2017 LEGISLATIVE AGENDA
Protection of the Children First Trust Fund
In the next legislative session, the General Fund budget will face shortfalls as it has in recent years. We must continue to remind our legislators that as they look for revenue to offset the cost of government, the Children First Trust Fund must remain intact. It is a highly accountable fund that has to report exactly how many children and families are served by its dollars each year. No other budget in Alabama upholds those strict standards.
Advocate for Sufficient Funding for Agencies that Serve Children
The twelve state agencies that benefit from the Children First Trust Fund are also funded by either the General Fund or the Education Trust Fund. As budgets in Alabama become tighter, it is important to continue to educate lawmakers on what proposed cuts could do to the well-being of Alabama’s children.
Continue to Advocate for Full Funding of the Medicaid Program
Currently, over 585,000 of Alabama’s children depend on Medicaid for their healthcare needs. We will continue to educate the public and our lawmakers about who a Medicaid recipient in Alabama really is and to advocate for full funding for the Medicaid Agency through the #IamMedicaid campaign.
In 2016, with the help of 50+ partner organizations, we held numerous press conferences, sent almost 6,000 emails to legislators, gained national attention and gathered pictures and information from over 100 Medicaid recipients in Alabama. We plan to build upon these previous efforts to make sure that policy makers know the ramifications of their decisions regarding this vital program.
Monitor Possible Funding Need for the Children’s Health Insurance Plan (CHIP)
CHIP, called the All Kids Program in AL, currently serves 70,000 children. All Kids provides insurance for children whose parents do not meet the poverty threshold required to qualify for Medicaid. These identified families pay a small insurance premium in order to receive services. For the past several years, the federal government has fully funded this program. However, full funding has not yet been reauthorized for FY18 by Congress. As a result, Alabama may have to contribute $60-$80 million dollars so that these children can continue to receive healthcare. We will be closely monitoring the situation at the federal level so we can advocate appropriately for any needed funding at the state level.
Support Possible Revenue Measures for the General Fund
Children First believes that without a healthy General Fund, the children of this state will not receive adequate services. The cuts to state agencies over the last several years have resulted in the elimination of programs for families across the state and, as a result, progress we have made to increase the overall well-being of our children has been diminished.