McAuliffe releases report from Children’s Cabinet, recommendations of Commonwealth Council on Childhood Success
“Last year I created both the Children’s Cabinet and the Commonwealth Council on Childhood Success to focus our administration’s efforts to improve the health, education and well-being of children throughout the Commonwealth,” said Governor McAuliffe. “As we work to build a new Virginia economy, smart investments in our children, their families, and our communities now will ensure that our Commonwealth remains a global economic leader for generations to come.”
The Children’s Cabinet, the first of its kind in Virginia, was created by Executive Order 21 and is chaired by Secretary of Education Anne Holton and Secretary of Health and Human Resources Bill Hazel. Membership also includes Lt. Governor Ralph Northam, First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe, Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones, and Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran. Accomplishments from their first year, highlighted in the report, include:
- Providing coordinated oversight across child and family-serving systems from various Secretariats;
- Facilitating connections at the state level, and between state and local partners;
- Promoting positive outcomes, through policy change and new grants, in the five priority issue areas identified in Executive Order 21; and
- A concerted strategic planning effort, supported by a grant and technical assistance from Casey Family Programs, to guide the Cabinet’s work over the next few years.
“Working together across secretariats and in collaboration with the administration, stakeholder organizations and others, we have made a significant step towards protecting the health, education, welfare and future economic security of the children of Virginia,” said Secretary Holton. “Over the past year, we have met with the people on the front lines of the fight to improve the well-being of every child in Virginia, and our report reflects their input. I am proud of what the Children’s Cabinet has submitted to the Governor, but there is still much more work to do to secure successful futures for our young people.”
Secretary Hazel added, “The creation of the Children’s Cabinet is an opportunity to collaborate across secretariats and across state agencies to find better ways to approach complex issues involving children and families. Most children’s needs can’t be addressed by just one agency – they need multiple agencies, working together, to ensure they get the best help we can give them to grow up healthy and safe.”
In addition, the Commonwealth Council on Childhood Success sent its first report and set of 16 recommendations to the Governor on June 1st. The Council, which is chaired by Lt. Governor Northam, was created by Executive Order 22 with a specific emphasis on Virginia’s youngest children, from birth through age 8. The Council’s membership includes a diverse group of legislators, agency heads, program administrators, private providers of child care and early education, institutions of higher education, local schools, and representatives from the business community.
Among the Council’s recommendations, the top priorities include:
- Modernizing the Virginia Preschool Initiative funding and formula, and promoting a mixed delivery system of programming so that those children most in need can benefit in all communities.
- Better coordinating the governance of early childhood programs in order to improve program quality and service delivery.
- Ensuring the health of the youngest and most vulnerable children via early interventions and services.
“Since its creation last summer, the Council has worked diligently to assess the health and educational needs of children in the Commonwealth and make strategic recommendations about ways in which we can improve and maximize investments in our children’s futures,” explained Lt. Governor Northam. “The recommendations reflect a comprehensive understanding of childhood success and recognize that ensuring all children are able to thrive requires focused attention, investment, and collaboration by parents, communities, schools, and state and local government agencies.”
- To view the Children’s Cabinet report to Governor McAuliffe click here: http://education.virginia.gov/childrens-cabinet
- To view the recommendations of the Commonwealth Council on Childhood Success click here: http://www.ltgov.virginia.gov/docs/CCCS_June12015Report.pdf