2016 Legislative Summary
Each year, our elected representatives have an extraordinary opportunity to use public policy to improve the lives of children and families in North Carolina. By expanding access to high-quality health care, strengthening our schools and early learning opportunities, and growing economic opportunity, policymakers can change a child’s life trajectory. Conversely, policy decisions can also create or worsen barriers to opportunity and success.
This session legislators took some positive, incremental steps toward safeguarding child well-being, particularly in the areas of child health and safety. While we applaud those actions, we must also point out that the policies and budget decisions approved by legislators in 2016 were largely insufficient to meet the myriad challenges faced by North Carolina’s children and families.
The health insurance coverage gap persists, our criminal justice system still prosecutes all 16- and 17-year-olds as adults, and policymakers continue to erode the revenue base that supports adequate investments in children’s priorities, such as early education, child welfare, and health.
Moving forward, we call on legislators to think big when it comes to our state’s children and invest in the research-based supports that will ensure our children’s healthy growth and bright futures.
For children to thrive, they need to get off to a strong start; they need to be healthy; they need nurturing families and communities; they need a high-quality education; and, they need economic opportunity. Public policy is a powerful tool we can use to make progress toward these goals and we hope legislators will use it more effectively and ambitiously in future years.
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