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A 2011 Agenda for Texas Children and More - November News
Texans Care for Children

November, 2010

Texans Care for Children
Hi texas-
It has taken 14 months, hundreds of Texans, many dozen meetings, and a whole lot of buy-in. . .and it is finally here: our 2011 policy agenda for Texas children.
This agenda represents things our state and its elected officials can do–even in times of budgetary crisisto improve the lives of children for a stronger future Texas. Some  items on the agenda may seem pretty detailed, and others are broader, affecting most or all children. But each little bullet point has the power to improve many, many young lives in Texas.
Over the years, we have been privileged to watch many of our priority items make the miraculous journey, from bullet point to official state policy. We have seen the difference it can make to have written into the law the strategies proven to work well for children. Your help is essential, and together we can make it happen again, so Texas comes ever closer to putting kids first.

Time to head to the Capitol...
Addressing Conditions for Children and Families in 2011
On January 11th, the Texas Legislature will convene and begin making vital decisions that impact every Texan. There will be decisions about services for millions of families and children. There will be votes on implementing the new health care law, reshaping voting lines, and balancing a budget with far fewer dollars in the midst of a recession.
Texans Care for Children's agenda is endorsed by our board but crafted by our members and close coalition partners. The things we learn from the coalitions that we convene or help lead—the Infant Health Alliance, Partnership for a Healthy Texas, Juvenile Justice Roundtable, Children's Mental Health Forum, Poverty and Economic Security Roundtable,  Texas CHIP Coalition, and Texas Forward—all played a major part in the agenda that took shape.
Our agenda web page contains numerous sign-on opportunities, and we will add more as they arise. Meanwhile to track the progress of this agenda, be sure you are signed up for our Policy Action Alerts on the issues that interest you most. To sign up, click on the "manage your preferences" link at the bottom of this page, or the sign-up box on the page at this link for our: 2011 Agenda for Children
Helping Kids with the Most Complex Needs
An estimated 735,000 children and youth in Texas have a mental health challenge, and for some, these challenges are severe. At an October summit at the Capitol co-hosted by Texans Care, experts from national, state, and local perspectives came to talk about a promising approach for these children. Shown to be effective at promoting positive outcomes for children and youth whose behavioral health needs are among the most challenging, systems of care brings together multiple service providers and groups to meet children's needs, while also allowing children to remain with their families, in their homes and communities. Visit our site for presentations, resources, and a summary blog post on the  Promising Practices in Serving Children with Complex Behavioral Health Needs and Their Families: System of Care in Texas Summit.
Youth and family share their stories at our most recent summit at the Capitol

Lindale ISD's Haley Spires, one of last year's Letters to Leaders winners, with her winning submission.
Connecting Elected Officials to Ideas from Children
If you work with children or know someone who does, it's time for  Letters to Leaders. Now in its third year, this project invites children to submit art and letters to their state leaders, while also inviting elected officials to make a connection with children and respond.
For this year's contest, children in grades K-3 are encouraged to submit an illustration or painting on the subject: “My idea for Texas.” Children in fourth grade and above are invited to participate in the letter-writing portion of the contest, submitting letters to elected leaders or candidates for office on a topic of their choosing. The prize will be a trip to meet state leaders at the Capitol, including a flight to Austin for children and their chaperones. The deadline for submissions is December 20, 2010.
For complete contest guidelines, detailed teacher lesson plans tied to TEKS learning objectives, and samples of letters children submitted in previous years for this project, click here.
Policy Round-Up: Votes, Addressing Hunger, ECI news, TYC cuts, Research and Resources, and More...
Opportunities for action: 
Testimony update: Mental health policy associate Josette Saxton testified recently about the importance of sustaining a strong Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) program, and we also continued presenting at budget hearings on issues such as how proposed cuts at the Texas Youth Commission could prove costly. Read this and other testimony.
What's new on our blog: Here is what you may have missed:
Get the Facts and Vote Kids First
Voices for America's Children asks you to vote with kids in mind.

Texans Care for Children. . . Leading policy advances for kids since 1985.


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