More than 1,350 of Virginia's most vulnerable children and their families could lose access to health care and social services as a result of cuts to CHIP of Virginia (Comprehensive Health Investment Project) and the Healthy Families, Virginia under some proposed budgets. Yet, people who have the extra money to buy precious metals got a tax break from the House of Delegates
"We provide families the help they need to be their children's first and best teachers, so that they can start school healthy and ready to learn," says Johanna Schuchert, Executive Director of Healthy Families. "Children in Healthy Families and CHIP may start behind, but after a year of parent education, family support via home visiting, they meet or exceed state averages in all of the areas that predict future academic and economic success," says Lisa Specter-Dunaway, Executive Director of CHIP of Virginia.
One mom working with these programs recently reported that she previously missed so many days of work because of her son's asthma attacks that she almost lost her job. After her CHIP Nurse and Parent Educator helped her understand what to do to reduce environmental asthma triggers, and how to appropriately administer her son's medications, she's receiving high reviews at work and her son hasn't been to the emergency room since.
Recently, Healthy Families received a referral for an infant who had been hospitalized with a traumatic brain injury, a clear case of child abuse. Just the short term costs to Virginia for this one child, who will need life-long medical care, far exceeds the Governor's proposed budget cut. Tragedies like this will only become more frequent with cuts to services, but they are preventable.
This year alone the General Assembly chose to preserve dozens of costly tax loopholes and even opened up new ones. Even as they cut funding for sick children and families, the House of Delegates created a new loophole to eliminate sales taxes for people buying gold, silver, or platinum bullion.
Dr. James Heckman, Nobel Laureate in economics, said it best, "The question is not where to cut. The question is where to invest, and in what." Improving children's health and parents' ability to work should be a priority for Virginia.
Virginia Organizing is part of the Better Choices for Virginia, a broad alliance of business leaders, community organizations, retirees, parents, educators, health care providers, people of faith, and nonprofit organizations who want to make sure our state is a great place to live, raise a family, and run a business. We've come together for the common good. We want to make sure Virginia invests what it takes to create jobs and preserve a prosperous future: schools, health care, public safety and other building blocks of a strong economy.
"10 Ways in 10 Days" is an educational campaign to highlight the impact of the budget choices we've made in Virginia, and how we can better address the current challenges we face to ensure future prosperity.