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Issue Position: Children and Families

Issue Position

By:
Location: Unknown

Throughout her career, Senator Murray has been a leading advocate for the Commonwealth's children and families. From working to create the Catastrophic Illness in Children Relief Fund (CICRF), to pushing for early education, to being a force in efforts to provide services to families with developmental disabilities, Senator Murray continues to be a strong voice for children and families.

Highlights of Senator Murray's efforts include:

* Advancing measures to ban bullying in schools to provide a safe environment for all students. The anti-bullying legislation prohibits physical, verbal and written acts that threaten or cause harm to another student, including Internet "cyber-bullying,"
* Spearheading efforts to update nutritional standards in schools establishing new nutritional standards in schools to address the problem of childhood obesity in the Commonwealth. The school nutrition bill establishes new standards for fresh food options in school cafeterias and vending machines.

* Creating and funding a new Department of Early Education and Care, which now oversees the licensing of all early education and care programs, provides financial assistance for child care services to low-income families, and oversees many developmental and educational programs for children, including Head Start.
* Championing efforts to provide support services through the Commonwealth for autistic children and their families.
* Expanding MassHealth to include pre-natal care for expectant mothers.
* Working to guarantee every Massachusetts' child under the age of 18 has access to health care through the state's MassHealth program.
* Expanding the Newborn Home Visiting Program to all parents under the age of 21 with at-risk newborns.
* Sponsoring and securing the passage of legislation that created the Catastrophic Illness in Children Relief Fund (CICRF) to help families address medical costs associated with serious illness.
* Sponsoring mandatory hearing tests for newborns, which will save the state millions of dollars in health care and special education costs and immediately identify hearing problems.
* Sponsoring mental health parity legislation, which requires private insurers to cover health services for mental illnesses in the same manner as physical ailments. She persuaded the Department of Mental Health to provide services and beds to children with mental illness on Cape Cod, so families do not have to drive to Boston or the North Shore with an ill child.
* Authoring and securing passage of comprehensive welfare reform legislation. As Chairwoman of the Subcommittee on Welfare Reform, Murray's work on this legislation saved the Commonwealth millions of dollars and continues to help thousands of people gain self-sufficiency.


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