The home visiting field ushered in a major win in the new year with the reauthorization of the federal Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program. Near the end of December 2022, President Biden signed the federal government omnibus spending bill into law, after Congress had passed it earlier that month. The massive spending package included the Jackie Walorski Maternal and Child Home Visiting Reauthorization Act, which is a bipartisan five-year reauthorization and expansion of the MIECHV program. This concludes a long effort from home visiting and maternal and child health advocates who pushed Congress to reauthorize the legislation before it expired at the end of 2022.

Issues such as making schools and communities healthier and safer topped the list of concerns of young people who gathered at the January 18 youth summit organized by the DC Girls Coalition and sponsored by Black Swan Academy, Critical Exposure, DC Action, and YWCA of the National Capital Area.. Nearly 100 middle and high schoolers shared  the urgent need for greater mental health support, better sex education, improved school sanitation, an end to gun and gang violence, and the need for more out-of-school-time opportunities, among other pressing topics.

The DC Out-of-School Time (OST) Coalition is making progress in its advocacy to achieve equitable insurance requirements for publicly funded afterschool and summer programs. In a meeting last week, DC officials agreed to reassess the current “one-size-fits-all” policy in favor of a model that requires insurance levels that fit each organization’s needs, effectively reversing a policy change made under prior leadership of the Office of Out of School Time Grants and Youth Outcomes (OST Office).

Families across the District are reeling and demanding answers after the murder of 13-year-old Karon Blake by a still unnamed resident on the morning of January 7. The police have been slow to release details, but we know that the man allegedly confronted Karon, accused him of breaking into cars, and shot him after an altercation. It should not have to be said, but a child's life is infinitely more valuable than any amount of property, and Karon, his family, and our communities deserve justice.

We are excited to announce that Nada Blassy joined the DC Action staff just after New Year's Day. As the digital storyteller, Nada will manage our digital presence and that of DC Action-led coalitions and campaigns.