Budgets always require tough choices, and on Tuesday, Governor Beshear built on his previous commitment to kids around health and high school graduation and became “the Children’s Governor” because of the choices he made, the priorities he established, and the values he exemplified.
In what is arguably the most historic budget address for kids in the Commonwealth in decades, Governor Beshear laid out an agenda that is as smart as it is bold. He tackled the myriad of challenges that confront children and families in a holistic way.
Key highlights of the budget related to the Blueprint for Kentucky’s Children include:
- Restored funding for the Child Care Assistance Program back to 150% of the poverty line and the state will start accepting new applications again in July 2014;
- Funding to support grandparents raising grandchildren;
- Expanded funding for home visiting through the HANDS program;
- Restored funding for education that will help teachers in the classroom; and
- Funding for the Child Fatality Review Panel.
Given the economics of these times, the Governor’s commitments around child care and kinship care are especially significant. Another budget item with the real potential to leverage results is the expansion of the HANDS Program, which will positively impact health and early learning and keep kids safe from abuse and neglect.
I was especially pleased that the Governor is laser focused when it comes to K-12, as he ensured that a major piece of additional investments in public schools will directly impact the classroom.
Finally, the Governor is to be commended for taking yet another step forward around protecting children by funding the External Child Fatality Review Panel. Governor Beshear originally established this important tool for combating child abuse through an Executive Order, and this budget item will give the Panel the resources it needs to do its vital job well.
When kids succeed, Kentucky’s families, communities, and our economy win. Governor Beshear understands that formula for the Commonwealth’s future, and now is the time for the House and Senate to rally behind Steve Beshear, who confirmed his commitment to Kentucky children with tonight’s speech.
We thank the Governor for his commitment to kids, but the work is not over. The budget now heads to the House and we need your help to make sure these vital investments for kids stay in the House budget. To learn how you can help, click here.