April 16, 2020
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KAC Monthly Newsletter

KAC President John Wilson
At KAC, a certain vision in uncertain times

When I wrote you last time , on March 9, we were still talking about a busy legislative session, the upcoming Census Day, and work we have to do to make Kansas a better place.
What a difference a month makes.
The last time our entire team was together in-person was on March 12. The state is responding to the coronavirus pandemic with stay-at-home orders and other measures to promote social distancing. The Legislature is out of town and may adjourn until next January. And 2020 Census work continues, but with a delay in in-person data collection. There is so much change, yet our work on behalf Kansas children and families remains the same.
Even in "normal" times, data revealed that tens of thousands of our fellow Kansans struggled to afford rent, put food on the table, or pay for a visit to the doctor.
This pandemic is pushing those Kansans further into economic despair and pulling even more families into this situation. The twin health and financial crises caused by COVID-19 show why we must remove barriers to work and family support programs such as child care assistance, cash assistance, and KanCare.
At Kansas Action for Children, the pandemic has only strengthened our resolve and conviction . This work -- of making sure that Kansas kids have their essential needs met -- will allow us to rebound from this crisis better than before [JW1]  .
But we can't do it alone. Making sure that we sustain and expand investments in public programs will require action from a broad swath of everyday folks, along with allied groups. Many of our friends and neighbors are focused on these concerns right now, but we know that as crises recede, memories fade.
Please join us in this work We understand that donations may be difficult at this time, but you can also add your name to our petition asking leaders to put Kansas kids and families first. (This is only a first step; in the months to come, we will let you know about opportunities to use you voice to shape polices at the state and national level).
In a few short weeks, it's become a cliché to say that we're living through uncertain times. But we are certain that our work remains vital to the future of this state and our kids.

Stay safe and well,

Join us for KAC Conversations

With the KAC staff mostly working from home in March and April, we started a series of Facebook Live chats that we call KAC Conversations. For about a half-hour, we talk about important topics and answer viewer questions.
We've held three conversations so far, with more on the way. Watch the YouTube versions of the chats below (these are edited with titles), and  follow our Facebook page  for announcements about upcoming live versions.
  • Breaking down the state budget: What happened as the Legislature raced to wrap up essential business this session. (With Vice President Adrienne Olejnik.)

Bracing for a rough economy
With the spread of COVID-19 in Kansas, across the country, and across the world, we have seen the economy shudder. Huge dips in the stock market, massive layoffs, and underemployment and unemployment have followed as businesses close in response to the health crisis.
The country is due for a recession, and the COVID-19 pandemic might be the catalyst for bringing it on. Unfortunately, most states are not fully prepared for the next recession.   According to a new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities , states vary widely in their preparedness for the next recession.

A KAC petition for kids and families

The coronavirus emergency has forced policymakers to pay attention to vital programs such as paid leave, child care assistance, and family income supports. And that's important. But these are also the same policies that Kansas families need each and every day.
Right now, federal lawmakers are being lobbied by a variety of organizations to include their issue or special population in relief packages. We can't let them forget Kansas kids. Once the crisis passes, we will see candidates fan out across the state and the Legislature meet for a new session. We can't let them forget Kansas kids, either. 
That's why we've started an online petition drive  t hat lets everyone across the state add their name and voice to this cause. We're not just asking for your name and basic contact information - we want to know what issues matter to you.
Do you follow child care? What about health care access? Do you focus on tax and budget issues? You can check a box and let us know, so we're able to send you opportunities to make a difference that resonate most with you.
What does that mean? Possibly we will ask you to contact a candidate or officeholder about an important policy. We might let you know about a live event in your area that you can attend. We could have special email and snail mail pieces outlining the issues that matter most.
Make no mistake: We need you now -- and in the future.

Helping your children (and ours) learn from home

  As parents take on the role of teacher for the rest of the spring semester, many are overwhelmed with how to keep their kids occupied while they work, and engaged in the important brain development we know is so critical.
That's why Kansas Action for C hildren's Jami Jones assembled a list resources to share with our staff of working parents. We've also posted them to our blog and encourage you to share them with anyone else looking for educational resources. Together (but with the appropriate six-foot distancing), we can do this!
Sign up for the KAC Daily Update  and ot her communications. 

Follow Kansas Action for Children  on Twitter for real-time information.

Like Kansas Action for Children on Facebook to stay connected with our statewide network of advocates.

Visit our website at KAC.org for a comprehensive overview of our work.