Dedicated Funding Will Improve Health and Education of Children Kansas City
(October 5, 2016) – Children’s Mercy Kansas City announced its endorsement of Amendment 3, an initiative to fund investments in early childhood health and education. The hospital joins a growing list of supporters who have long advocated for increased funding for programs and services that will benefit Missouri’s birth to five population. The amendment will appear on the statewide ballot this November.
Children’s Mercy serves as a regional leader in promoting community health initiatives like programs to reduce childhood obesity and works to address key children’s health needs through local partnerships with schools and public health agencies. For children to be successful in both school and life, investments in both health and education must be made in a child’s first five years. Amendment 3 provides a dedicated source of funding that will foster child development, promote good health and prevent child abuse and neglect.
Linda Rallo, co-‐founder of Raise Your Hand for Kids, the group sponsoring Amendment 3, applauded the support of Children’s Mercy. “We wrote the Early Childhood Health and Education Amendment specifically to fund the priorities that Children’s Mercy has long championed. The health of our region and state depends on the well-‐being our youngest citizens and we are fortunate to have partners like Children’s Mercy who are willing to lead the way to a better future for our state.” Rallo also added, “Amendment 3 guarantees the new funding will go directly to investments in early childhood health and education and specifically prohibits politicians from diverting the money or using the funds for other purposes.”
Amendment 3 dedicates funding for preschool and home visitation programs like those provided by Parents as Teachers. It also funds preventative health care and health and developmental screenings for children ages birth to five as well as smoking cessation programs for pregnant mothers and youth.
Investing in early childhood health and education is a proven way to reduce crime, grow the economy and save taxpayer dollars. Amendment 3 will establish a secure and untouchable source of funding by simply raising Missouri’s lowest-‐in-‐the-‐nation cigarette tax to a level that is still one of the lowest in the nation, and putting that money, $300 million per year once the measure is fully phased in by 2020, in a constitutionally-‐protected lockbox that ensures it goes to early childhood education. The Amendment is supported by a broad coalition of organizations from across the state, including the Missouri School Boards’ Association, Missouri State NAACP, the Missouri Association of Early Childhood Teacher Educators, Parents as Teachers, Mosaic Life Care, SSM Health Care and many others.