Note from Rep. Gara: Foster Youth Mentors Needed At Big Brothers/Sisters; Adoptive & Foster Parents Needed Too

I consider it good news when there are ways to help people. Many years ago, when I started working to improve our foster care system, I listened to youth, and learned I had it all wrong. Or partially wrong. One thing they made clear was that foster care isn’t all about, well, just improving the foster care system. It’s about what happens when a youth leaves the system, has no reliable parent, and has no reliable adult to turn to for advice. In prior years statistics have shown high post-foster care homelessness (approx. 35%) and incarceration rates (approx. 20%) and we all want to do better.

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NEWS: Democrats Introduce Denali KidCare Expansion

JUNEAU – Today, Representative Harriet Drummond (D-Anchorage), Representative Beth Kerttula (D-Juneau) and Representative Geran Tarr (D-Anchorage) pre-filed legislation to expand Denali KidCare, the state’s popular health care program for low-income children and pregnant women, to roughly 1500 more Alaskan women and children.

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NEWS: Alaska Foster Parent Ad Wins National Honors

Rep. Gara congratulates Alaska DHSS for its work on the winning video

Today, Representative Les Gara congratulated the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) for earning five awards in the National Public Health Information Coalition’s 2013 Awards for Excellence in Public Health Communications, including the gold medal for its foster parent recruitment video, “One Child.”

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Rep. Kawasaki’s Juneau Note: October News!

Friday October the 18th is Alaska Day! It commemorates the day Alaska was transferred from Russia to the United States. On October 18th, 1867, the Russian flag was lowered for the last time and an American flag was raised for the first of many times. We are blessed to live in this great state (and pick up such a bargain!) Celebrate by doing something Alaskan with friends and family. Go for a hike at Creamer’s Field and notice the leaves changing color, take the kids to Pioneer Park, or learn more about Alaskan history at the UAF Museum!

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Berta’s Briefings from Rep. Gardner: The Aftermath of the End of Regular Session

When 27th Alaska Legislature concluded shortly after midnight on Sunday, April 15, the Governor called us to Special Session to address three issues:

• He introduced a new oil tax bill, combining elements of several other proposals, but the bottom line remains a dramatic reduction in state tax take with the hope of, but no firm commitment to, new oil production. House Resource committee hearings do not start until this afternoon because of the absence of Chair Feige so, I’m attending Senate Resources committee meetings.

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Rep. Miller Introduces Bill to Help Parents Attend Parent-Teacher Conferences

No one should have to choose between their job and their kid’s education

JUNEAU – Today, Representative Bob Miller (D-Fairbanks) introduced legislation to make it easier for parents to attend parent-teacher conferences so they can stay involved in their children’s education. The bill (HB 315) would allow parents to take up to four hours a year of unpaid leave to attend parent-teacher conferences without having to worry about losing their job.

“No one should have to choose between keeping their job and getting involved in their children’s education,” said Rep. Miller. “The more we can help parents get involved and stay involved, the more likely their children are to succeed in school and in life.”

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House Bill 315 “Parent Teacher Conferences”

As the legislature continues to focus on better educating our children, one constant remains: no one is more important to a child’s education than his or her parents. It is vital that parents play an active role in educating their kids. HB 315 will allow parents to take two hours of unpaid leave twice a year to attend parent-teacher conferences so they can get involved and stay involved in their children’s education without fear of losing their jobs.

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