Last updated: July 18. 2013 2:07PM - 247 Views
Debbie Rolen
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The Campaign to End Child Poverty says 30 percent of Logan County children, age zeri to six years old, live in poverty. A meeting with several leaders from area agencies, businesses and companies speaking to Logan County and West Virginia Legislators about Child Poverty, will be held in room A-111 of the Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College, Saturday March 16, at 11 a.m.

At this event, families from Logan County will ask legislators to make public commitments to the Our Children, Our Future policy platform - including issues like Medicaid Expansion and Family Violence Prevention. This statewide platform was developed and voted on through a process of 47 community meetings, and outreach to more than 250 stakeholders - including chambers of commerce, labor unions, legislators, faith leaders, and government agencies.

The forum in Logan County is one of 12 happening all around the state, each advancing the same statewide issues that aim to alleviate child poverty in our state.

In Logan, this Forum is being organized by the American Friends Service Committee, LEAD, BAPS Youth Leadership, PRIDE, Healthy Kids and Families Coalition, Logan County FRN, and First Baptist Church of McConnell.

“There is no quick fix to our child poverty crisis,” says Lida Shepherd with the American Friends Service Committee, “But this forum is a way to hear from families impacted by poverty, advance initiatives already happening in Logan that address the roots of poverty, and generate a strong commitment from both legislators and community members to champion an end to child poverty.”

The Campaign to End Child Poverty has identified opportunities for participating and supporting this effort:

  • Call/write your State Senator and Delegate, and ask them to support all 10 issues on the Our Children, Our Future Platform. Visit www.votesmart.org and type in your address to find out who your Delegates and Senators are, and how to contact them. Ask them to support all or some of the issues on the back of this form, or other issues that you believe will make a difference in your community.
  • Gather signatures for Medicaid Expansion. The Campaign’s top issue this year is expanding health coverage to 120,000 West Virginians through Medicaid Expansion. This would create 6200 jobs and keep working families from going bankrupt from medical costs. Sign the petition to Gov. Tomblin and get others to sign too! For more copies of the petition, contact renatepore@gmail.com. Then, join us April 7th at 1:30pm at Christ Church United Methodist in Charleston, 1221 Quarrier for a statewide forum.
  • Join a local effort or issue team. Interested in supporting new parents through your church? Want to learn how to improve food and exercise opportunities in your school or community? Looking to get more involved in fighting truancy or teen pregnancy? You are not alone. We can connect you to other folks in the state, and sometimes in your own community.
  • Let us know what you are already doing. The most important thing we can all do is to lift up the voices and stories and successes of people who are already making progress, and have been for decades. Our campaign is led by local leaders like you, and one of our main goals is to learn from you, and help put a spotlight on the work you are already doing.

The 2013 Platform, Our Children, Our Future platform consists of the following ten issues:

  1. Health care for more than 120,000 working families through a Medicaid expansion up to 138 percent of the poverty line for all West Virginians.
  2. Protect family violence prevention programs and increase funding for the Children’s Trust Fund, Child Advocacy Centers, and Domestic Violence.
  3. Stop child care cuts and support the Governor’s pledge to find long-term solutions to protect Child Care benefits for working families earning up to 185% of the poverty line.
  4. Healthy foods in schools by promoting a healthy foods agenda that includes: expanding healthy food programs to at least five new schools and/or school districts (school gardens, farm to school, summer school, afterschool meals, student advisory councils, soft drink policies, etc.) and pass legislation restricting soft drinks in schools.
  5. Bi-partisan prison reform to cut waste through legislation to address prison overcrowding and rampant over-spending on corrections.
  6. Expanding truancy programs that work through prevention programs in new counties by securing current funding levels for truancy diversion projects like dropout prevention and Innovation Zone; engage in grant opportunities; encourage other new porgrams (including re-establishing the Truancy Diversion Social Work Program – proposed by NASW).
  7. Parent leadership and mutual support through collaboration with local partners – especially churches and faith institutions.
  8. Funding for Community Health Centers to provide hours more convenient for students; and requiring PEIA and Medicaid to provide oral and basic health benefits for pregnant women.
  9. Increase community based health, dental and mental health services to every county through the use of evidence based models such as Expanded School Mental Health and School-based Health Centers.
  10. Stop doctors from over-prescribing by raising awareness and passing state level legislation to give law enforcement more power to investigate and press charges against doctors who over-prescribe pain medications.

Contact Stephen Smith at ssmith@wvhealthykids.org for more information.

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