SCR 11: Urging continuation of the Governor's Children's Cabinet and applauding its past accomplishments.

00 SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 11 01 Urging continuation of the Governor's Children's Cabinet and applauding its past 02 accomplishments. 03 BE IT RESOLVED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA: 04 WHEREAS the Governor's Children's Cabinet was created in 1995 with the mission 05 of ensuring that children's issues are always considered during top-level policy discussions; 06 and 07 WHEREAS the children's cabinet was instrumental in bringing a cross-disciplinary 08 approach to children's issues, integrating the Offices of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, 09 and the office of management and budget with the Departments of Public Safety, Education 10 and Early Development, Corrections, Health and Social Services, and Law to address 11 challenges facing Alaska children; and 12 WHEREAS this approach was extremely successful in administrative implementation 13 of legislative enactments like welfare reform, school improvement, children's health care 14 initiatives, improving child protection, and increasing adoption of foster kids; and 15 WHEREAS the children's cabinet helped develop pro-child policies like improving 16 child care quality and availability, fighting youth smoking, preventing fetal alcohol syndrome,

01 hiring more state troopers, and expanding Head Start; and 02 WHEREAS the children's cabinet played a key role in adopting pro-child initiatives 03 like Smart Start, that provided increased health care for the children of Alaska's working 04 families, prevention programs to help break the cycle of abuse and neglect, and swift and 05 forceful intervention when children are in peril; and 06 WHEREAS the Quality Schools Initiative, which continued the standards-based 07 reforms of previous administrations, was a top priority of the children's cabinet; and 08 WHEREAS the Balloon Project, a children's cabinet initiative, has doubled the 09 adoptions of children in state custody, helping 1400 children through adoption, guardianship, 10 and family reunifications; and 11 WHEREAS the children's cabinet's relentless focus on safe, healthy, well-educated 12 children will pay tremendous dividends to the state of Alaska today and into the future; and 13 WHEREAS Alaska's child injury and death rate has decreased 41 percent in recent 14 years; and 15 WHEREAS youth smoking today is substantially lower than it was in 1994; and 16 WHEREAS the number of Alaskans receiving nutritious food and health screenings 17 through the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program is 60 percent higher today than it 18 was in 1994; and 19 WHEREAS Alaska's teen birth rate has decreased from 70.9 births per 1000 teens in 20 1991 to 48.8 births per 1000 teens in 2000, a 31 percent decline; and 21 WHEREAS Alaska's child protection efforts have improved dramatically from 1996 22 when only 73 percent of reports of harm received by the Division of Family and Youth 23 Services were responded to until 2002 when 92 percent were responded to, with a 100 percent 24 response rate in many areas; and 25 WHEREAS the 500-family waiting list that existed for child care assistance in 1997 26 is today at zero, making it much easier for families to get off and stay off welfare; and 27 WHEREAS the Alaska children's trust was activated thanks to collaboration between 28 the legislature and the administration, led by the children's cabinet, and now in addition to 29 raising private funds to increase its endowment, the Alaska children's trust provides 30 substantial grants each year from that endowment to support innovative nongovernmental 31 programs that reduce and eliminate child abuse and neglect; and

01 WHEREAS the children's cabinet draws from existing high-level staff, and thus, does 02 not require additional legislative appropriations; and 03 WHEREAS the future of Alaska cannot be bright if we fail our children; and 04 WHEREAS there is nothing Alaska children cannot accomplish if they are protected 05 from harm and given the tools they need; 06 BE IT RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature applauds the accomplishments 07 to date of the Governor's Children's Cabinet; and be it 08 FURTHER RESOLVED that the Alaska State Legislature respectfully calls on 09 Governor Frank Murkowski and future governors to continue the Governor's Children's 10 Cabinet and make use of the innovation, advocacy, and effective leadership it can provide. 11 COPIES of this resolution shall be delivered to the Honorable Frank Murkowski, 12 Governor of Alaska; the Honorable Loren Leman, Lieutenant Governor of Alaska; and to Jim 13 Clark, Chief of Staff, Office of the Governor.