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VOICES Report Tracks State Progress and Trends in Addressing Children's Critical Needs
Date:9/30/2008

WASHINGTON, Sept. 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Offering an accountability check on the pledges the nation's governors lay out in their annual state of the state addresses to improve the lives and opportunities for children, Voices for America's Children today released, Fulfilling the Promise 2007: State Progress Toward Meeting Children's Needs for a Better Tomorrow. The report also offers a snapshot of the state level trends in policy efforts related to children's issues.

"Since the very beginning of our nation, accountability has played a fundamental role in our democratic system," said Bill Bentley, VOICES' President & CEO. "If we are to generate real change for the nation's children it is critical that we ensure our political leaders offer more than inspiring words and actually live up to the promises they make to our children."

Recognizing that governors can only achieve their goals in collaboration with state legislators, the report documents these outcomes. Fulfilling the Promise lists the specific progress and setbacks the states and territories have made in fulfilling promises made in the gubernatorial speeches that set state policymaking priorities in the year ahead. The report is a companion to VOICES annual report, Promises to America's Children, which compiles the pledges the governors make in their state of the state addresses regarding children's issues.

In 2007, the trends among the states relevant to address key children's issues include:

-- Governors in 25 states recognized early childhood education among their

priorities; significant investments and improvements to state early

education programs were successfully enacted in 21 states.

-- The effort to reauthorize the State Children's Health Insurance

Program (SCHIP) spotlighted the 9 million uninsured children in the

United States while the federal government was not able to reauthorize

the vital federal-state program for affordable health coverage for

low-income families; 18 states enacted legislation to ensure more

children have access to public health coverage.

-- With over 900,000 children confirmed to be victims of child

maltreatment, 40 states took steps toward strengthening services for the

protection of children.

-- Recognizing that tax and economic policies are crucial to enabling

working families to have sufficient income to raise their children and

invest in their stability and future, five states enacted or expanded a

state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

More than a tracking report, Fulfilling the Promise is also a status report on how the nation is doing to create brighter futures for all children. It illuminates how well we are fulfilling the shared ideal that every child has an equal opportunity at reaching their dreams and achieving their full potential.

"Our nation's future strength and vitality is dependent on how well we meet the critical needs of our children today," said Bentley. "Fulfilling the Promise provides a check on the progress made toward creating a nation in which every child can thrive and also underscores how much work remains to be done."

A copy of Fulfilling the Promise, along with a searchable database of the report and a link to the companion report, Promises to America's Children 2007 can found here (http://www.voices.org/pages/page.asp?page_id=44000). Hard copies of the report can be requested by calling the number below.

Voices for America's Children is a national, nonpartisan, nonprofit child advocacy organization committed to speaking out for the well-being of children at the local, state and federal levels of government. With 60 member organizations in nearly every state, as well as the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands, we advocate for effective public policies in order to improve the lives of all children throughout the United States. For more information, please visit VOICES' website at http://www.voices.org.

Contact: Halle Czechowski

czechowski@voices.org

202-380-1781


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SOURCE VOICES
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