MONTGOMERY—Children First Foundation is praising the Alabama House of Representatives for their bipartisan effort to protect Alabama’s children Tuesday night. The policy makers restored $20 million to the Children First Trust Fund which the Senate attempted to divert into the General Fund to balance the State’s budget.
The bipartisan effort was led by House Minority Leader, Representative Craig Ford, D-Gadsden; Speaker of the House, Mike Hubbard, R-Auburn; and Representative Jim Barton, R-Mobile but included all representatives of the House.
Representative Ford, with the help of Hubbard and Barton, offered an amendment that restored $20 million to the Children First Trust Fund (CFTF). The full House passed the amendment by a 99-0 vote. The $20 million comes from a one-time tobacco arbitration settlement that the State is supposed to receive this month. By law 46% of any tobacco dollars received by the State are supposed to go to the CFTF.
“The House chose to stand up for our State’s children in a vital way last night when they put $20 million back into the CFTF to serve and protect our children,” states Christy Mehaffey, Executive Director of Children First Foundation. “It was a great example of how policy makers can come together in a bipartisan effort on behalf of children.”
The CFTF helps to fund 12 state agencies for specific children’s programs such as juvenile probation services, foster care, tobacco use prevention, child abuse prevention and many others. Children First Foundation protects these dollars each year as they are appropriated by the legislature, but the organization does not receive any of the funding.
The bill will now head to the Senate where it is expected to be sent to conference committee. “The Senate now has a chance to be champions for our children, too.” states Mehaffey, “they have the power to insure this funding stays in place for our smallest citizens.”
Children First Foundation is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to improving the lives of Alabama’s children and families by shaping public policy. The Foundation was formed because our states’ leaders and child advocates saw a need to advocate for children in the halls of Alabama’s legislature. For more information, please visit www.alabamachildrenfirst.com.