The Virginia General Assembly closed last month with lots of good news for babies and families.
Initiatives approved by the legislature include improving many aspects of prenatal health care in the state by extending postpartum health coverage to 12 months, adding prenatal health coverage for economically disadvantaged mothers who are undocumented immigrants, launching Medicaid doula coverage, and directing the state Medicaid agency to continue planning for a funded home visiting benefit.
Child care also received a boost with HB2206, temporarily increasing income eligibility for child care assistance to 85 percent of the state median income, and allowing families to be eligible when looking for work. Additionally SB1316 will fund a pilot program that will allow the state to contract with providers based on enrollment rather than attendance, collect essential data on cost of high quality care, and make recommendations for future reimbursement methods. The final budget also includes $5 million in early educator incentive grants to help increase wages by providing a $1,500 incentive for early educators in publicly funded programs.
Finally, the General Assembly directed the Department of Education to move forward with implementing plans for early childhood mental health consultation to meet the social-emotional needs of young children in early care and education programs and to report on any additional funding or legislative changes needed for further implementation.
ZERO TO THREE sends a hearty congratulations to all advocates in Virginia and, in particular, to the Building Strong Foundations for Families team! Learn more about ZERO TO THREE’s work in Virginia.