For Immediate Release: August 11, 2014
Contacts: Office of the Governor: Brian Coy Email: Brian.Coy@governor.virginia.gov

Governor McAuliffe Announces Creation of Children’s Cabinet and the Commonwealth Council on Childhood Success

 

Richmond - Governor McAuliffe today signed an Executive Order creating a cabinet solely dedicated to the education, health, safety, and welfare of Virginia’s children and youth. The newly launched Children’s Cabinet will develop and implement a policy agenda that will help better serve Virginia’s children and will also foster collaboration between state and local agencies.  As a part of that effort, the Governor also signed a second Executive Order establishing the Commonwealth Council on Childhood Success. This Council will be chaired by Lt. Governor Northam and will focus on improving the health, education, and well-being of our youngest children. 

“Children are the Commonwealth’s most important resource, and it is critical that we provide them with the tools and resources they need to thrive in a 21st century economy,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Both the Children’s Cabinet and the Commonwealth Council on Childhood Success will help ensure that Virginia’s children live happy and productive lives.” 

Secretary of Education Anne Holton and Secretary of Health and Human Resources Bill Hazel will serve as co-chairs of the Children’s Cabinet.  Lt. Governor Ralph Northam, Secretary of Public Safety Brian Moran, Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones and the First Lady of Virginia Dorothy McAuliffe will serve as members of the Children’s Cabinet. 

“The Children’s Cabinet provides an opportunity to work together on the complex issues that affect a child’s development.  Addressing the need for safe housing, access to healthcare and proper nutrition are important first steps that will help bridge the achievement gap and prepare Virginia’s children to succeed in a new Virginia economy,” said First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe

“It is an honor to be named Chair of the Commonwealth Council on Childhood Success,” said Lt. Governor Northam. “I am incredibly grateful that early childhood is a priority for Governor McAuliffe and his administration. The early years of a child’s life are extremely formative, and have a significant impact on their health, growth, and readiness to succeed. As policymakers we must ensure that our public investments in these services provide adequate access and high quality programs. I look forward to working with state agencies, local school districts, service providers, the business community, and advocates to ensure that every Virginia child has the opportunity to thrive and succeed.” 

“The establishment of the Children’s Cabinet is a great first step towards addressing the basic needs of Virginia’s youth,” said Secretary Holton. “There are schools, neighborhoods, and communities across the Commonwealth suffering under the crushing weight of entrenched poverty, and it is our goal with the Children’s Cabinet to offer a helping hand, not a wagging finger.” 

Secretary Hazel added, “While regular communication between secretariats regarding children and youth issues is important, we believe a more significant impact can be achieved by delving further into the issues impacting the health, education and success of our children.” 

The Children’s Cabinet will focus on five specific priority areas: 

  • Eradicating the achievement gap in schools in high poverty communities.
  • Increasing access to basic needs including housing, healthcare, and proper nutrition.
  • Improving outcomes for youth transitioning out of Virginia’s juvenile justice, mental health and foster care systems.
  • Increasing workforce opportunities for parents and for youth as they transition out of high school. 
  • Improving early childhood care and education. 

 

The full text of the executive orders are below:  

 

CHAMPIONS FOR VIRGINIA’S CHILDREN:

VIRGINIA CHILDREN’S CABINET

 

Executive Order Number 21 (2014)

Importance of the Issues

 

With a longstanding history of prioritizing our youngest generation, Virginia has a distinguished record as one of the best states for children and families. This achievement has been accomplished through a firm commitment to the highest quality of life, health care, public safety, K-12 and higher education, and a vibrant business environment that promotes job growth, employment opportunities, and career advancement.

 We must ensure that youth throughout Virginia can excel, beginning in their earliest years. Addressing the challenges that face our children requires a comprehensive approach that focuses on strengthening families and stemming the tide of poverty. To build Virginia’s workforce, we must continue to invest in and foster the development of healthy and well-educated children who are prepared to be productive members of our communities as adults.

 The Commonwealth of Virginia must cultivate a solid foundation for our children and their families through supportive measures that promote: 1) early childhood development programs and basic healthcare needs, 2) age-appropriate mental health services, 3) first-rate, coordinated services for at-risk youth, 4) critical educational outcomes and academic readiness to succeed, and 5) nutritional security and access to stable housing. The education, health, safety, and well-being of Virginia’s children are fundamental to the Commonwealth’s future.

 

Establishment of the Cabinet

 Accordingly, by virtue of the authority vested in me as Governor under Article V of the Constitution of Virginia and under the laws of the Commonwealth, and subject to my continuing and ultimate authority and responsibility to act in such matters, I hereby initiate Champions for Virginia’s Children with the establishment of the Virginia Children’s Cabinet (“Children’s Cabinet”).

  

Virginia Children’s Cabinet

The Children’s Cabinet shall develop and implement a comprehensive policy agenda related to the education, health, safety, and well-being of youth throughout the Commonwealth. It shall evaluate and recommend strategies to optimize and align local, state, and federal public resources, and public-private partnerships to enhance current and prospective programs and services for Virginia’s children and their families, particularly those at highest risk. It shall also identify best practices and areas for improvement.

Additionally, the Children’s Cabinet shall provide leadership and strategic direction, facilitate the sharing of information, and work to improve service delivery of state programs. It shall identify specific goals, outcomes, and metrics to accomplish its work during this administration. These issues are interrelated and require regular communication and collaboration across local, state, and federal agencies, secretariats, industry sectors, and other related constituencies. It will coordinate with other state entities as appropriate to remain apprised of developing issues.

 

Children’s Cabinet Priorities

 By collaborating across secretariats and working with local, state, and federal agencies, private industry, non-profit organizations, the Children’s Cabinet will work to ensure that effective supports are in place to achieve the following:

 

  1. Beyond the barriers. Schools in high-poverty communities face numerous systemic societal barriers (such as unstable housing, high crime rates, health, nutritional, and social challenges). The myriad of issues facing these schools and their students must be addressed. Opportunities for increased support will be identified, including, but not limited to, community and social services for Virginia’s most vulnerable children and their families.
  2. Raising the foundation. High quality early child care, increased access to pre-K, and educational programs lay the foundation for academic achievement. Child care providers must be held accountable to provide quality care so that our youngest children will thrive and obtain the necessary skills to contribute to our communities.
  3. Access to basics. Access to healthcare, housing, and proper nutrition must be facilitated to meet basic needs and ensure the healthy growth, development, and well-being of our children and their families.
  4. Triumph over transitions. Services for youth who are transitioning out of Virginia’s juvenile justice, mental health, and foster care systems will be assessed. Best practices will be determined, and replication will be encouraged. Factors leading to youth entering the juvenile justice system will be identified to reduce the impact of incarceration. Issues related to educational and work transitions from preschool to K-12 education, and K-12 education to college and/or the workforce, will also be examined. 
  5. Working parents, building families.Policies and services that encourage workforce development efforts for parents through education, credential training, career development, and employment will be addressed.

 

Composition of the Children’s Cabinet

The Secretaries of Education and Health and Human Resources shall serve as Co-Chairs of the Children’s Cabinet. 

The Children’s Cabinet will be appointed by the Governor and consist of the Lieutenant Governor, the First Lady, the Secretaries of Commerce and Trade, Education, Health and Human Resources, and Public Safety and Homeland Security. The Children’s Cabinet Co-Chairs may invite other Secretaries to participate as needed and appropriate.

 

Staffing

Staff support for the Children’s Cabinet will be provided by the Secretaries of Education, Health and Human Resources, and any other agencies or offices as may be designated by the Governor. The Children’s Cabinet will serve in an advisory role, in accordance with § 2.2-2100 of the Code of Virginia, and will meet upon the call of the Chairs at least four times per year. The Children’s Cabinet will issue an annual report by no later than June 1, and any additional reports and recommendations as necessary or as requested by the Governor.

 

Effective Date of the Executive Order

This Executive Order shall be effective upon its signing and shall remain in force and effect until January 9, 2018, unless amended or rescinded by further executive order.

Given under my hand and under the Seal of the Commonwealth of Virginia, this 11th day of August, 2014.

Terence R. McAuliffe, Governor

 

Attest:    Levar M. Stoney, Secretary of the Commonwealth 

 

ESTABLISHING THE COMMONWEALTH COUNCIL

ON CHILDHOOD SUCCESS

 

Executive Order Number 22 (2014)

 

Initiative 

The optimal development of Virginia’s infants, toddlers, and young children is linked to our success as a Commonwealth. Children’s earliest experiences have a significant impact on their health, growth, and readiness to succeed. 

We must address the basic health, education, and child care needs of young children, including the early identification of intellectual and developmental delays, access to stable housing and nutritious foods, and high quality child care and early education programs. Public and other resources need to be used efficiently and effectively by local, state, and federal agencies, nonprofit organizations, and providers of health care, child care, and education through early intervention and case management.   

 

Establishment of the Council

Accordingly, by virtue of the authority vested in me as Governor under Article V of the Constitution of Virginia and under the laws of the Commonwealth, including, but not limited to     §§ 2.2-134 and 2.2-135 of the Code of Virginia, and subject to my continuing and ultimate authority and responsibility to act in such matters, I hereby establish the Commonwealth Council on Childhood Success.

 

Commonwealth Council on Childhood Success (“CCCS”)

The Commonwealth Council on Childhood Success shall regularly report to the Governor and the Children’s Cabinet. It will conduct a comprehensive, statewide assessment of current programs, services, and local, state, and federal public resources that serve Virginia’s children ages  0-8. In coordination with the Children’s Cabinet and relevant state agencies, it will serve as a central coordinating entity to identify opportunities and develop recommendations for improvement including, but not limited to: 1) funding for preschool, 2) kindergarten readiness, 3) strategies to close the achievement gap in early elementary years, 4) the quality and accountability of child care programs and providers, and 5) coordination of services for at-risk families. The CCCS will also collaborate with other entities as appropriate. It will seek participation from relevant stakeholders, including the business community, private and nonprofit providers, and advocacy organizations.  

 

Composition of the CCCS

The CCCS shall be chaired by the Lieutenant Governor and consist of representatives of the following: Department of Education; Department of Social Services; Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services; Department of Health; programs under part B, Section 619, and part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act; Child Care Development Fund; Virginia’s Head Start Collaboration; the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation; local educational agencies; institutions of higher education; local providers of education and child care; local Head Start programs; the business community; the legislature; and others with appropriate expertise, as appointed by the Governor.

 

Staffing

Staff support for the CCCS will be furnished by the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, and such other agencies and offices as designated by the Governor. The CCCS will serve in an advisory role to the Governor, in accordance with § 2.2-2100 of the Code of Virginia,and will meet upon the call of the Chair at least four times per year. The CCCS will issue an annual report by no later than June 1, and any additional reports as necessary.

 

Effective Date
 

This Executive Order shall be effective upon its signing and, pursuant to §§ 2.2-134 and   2.2-135 of the Code of Virginia, shall remain in full force and effect for a year from its signing or until superseded or rescinded. 

Given under my hand and under the Seal of the Commonwealth of Virginia this 11th day of

August, 2014.

Terence R. McAuliffe, Governor

Attest:     Levar M. Stoney, Secretary of the Commonwealth

 

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