After this challenging year, I’m really hoping that you’ve had the chance to get some rest and down time over the holidays. The NC Child team is ready to advocate for what kids and families need as our state moves towards pandemic recovery in 2021. Today, I’m sharing our plan for the state legislative session, and asking for your support so we can speak up for kids in the new year.
A big THANK YOU to everyone who made a gift to NC Child at the end of this year. It’s not too late if you’d still like to help us keep working for a better future for kids and families in 2021.
North Carolina’s legislators return to work for the 2021-2022 long session on January 13. As our state’s children and families continue to face the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important for the North Carolina General Assembly to prioritize investments in early childhood education, health, child welfare, and more that help kids survive and thrive now and in the future.
NC Child’s 2021 policy priorities support an equitable response to and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic that will offer relief to children and families in our state. We will continue to advocate with federal and state leaders for funding and policy that put struggling families at the center of relief efforts.
Early Childhood Education
As Cassandra Brooks of Little Believer’s Academy shared on our blog in November, North Carolina’s child care providers are in crisis, and are struggling to stay open to serve families during the COVID-19 pandemic. We simply cannot let our child care providers go out of business. Child care plays a vital role in families’ ability to thrive, and in our economy. We will be advocating with partners so that families have the supports they need to go back to work, and children have access to a strong start to their education.
Amid the COVID-19 health crisis, hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians still have no health insurance – many of them parents with children at home. We will continue fighting for policies that bring health care to more of the people who need it, especially low-income families, rural families, Black and immigrant families who are most likely to be left out of health care in our state – and who are also most disproportionately harmed by the pandemic. There is also much we can do to increase access to health care services for young children with special health care needs, pregnant women, and youth in need of mental health support during these trying times.
Family Economic Security
Before the COVID-19 pandemic struck North Carolina, 40% of children in our state lived in low-income families struggling with poverty. Unprecedented levels of unemployment have resulted in even more families unable to afford basic needs. Nationally, nearly four times as many women than men have left the workforce – largely due to caregiving and health concerns. We will be fighting for COVID relief efforts that prioritize these struggling families.
Families are under unprecedented stress due to the social isolation and economic distress associated with COVID-19. We are calling on lawmakers to invest in programs that insulate families against some of the pressures that are strongly associated with toxic stress and child maltreatment.
Want all the details? You can read our full legislative agenda here.
2021 Voices for Children Awards
On April 16th, NC Child will celebrate some of the inspiring leaders who make a difference for kids in our state at the 2021 Voice for Children Awards. Save the date and join us for the celebration! The virtual event is April 16th from 9-10 am. Registration will open in early 2021 and sponsorships are available now – contact Ileana Rodriguez for more information.
As we look to 2021 and the challenges that lie ahead, it is so vital that we pull together and use our voices for children. We can really make a difference for kids – no matter what we face. Thank you for speaking up for North Carolina’s children and families. We grateful to have your support as we look ahead to 2021.