Atlanta, Ga. – Voices for Georgia’s Children today released the 2020 Top Ten Issues for Kids and Families from the 2020 Legislatives Session. Every year, Voices follows the more than 250 pieces of child-related legislation filed in the hopper and, post-session, identifies and evaluates the key issues affecting Georgia’s kids and families. The 2020 Top Ten Issues for Kids and Families from the 2020 Legislatives Session is now available here.
“We are in challenging times,” said Dr. Erica Fener Sitkoff, Executive Director for Voices for Georgia’s Children. “Lawmakers were able to make some critical investments in children and families, but major gaps remain due to billions of dollars in cuts in K-12 education, child and adolescent mental health programs, and disability support services.”
Due to falling tax revenues from the pandemic, the SFY21 Budget saw significant cuts across the board. The General Assembly did shore up various policies and funding to help families get through day-to-day challenges, including preserving all 84,500 slots in Georgia Pre-K as well as existing childcare subsidy dollars. Additionally, some of this year’s highlights include the expansion of Medicaid for Pregnant Women to 6 months postpartum, eliminating certain end-of-course testing requirements, and expanding access to healthcare.
SFY21 BUDGET HIGHLIGHTS FOR KIDS AND FAMILIES
- $19.7 million for Medicaid for Pregnant Women extension
- $15 million for DFCS Afterschool Care Program
- $250,000 for a school-based primary care center in Irwin County
- $950.2 million from education
- $10+ million from children with disabilities
- $1.5 million from DBHDD Youth Clubhouses
“To say that the legislative session was unusual is an understatement,” said Polly McKinney, Advocacy Director for Voices for Georgia’s Children. “Despite the pandemic-related interruption, plummeting state revenues, and social distance parliamentary protocols, members of the General Assembly somehow managed to pass a lot of family-friendly bills and balance a budget as best they could with a truly challenging economy.”
The Top Ten Issues is written so the public can get a high-level overview of what impacted kids and families the most this session.