Governor McAuliffe has signed two executive orders to create a new framework within his administration to potentially help more children succeed.
The goal is to develop, implement, and prioritize a policy agenda related to health, poverty, safety, education, nutrition, and housing.
The plan is to coordinate and strengthen public services on all levels —with a special focus on at-risk children in high-poverty communities.
The first order established a Children’s Cabinet dedicated solely to children and youth up to age 21. Education Secretary Anne Holton, who will co-chair the cabinet, said to close the student achievement gap, all agencies must collaborate.
“One of the crucial elements in those schools that are succeeding in these difficult environments is effective support services. We’ve got to figure out how to bring things together across all of our agencies.”
Her co-chair, Health Secretary Bill Hazel, agreed that agencies have functioned like independent silos.
“No child who fails in school, fails in school because of one aspect. It may be because they’re hungry. It may be because their early learning wasn’t there. It may be, unfortunately, because their mom used crack. It may be any number of things. And so we have to align our goals and our programs across multiple agencies.”
To stress the importance of early brain development for education readiness, McAuliffe also created a Commonwealth Council on Childhood Success to focus on children from infancy through third grade.