Parents, grandparents, children, youth, advocates, service providers, teachers and others came out to the General Assembly in force today to advocate for critical children’s programs and services, including Health Choice health insurance for children, infant mortality prevention funding, early education, and community-based services for at-risk youth. They also called on the General Assembly to extend child labor protections for agricultural workers and to raise the age of juvenile court jurisdiction from 16 to 18 for youth accused of minor crimes.
“North Carolina has historically made smart, critical investments in programs that protect children’s basic health, safety, and education,” said Barb Bradley, President & CEO of Action for Children North Carolina, one of the groups that organized the day. “Times are tough this year, and difficult choices must be made, but it is counter-productive to balance the state’s budget on the backs of our children.”
Other partners included the Covenant with North Carolina’s Children, the North Carolina Pediatric Society, the North Carolina Partnership for Children, Inc. (Smart Start), the NC Child Care Coalition, North Carolina MomsRising, Toxic Free NC, and local groups Children’s First/Communities in Schools of Buncombe County and the Council for Children’s Rights in Charlotte.
Attendees visited their legislators and key legislative leaders throughout the morning, advocating on behalf of children’s programs and services. A press event in the middle of the day highlighted parents and children who benefit from some of the programs the groups were advocating for.