Today We Start “Speaking of Kids”

29 January 2013 Written by  

Welcome to "Speaking of Kids", Voices for Utah Children's new blog. The blog will be published once a week during the legislative session to help us keep you current on legislative activities affecting children and families. While we have been "microblogging" for some time through Facebook and Twitter, a blog provides us a new venue to help you understand complex issues without the limits of 140 characters!

The Utah Legislature meets for 45 days. During that time they will likely be hearing about over 900 bills. As of the first day of the session, 150 bills have already been filed in the Senate and double that in the House. Voices for Utah Children will be following many of these bills that we feel impact children. If we could have a Legislative wish list for this session, it would include:

  • The passage of results-based financing for high quality preschool - High quality preschool programs for at-risk children reduce costs in remedial services such as special education and improves academic achievement.
  • The passage of a state refundable Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). A state EITC would provide a valuable income tax credit for low-income, working Utahns.
  • Removal of the five year waiting period for children who legally immigrate to the United States. Currently these children must wait before they are eligible to enroll in Utah's Medicaid and CHIP programs.

These are just a few of the many bills Voices for Utah Children will be fighting for up on the hill. You can stay current on the progress of these and many more bills by signing up for alerts on our website. Simply go to http://www.utahchildren.org, scroll to the bottom of the page, and give us your name and email address. We will email you with important bill updates and ways you can help us be a voice for children at the Legislature. We will also be "tweeting" from hearings and floor time so if you are a Twitter fan follow us at @utchildren. Or if Facebook is more your thing, please friend us at www.facebook.com/UtahChildren.

There is no reason to sit on the sidelines for the next 45 days. Stay informed, follow the issue and call or email your representative to let him or her know how you feel about the issues, tell them what you, as a voter, find important. One in three people living in Utah today is under the age of 19. Speaking of Kids -- let's ask our legislature to speak for the 33% of Utah residents who can't speak up for themselves, our kids.

Terry Haven
Deputy Director

P.S. If you're not sure who your legislator is, visit the state website at http://www.le.utah.gov/GIS/findDistrict.jsp. It will help you determine who your legislators are and provide you with their contact information.

Terry Haven 300Terry Haven, Deputy Director, joined the organization in 1996. She researches and publishes the annual Utah KIDS COUNT data book that reports on the well-being of Utah's children by county. She analyzes U.S Census data and provides data support for all Voices issue areas. She also conducts trainings and provides technical assistance on data work for community groups. Terry is the point person at Voices for our work on Intergenerational Poverty and two-generation strategies for moving children and their families out of poverty. This includes working with the Intergenerational Poverty Commission Research Subcommittee and focusing on chronic absence.Terry works with a number of national partners including the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Ascend Fund at the Aspen Institute, and Attendance Works to help further the mission of Voices for Utah Children. Her academic background is in sociology, with a Bachelors degree and Masters degree from the University of Wyoming.