Recently, I asked our staff to look back at 2022 to share some of their highlights. Listening to their stories, I am incredibly proud of what NC Child and our community have accomplished together this year. As we welcome the New Year with families and friends, I’m asking for you to consider a year-end gift to NC Child so we can continue this important work in 2023.
Here’s a look back at a few highlights of our work for North Carolina’s children and families.
During North Carolina’s 2022 legislative “Short Session,” the legislature enacted two of our top priorities. These are important policy changes that will make children’s lives better in our state:
Protect children’s health coverage by merging the NC Health Choice program with Medicaid
Merging the NC Health Choice program (also known as CHIP) with NC Medicaid will ensure continuous, quality coverage for more than 100,000 NC children – particularly those with special health care needs – by reducing administrative duplication. Read more in our fact sheet. NC Child has been fighting for this change, alongside our partners who serve children with special health care needs, for many years.
Increased funding for child care & early education
Legislators moved towards creating a more equitable child care subsidy rate by increasing the statewide market rate. This is an important step forward in making quality child care affordable & accessible for more North Carolina families. Learn more about how to improve North Carolina child care subsidy rates.
Closer than ever to closing NC’s “Coverage Gap.”
While we haven’t crossed the finish line, our legislature moved closer than ever before to closing the coverage gap by expanding eligibility for NC Medicaid. This policy would bring access to quality, affordable healthcare to over 600,000 North Carolinians – at least 1/4 of whom are parents with children at home. For the first time ever, both the House and the Senate passed Medicaid expansion bills this session – but the two have not yet found a way to reconcile differences. Read more: How expanding Medicaid helps kids.
“Elevated Moments” at 2022 Kids
In March, hundreds of child advocates from around the state joined us for a two-day, virtual statewide policy forum, 2022 Kids. The powerful lineup of presenters shared inspiration, critical thinking, brainstorming, and informative sessions to help us all learn how the voices of families who are directly impacted by policies can move to a central role in policy change efforts.
Using a moving Langston Hughes poem as lectionary, keynote speaker Rev. Dr. Starsky Wilson challenged us as advocates to “Let America Be America Again,” by seeing our children differently, slowing down our urgent processes, and creating space for youth – the true experts on what’s going on with youth – to be heard and to lead.
New Report Traces the Journey of a Young Child
EarlyWell – our collaboration with the NC Early Childhood Foundation and many other partners – released a new report on how North Carolina’s policies and services can better support families to build their children’s mental health during their early years. The recommendations grow out of a robust and family-centered stakeholder process. The next phase of the work will be turning these recommendations into policy and practice solutions, and advocating for policy and systems changes that will make them real.
Care and Learning (CandL)
Finally, I want to highlight the tremendous work of Care and Learning, also known as CandL – a collaboration that NC Child co-leads with the Black Child Development Institute and NC Early Childhood Foundation. The CandL team has partnered with organizations in more than 30 North Carolina counties this year to ask parents and early educators what they want and need out of our state’s early childhood system.
Every young child in North Carolina deserves the opportunity to take part in a strong early childhood program that puts them on track for success in school and in life. Led by the voices of the true experts – parents of young children and their caregivers – CandL is shaping an advocacy agenda for North Carolina that will help make that vision a reality.
I’m incredibly proud that we’ve made so many real gains for kids this year. And we did so during a year of leadership transition – truly no small feat. When I asked our staff what they were proudest of this year, there was one theme that emerged over and over: that our advocacy work is truly following the lead of the families most impacted by the public policies on which we work. This is thanks in large part to the members of our Parent Advisory Council, and the thousands of child advocates across the state who make up our Child Advocacy Network.
As we ring in the New Year, thank you for standing up for kids, and standing together with NC Child. Together we are the voice for North Carolina’s children.