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VOICES for Alabama’s Children sets healthcare, mental health as 2024 priorities

Among other priorities, VOICES is prioritizing support for closing the healthcare coverage gap, including supporting Medicaid expansion.

VOICES for Alabama's Children

Closing the healthcare coverage gap, expanding access to mental health services and improving the child care industry top VOICES for Alabama’s Children’s 2024 Policy Agenda.

“Our policy agenda is bold because we prioritize giving all children and families every opportunity to thrive, and these priorities, we believe, will have the most impact on improving outcomes for the state’s children,”said Apreill Hartsfield, VOICES for Alabama’s Children’s policy/data analyst.

VOICES for Alabama’s Children (VOICES) speaks for the well-being of Alabama’s children through research, public awareness, and advocacy. As the state’s most comprehensive source of child well-being data, the Alabama Kids Count Data Book, the organization uses the measures to inform its advocacy and policy priorities. 

VOICES developed its 2024 policy agenda using a series of guiding principles that reflect the group’s vision for the welfare of all children in Alabama. 

“VOICES for Alabama’s Children’s vision is that all children are safe, healthy, educated, and economically secure so that they, their families, and our state can thrive. We believe all children deserve to live in a community that affirms their inherent value as members of the human family. We will advocate for policies of equity and inclusion that create opportunity for all Alabama children to have the best chance to succeed.” 

The policy agenda includes:

  • Close the Healthcare Coverage Gap Support closing the healthcare coverage gap, including supporting Medicaid expansion and other measures because nearly 300,000 working Alabamians are without healthcare coverage.
  • Increase Mental Health Services and Resources for Children – Support measures to maintain and increase access to mental health services and resources for children 18 years old and younger. 
  • Support Efforts to Improve the Child Care Industry – Support policy and programs that improve affordable, accessible, high-quality child care including a possible refundable tax credit tied to the state’s Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS) to address challenges to workforce participation for working parents. Support and protect federal investments in policies and programs to stabilize child care and Head Start as states, including Alabama, identify long-term solutions for addressing workforce development and other industry obstacles.
  • Support Investments in Alabama’s First Class Pre-K Support investments in Alabama’s First Class Pre-K Program to expand access to all four-year-olds whose families want them to participate. 

To complement these priority areas, VOICES will support its advocacy allies in the areas of addressing the impact of vaping and other electronic devices, increasing investments in food and nutrition, expanding broadband, and raising awareness about the need to improve child passenger safety.

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Jacob Holmes is a reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter. You can reach him at [email protected]

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