Archive for the ‘ Policy ’ Category

Senate Passes NIMAM Resolution

On Friday, September 23, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution highlighting September as National Infant Mortality Awareness Month.  Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland was the lead sponsor of the resolution and Senator Burr of North Carolina and Senator Menendez of New Jersey served as cosponsors of the resolution.

Beginning in 2007, the National Healthy Start Association has asked a Member of Congress to introduce the resolution each September as a way to educate the public and Congressional leaders about infant mortality. The resolution expresses support for the goals of National Infant Mortality Awareness Month and calls upon the people of the United States to observe the month with appropriate programs and activities.

A copy of the resolution can be found here: http://1.usa.gov/oMDlrV.

Jon Terry is the President of Capitol Youth Strategies and the NHSA Government Relations Consultant.

National Movement for America’s Children

Citizens and organizations across the country are awakening a National Movement for America’s Children, a grassroots coalition that is collectively calling for a national strategy to help ensure that every child has an equal opportunity for healthy growth and development. We will deliver policies and actions – from government, business and media, to schools, faith-based organizations, communities and individuals across the country – that are focused on giving every child the best chance to succeed.

Until November 6th (exactly one year before the 2012 election) movement members and partners will be hosting town hall sessions and logging onto www.movementforchildren.org to contribute different answers to what we refer to as “The Big Question”: How can we ensure that every child has an equal opportunity for healthy growth and development?

The National Healthy Start Association is proud to be a founding partner as a National Movement for America’s Children grows across the country. We think the Movement is of great importance to the development of the United States. By raising the awareness that children’s health is the top priority for our nation, by asking Americans to stand up and join the call for a national strategy and help us decide what the policies and actions should be within that strategy, this Movement can help to ensure that every child in America is given an equal opportunity for healthy growth and development.

Every American can join in and contribute to the Movement. It begins with signing the National Children’s Pledge at www.movementforchildren.org and sharing and debating answers to The Big Question. Supporters can also organize your friends and neighbors in your community to sign the pledge, hold house parties to share the message and recruit others, call on your elected officials to support community-based approaches to healthy child development and many, many more activities. For specific ideas on how you can participate, advocate and/or donate to support the Movement, please visit www.movementforchildren.org or contact the National Healthy Start Association.

20 Members of U.S. House Sign Letter in Support of Healthy Start

20 Members of the U.S. House of Representatives signed a letter in support of $105 million in funding for Healthy Start.  The letter was sponsored by Congressman John Yarmuth and Congresswoman Karen Bass and delivered to the House Appropriations Committee on May 20.  The letter urges the committee to level fund Healthy Start at $105 million, the same amount of funding in fiscal year 2010 and 2011.  House leaders have pledged to cut the Labor/HHS/Ed appropriations bill by 13% this year, so it is especially important to let Members of Congress know of the impact and importance of Healthy Start programs and services.

The Members of the U.S. House of Representatives that signed the letter include:

Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY)

Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA)

Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ)

Rep. Mazie Hirono (D-HI)

Rep. Marcia Fudge (D-OH)

Rep. Bob Filner (D-CA)

Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI)

Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA)

Rep, Dennis Kucinich (D-OH)

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN)

Rep. John Conyers (D-MI)

Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA)

Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-NC)

Rep. Eearl Blumenauer (D-OR)

Rep. John Lewis (D-GA)

Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD)

Rep. Mike Doyle (D-PA)

Rep. Jason Altmire (D-PA)

Rep. Wm. Lacy Clay (D-MO)

Rep. Michael Capuano (D-MA)

NHSA Holds Congressional Briefing on Infant Mortality

On Thursday, September 23, 2010, the National Healthy Start Association held a briefing on Capitol Hill focused specifically on infant mortality. The event was titled, “Celebrate Day 366: Strategies to Reduce Infant Mortality and Ensure that Every Baby Has a Healthy Start.” Speakers at the event included NHSA Board Chair Lo Berry, NHSA Executive Director Stacy Cunningham, Congressman Steve Cohen, and representatives from the Health Resources and Services Administration and the Office of Minority Health. The second panel of speakers featured representatives from the March of Dimes, National Fatherhood Initiative and Healthy Mothers/Healthy Babies Coalition.

Over forty individuals attended the event, including Congressional staff, officials from federal agencies and representatives from other nonprofits that are committed to improved maternal and child health.  This is the first time that a briefing has been held in the U.S. Capitol specifically to discuss infant mortality and highlight successful strategies to ensure healthy pregnancies and healthy babies. NHSA is committed to playing a leadership role in highlighting the tragedy of infant mortality and educating elected leaders about the need to increase support to disadvantaged mothers, babies and families.

After Congressman Cohen provided opening remarks, Lo Berry provided an overview of Healthy Start and examples of how the Healthy Start program in Tampa, FL has succeeded in improving birth outcomes.  Stacey Cunningham highlighted the work of the National Healthy Start Association and served as moderator during the remainder of the briefing. The event concluded with a personal story offered by the Cooper family of Baltimore Healthy Start.

NHSA wishes to thank all who participated in yesterday’s successful briefing. To paraphrase the Deputy Director of the Office of Minority Health, Mirtha Beadle, the briefing was not the beginning nor end of this important work, but it was an important step in the process of eliminating racial health disparities!

Health Reform for Women’s Health

On Tuesday, June 24, 2010, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, spoke to the National Partnership for Women and Families about how the Affordable Care Act will not only benefit women and provide for their full range of health needs, but also break barriers as “the best women’s health bill since Medicare.” Secretary Sebelius noted particular provisions that will impact women’s health, including the ban on supplemental charges for women’s health services; the law that all new insurance plans must cover essential health benefits like newborn care and maternity care; and the elimination of co-pays for key preventive services like pap smears and mammograms. To read Secretary Sebelius’ comments, please visit http://www.hhs.gov/secretary/about/speeches/sp20100624.html
(U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services Daily Digest Bulletin; June 25, 2010)

Home Visitation Funding

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has released the first of three announcements for the new federal home visitation program. The announcement contains additional details related to the Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program that was created by the Affordable Care Act.

$90 million will be provided to all states and territories to improve health and development outcomes for at-risk children through evidence-based home visiting programs.  The funds are intended to assure effective coordination and delivery of critical health, development, early learning, child abuse and neglect prevention, and family support services to children and families through home visiting programs.

The announcement indicates that HHS will soon publish proposed evidence-related criteria for public comment through the Federal Register.  Those criteria will be based on an exhaustive study of research evidence related to home visiting programs and will provide a user-friendly source of information for States about different models and the evidence of effectiveness associated with them.

Each State must apply for funding by July 9.  The State Needs Assessment is due by September 1.  The assessment must identify at-risk communities in the state and the quality and capacity of existing home visiting programs.

The complete announcement can be found here.


Funding Available for Promise Neighborhoods

The U.S. Department of Education has announced the availability of the planning grant application for Promise Neighborhoods, a new program designed to significantly improve the educational, health and developmental outcomes of children in distressed communities. Because the challenges faced by communities with high concentrations of poverty are interrelated, the Department of Education will be looking for proposals that take a comprehensive approach designed to ensure that children have access to a continuum of cradle-through-college-to-career solutions, with strong schools at the center, that will support academic achievement, healthy development, and college and career success.

Additional information can be found here.

The Department will be hosting a series of webinars designed to provide technical assistance for organizations that are interested in applying for funding. Nonprofit organizations and Institutions of Higher Education (colleges and universities) are eligible to apply for funding.

–Jon Terry, President, Capitol Youth Strategies LLC