Legislature(1997 - 1998)

1997-01-30 Senate Journal

Full Journal pdf

1997-01-30                     Senate Journal                      Page 0178
SB 72                                                                        
SENATE BILL NO. 72 BY THE SENATE RULES COMMITTEE                               
BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR, entitled:                                          

1997-01-30                     Senate Journal                      Page 0179
SB 72                                                                        
An Act establishing the Healthy Families Alaska                               
program; relating to Medicaid coverage for targeted                            
case management services for pregnant women and                                
for eligible children under the age of five; and                               
providing for an effective date.                                               
was read the first time and referred to the State Affairs, Health,             
Education and Social Services and Finance Committees.                          
Zero fiscal notes published today from Department of Health and                
Social Services (2).                                                           
Governors transmittal letter dated January 30:                                 
Dear President Miller:                                                         
Its easy to say lets just get tough when faced with the dilemma                
of how to put an end to our growing problem with juvenile crime.               
But getting tough is just one part of a much bigger formula.  We               
must promote and fund prevention services for kids who are at risk             
of becoming juvenile offenders so that we never allow the cycle of             
a life of violence and crime to begin.                                         
This bill is part of my package of legislation based on                        
recommendations of the Governors Conference on Youth and                       
Justice.  It establishes the Healthy Families Alaska program to                
provide education and support services to pregnant women and the               
families of newborn infants.                                                   
The Healthy Families program offers home visits to eligible families           
on a voluntary basis.  The visits are designed to meet the needs of            
parents for information, emotional support, stress management, and             
assistance with other negative factors that undermine parents health           
habits and the care of their children.  In addition to preventing child        
abuse and neglect, the service providers work with families to ensure          
their children receive medical care, such as immunizations, and that           
mothers receive prenatal care.                                                 

1997-01-30                     Senate Journal                      Page 0180
SB 72                                                                        
These home visits teach parents to develop realistic expectations              
about child development and positive discipline techniques.  They              
also educate parents about other available services, such as job               
training programs, drug and alcohol abuse programs, and day care               
The Healthy Families Alaska program is administered by the                     
Department of Health and Social Services with services provided by             
community-based private, nonprofit corporations, municipal                     
governments, and regional Native health corporations.  I also                  
anticipate this program will be eligible for future Medicaid coverage;         
the bill is written to accommodate that possibility.                           
It is crucial this program be fully funded if it is to achieve its goals.      
I have included in my proposed operating budget $614,000 for the               
Healthy Families program.                                                      
Because research shows that abused children are more likely to                 
become violent or be victims of violence as adults, prenatal and               
infancy home visitation programs may be an effective long-term                 
strategy for preventing youth violence.  Programs similar to this              
proposal have proven effective in other states in preventing poor              
childhood outcomes, including abuse and neglect.  I urge you to                
allow Alaska to join those states in establishing an effective Healthy         
Families program.                                                              
						Tony Knowles