor Northam.“I am incredibly grateful that early childhood is a priority for Governor McAuliffe and his administration. The early years of a child’s life are extremely formative, and have a significant impact on their health, growth, and readiness to succeed. As policymakers we must ensure that our public investments in these services provide adequate access and high quality programs. I look forward to working with state agencies, local school districts, service providers, the business community, and advocates to ensure that every Virginia child has the opportunity to thrive and succeed.”

“The establishment of the Children’s Cabinet is a great first step towards addressing the basic needs of Virginia’s youth,”said Secretary Holton. “There are schools, neighborhoods, and communities across the Commonwealth suffering under the crushing weight of entrenched poverty, and it is our goal with the Children’s Cabinet to offer a helping hand, not a wagging finger.”

Secretary Hazel added, “While regular communication between secretariats regarding children and youth issues is important, we believe a more significant impact can be achieved by delving further into the issues impacting the health, education and success of our children.”

The Children’s Cabinet will focus on five specific priority areas:

  • Eradicating the achievement gap in schools in high poverty communities.
  • Increasing access to basic needs including housing, healthcare, and proper nutrition.
  • Improving outcomes for youth transitioning out of Virginia’s juvenile justice, mental health and foster care systems.
  • Increasing workforce opportunities for parents and for youth as they transition out of high school.
  • Improving early childhood care and education.

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