Drunk driving reform protects kids, more work to be done

Today, Governor Doyle signed into law historic drunk-driving legislation, Senate Bill 66. Before passing the bill, co-sponsored by Rep. Tony Staskunas (D-West Allis) and Sen. Jim Sullivan (D-Wauwatosa), Wisconsin was one of only two states that did not issue felony charges until the fifth Operating While Intoxicated arrest or stop. This bill will make an OWI a felony after the fourth offense within five years.

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Family advocates for children in Washington, D.C.

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Angela, Paul, Anna, Hope and Abigail Petr

With summer approaching, it is easy to be cheerful, but my family is feeling especially blessed and content. We are traveling to Washington, D.C., as family representatives of Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, and in doing so, have been reminded of our many reasons to be grateful.

It was a little more than four years ago that we delivered our beautiful twin girls, knowing the chain of events to follow would be trying. One of our twins was diagnosed with a complex heart defect in utero and all research led us to seek help from Children’s Hospital. Wonderful professionals held our hands and prepared us for the road to follow. The diagnosis was crushing, but it would have been unimaginable without the support and reassurance we received from the talented and compassionate team at Children’s Hospital. We felt it a near miracle to discover that of all the heart centers in the world, Children’s Hospital in Milwaukee presented the best outcomes for children with our daughter’s condition. We named our daughter “Hope” because we were given so much of that.

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Your voices were heard

This is an update to a blog post dated May 8. Read about the statewide smoking ban.

Last night just after 10 p.m., the State Assembly voted 61-38 to concur with the 25-8 vote earlier in the day by the State Senate to pass a statewide smoking ban to go into effect July 5, 2010. More than 40 amendments were offered to attempt to water down the reach of the statewide ban.  All of the amendments failed. It now goes to the Governor for his signature.

Congratulations and thank you to the many people at Children’s Hospital and Health System who worked in support of this legislation year after year, and so many of you who took the time this week to call your legislators.  Your voices were heard!

–Michelle Mettner, vice president of Government Relations, Children’s Hospital and Health System

Statewide Smoking Ban Legislation

This week at the State Capitol, Legislators, the American Cancer Society, Smoke-Free Wisconsin and the Tavern League announced a compromise on the statewide smoking ban legislation. The deal would include a ban in all public workplaces, including bars and taverns to go into effect July 5, 2010.  Exceptions to the ban would be granted to existing cigar bars that receive a majority of their income from tobacco sales and tobacco retailers who derive 75 percent of their income from tobacco sales.  The compromise deal does not allow for smoking rooms in hotels or motels.  It does provide language to ensure taverns could have outdoor smoking areas.

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Speak Now for Kids

The National Association of Children’s Hospitals yesterday launched a grassroots mobilization campaign asking Congress and the Obama Administration to make health care reform work for children. The campaign is in partnership with many organizations including the American Academy of Pediatrics, Children’s Defense Fund and Children’s Hospitals around the country, including ours.

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Spread the word about Safe Haven

A press conference – Protecting Our Children, Strengthening Our Community  – was held this afternoon at Children’s Health Education Center in Milwaukee, in reaction to the many tragic cases of infant death and child abuse we have been seeing in Southeastern Wisconsin. Representatives from Children’s Hospital and Health System, the City of Milwaukee Health Department, Department of Children and Families, Parenting Network and Children’s Trust Fund came together to bring to light the many resources our community has to offer to keep children and families safe. One of the resources I personally have been part of working on is the Safe Haven Law in Wisconsin.

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Improving the health status of children

Children’s hospitals serve a very important role in our community and throughout the world. In my experience working with children’s hospitals for nearly three decades, their focus on infants, children and adolescents provides specialized care that adult providers simply cannot provide – physicians, nurses and other caregivers with special training, the right equipment and an understanding of the medications that are unique to children.

While our organization is most well known for our amazing hospital in Milwaukee, our dedication to the health and well-being of children has grown far beyond the walls of that facility.

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Working together to help families

Did you know that every month 100 Milwaukee County children enter foster care? Right now, there are approximately 2,600 children in foster care. These children come from diverse backgrounds and have a wide range of needs. What they have in common is a need for a nurturing, temporary place to call home. In our work as adoption and foster care advocates, we see how the lives of children and families have been affected when a family is in distress. But we also see what good can happen when a community pulls together and helps a family through difficult times.

That is one of the reasons the recruitment team at Children’s Service Society of Wisconsin and some of the foster/adoption staff has teamed up to work together to make connections in the community. We are stepping out of our normal job duties to develop a comprehensive grassroots initiative to move towards solving some of the major issues in our community revolving around child welfare. …Continue reading →