Governor Carney Signs Executive Order to Create Opportunity Funding Oversight Committee

Committee will evaluate progress of the initiative, report annually to the Governor and General Assembly

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney has signed Executive Order 33, which establishes the Oversight Committee on Opportunity Funding to ensure that the initiative is achieving its goals to support low-income students, and English learners, and close achievement gaps in Delaware schools.

Governor Carney and the General Assembly created the Opportunity Funding program in the Fiscal Year 2020 budget. The program will provide $75 million over the next three years in targeted resources to support low-income students and English learners. Opportunity Funding also will support additional mental health and reading supports in Delaware’s highest-needs schools.

Full text of Executive Order 33 is available here.

“Delaware’s new Opportunity Funding program will provide additional resources in the classroom for students who need our help the most – children living in poverty, and children from families where the primary language is not English,” said Governor Carney. “We are optimistic that we can close the achievement gaps that persist in our schools, and help more children read on grade level by third grade, do math proficiently by middle school, and ultimately graduate high school ready for college or a career. This oversight committee will help us make sure that this new funding is really working for Delaware students.”

The oversight committee will evaluate the effectiveness of the Opportunity Funding program, publish best practices, make recommendations on the future of the program, and ensure the public is aware of the steps that school districts and charter schools are taking to close achievement gaps. The committee will report annually to the Governor and members of the General Assembly on the progress made by districts and charter schools in serving low-income students and English learners. It also will work with the Department of Education on an annual summit to spotlight best practices.

“It’s my pleasure to work with the Governor’s Office, the Department of Education, and colleagues across the state of Delaware as we maximize Opportunity Funding,” said Dorrell Green, Superintendent of the Red Clay School District. “The committee’s focus on best practices will promote shared knowledge, collaboration, and help us evaluate the effectiveness of these important funds. We owe this to our students, families, and educators as we work on continuous improvement in Delaware schools.”

“English Learners are the fastest growing student population in Delaware,” said Javier Torrijos, Chair of the Delaware Hispanic Commission. “Opportunity Funding will provide many resources needed as school districts look to meet the demands of this specific student population. The Delaware Hispanic Commission has been advocating for funding and we are extremely grateful to Governor Carney, Secretary Bunting, and members of the General Assembly for identifying and prioritizing these much-needed resources. This is a step in the right direction to allow low-income students and English learners to get a quality education and close the achievement gap that currently exists. Investing in our children’s education will prepare them to be successful in college, career, and life.”


Governor Carney Signs Executive Order to Improve Reentry Procedures, Reduce Recidivism

Executive Order creates commission focused on reentry reform, and new office at DOC to oversee implementation

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Tuesday signed Executive Order #27, which focuses on improving reentry procedures for incarcerated individuals in Delaware. The Executive Order creates a commission focused on reentry reform, policies, and procedures, with a goal of helping former inmates more successfully reenter their communities. The Order will more effectively coordinate service delivery, strengthen data sharing among agencies, create a comprehensive reentry protocol, improve the availability of academic and vocational programming prior to an inmate’s release, and strive to reduce recidivism in Delaware.

“It’s our responsibility to look out for every Delawarean. We need to make sure offenders who serve out their sentences are able to reenter society ready to positively contribute to their communities, and have the support they need to succeed,” said Governor Carney. “This Executive Order will improve our existing reentry procedures, and in turn, reduce recidivism. That will help strengthen communities across our state.”

Executive Order #27 is the result of Delaware’s participation in the National Criminal Justice Reform Project, an initiative led by the National Governors Association and the National Criminal Justice Association Center for Justice Planning to assist states in implementing evidence-based criminal justice reforms.

“This Executive Order enhances the ability for the Department of Correction to meet its goals of ensuring public safety and providing opportunities for rehabilitation to justice-involved individuals preparing to return to the community,” said Perry Phelps, Commissioner of the Delaware Department of Correction. “I look forward to working with Governor Carney and our sister agencies to reduce barriers and collateral consequences for the men and women exiting the correctional system.”

Approximately 23,000 incarcerated adults are released from the State of Delaware Department of Correction (DOC) facilities annually. Seventy-six percent of those who are released from DOC facilities are rearrested within three years. Sixty-eight percent of those released had a reconviction and sixty-five percent had a recommitment. Delaware’s percentage of probationers is approximately forty-six percent higher than the national average, and its percentage of incarcerated adults is approximately twelve percent higher than the national average. Reentry reforms in Executive Order #27 are intended to directly confront Delaware’s high rate of recidivism.

“The Delaware Criminal Justice Council is excited to work with Governor Carney and the newly-established commission to build on the continuing work of improving reentry services to all justice involved individuals,” said Christian Kervick, Executive Director of the Delaware Criminal Justice Council. “This Executive Order includes best practices and reforms to improve our Criminal Justice System and increase public safety throughout the State.”

The Delaware Correctional Reentry Commission will consist of members of the Governor’s Cabinet, the Chief Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, the Attorney General and others who work closely on this issue, including the Executive Director of the Criminal Justice Council. This Commission will oversee implementation and further develop the State’s comprehensive strategic reentry initiatives, ensuring that federal, state, and local resources are used most efficiently to reduce duplicative reentry services and align with the application of evidence-based approaches.

“Ninety-eight percent of the people who enter Delaware prisons will return to the community. They are our neighbors. We live, shop, and work in the same community,” said Adam Balick, Chair of the newly-created Delaware Correctional Reentry Commission. “It is in all of our interests to give them the tools they need to succeed when they return to our community. We know the factors that lead to recidivism. Homelessness, unemployment, drug addiction, among other things. We can lower recidivism rates in Delaware by helping these men and women reintegrate successfully.”

This Executive Order also restructures the DOC Office of Research and Planning to the Office of Planning, Research and Reentry. This office will oversee the implementation and maintenance of the Commission’s initiatives from prison to community corrections centers to probation and parole to the community.

“The National Criminal Justice Association is extremely pleased to have worked with Governor Carney and his leadership team to advance prisoner reentry reform efforts in the State of Delaware,” said Chris Asplen, Executive Director of the National Criminal Justice Association. “This Executive Order represents over a year and a half of work by many committed, hard-working leaders from a myriad of disciplines and agencies who make up the steering committee and many working groups and community groups who are dedicated to increasing public safety by improving the state’s prisoner reentry process. This EO includes the many priorities identified in Delaware’s Prisoner Reentry Strategic Plan. We are grateful to our partners at the National Governor’s Association, our consultants and to the John and Laura Arnold Foundation for the support that made this work possible.”


Governor Carney Signs Executive Order Establishing Health Care Spending and Quality Benchmarks

Order will create subcommittee focused on bettering health care spending, quality across the state

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor Carney on Tuesday signed Executive Order #25 establishing health care spending and quality benchmarks. This Executive Order will form a subcommittee of the Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council to focus on reducing the cost of health care for Delaware families, taxpayers, and businesses. The subcommittee will advise DEFAC and other relevant state agencies on spending, and will work closely with the Delaware Health Care Commission (DHCC) on improving the quality of health care in Delaware.

“Delaware has consistently ranked among the highest-spending states for health care, but we have not traditionally been a leader in health care outcomes. That needs to change,” said Governor John Carney. “This Executive Order reaffirms our commitment to lowering costs for Delaware families and improving the quality of care that Delawareans receive. We’ll do that, first and foremost, by improving transparency around the cost of health care services.”

In addition to setting the State’s health care spending benchmark for 2019 and beyond, the new subcommittee will consistently review its methodology and provide the public and interested stakeholders an opportunity to provide input and consider their recommendations.

This Executive Order also lays out quality benchmarks for the State for calendar years 2019 through 2021 for the Delaware Health Care Commission to follow in the categories of:

  • Emergency Department Utilization Rate,
  • Opioid-Related Overdose Deaths,
  • Overlapping Opioid and Benzodiazepine Prescriptions,
  • Adult Obesity,
  • Adult Tobacco Use,
  • High School Students Who Were Physically Active,
  • Statin Therapy for Patients with Cardiovascular Disease, and
  • Persistence of Beta-Blocker Treatment After a Heart Attack.

These quality benchmarks will be reviewed every three years, starting after 2022, to reflect improved health care performance in the state.

“I am grateful to all of the health care stakeholders for the work they have done to change how care is delivered and paid for in our state,” said Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) Secretary Dr. Kara Odom Walker, a board-certified family physician. “As a state, we must address the cost of health care and the outcomes we are getting for that spending. The Executive Order that Governor Carney signed adds transparency and attention to our health care system, both from a spending and a quality standpoint. Today is an important milestone in moving toward a health care system that is financial sustainable for families, employers, providers and insurers, and one that rewards providers for keeping Delawareans healthy.”

This Executive Order was based on recommendations from Secretary Walker in August of this year, after a year of outreach and feedback from health stakeholders. Secretary Walker will publish a manual that contains the methodology for the health care spending and quality benchmarks no later than January 31, 2019.

“For more than four decades, the Delaware Economic and Financial Advisory Council has played a vital, non-partisan role in tracking national and state economic trends and preparing credible and trusted state revenue and expenditure estimates,” said Rick Geisenberger, Secretary of Finance. “This Executive Order creates a DEFAC Health Care Spending Benchmark Subcommittee that will solicit public and stakeholder input toward recommending a credible and trusted annual target for per capita growth of total health care costs in Delaware.”


Governor Carney Signs Executive Order Making Delaware a Trauma-Informed State

Order will mitigate the impact of adverse childhood experiences, build resilience

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor Carney on Wednesday signed Executive Order #24 making Delaware a trauma-informed state. This Order provides direction for the Family Services Cabinet Council to help mitigate the impact of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and build resilience in children, adults and communities.

ACEs can include physical, emotional, or sexual abuse; physical or emotional neglect; household dysfunction, including substance abuse, untreated mental illness, or incarceration of a household member; domestic violence; and separation/divorce involving household members.

“We have children and families in Delaware who are affected by trauma in their lives, and we need to do everything we can to support them,” said Governor John Carney. “Addressing these issues as a community will help Delaware become a stronger and healthier state. The Family Services Cabinet Council will remain vigilant about this issue and work with many partners across the state to create trauma-responsive communities.”

The Executive Order was motivated by the work of the Family Services Cabinet Council – a cabinet-level group reestablished by Governor Carney in February 2017 that coordinates public and private services for Delaware families. This Executive Order will direct the Family Services Cabinet Council to develop tools for training state employees and community partners on the impact of exposure to ACEs, to promote ACE awareness, and to improve services and interventions for children and families exposed to trauma.

The Family Services Cabinet Council will work to identify gaps in available services, or service capacity, along the prevention and early intervention-treatment continuum for children and their caregivers statewide. The members also are charged with developing a comprehensive plan focused on early intervention for children and their caregivers exposed to adverse childhood experiences in order to help prevent abuse and neglect, and remedy the impact of it.

First Lady Tracey Quillen Carney is also committed to creating an environment that gives Delaware children a chance to succeed, and was present for the signing.

“You know, the word ‘trauma’ sounds like bad news, but what we’ve learned about brain science, about the impacts of childhood experiences, is actually very good news – because now, we can do something about it,” said First Lady Tracey Quillen Carney. “We can act on what we know – to prevent and mitigate the effects of trauma, and to build on the strengths of every child, every family, and every community. Trauma-informed care is a pre-requisite, to any effective strength-based strategy.”

The Executive Order also will direct state agencies that provide services for children and adults to integrate trauma-informed best practices, including trauma-specific language in requests for proposals and in service contracts with the state, when appropriate.

“The executive order signed today by Governor Carney demonstrates his commitment to making Delaware a trauma informed state,” said Josette Manning, Secretary of the Delaware Department of Services for Children, Youth and their Families. “I, along with my fellow agency heads who serve on the Family Services Cabinet Council, welcome this opportunity to improve the quality of services we provide to all Delawareans. We know that many of the children and families in Delaware have experienced trauma and toxic stress in their lives. We also know, based on years of research, that exposure to toxic stress can actually impact a child’s brain development and has been linked to higher rates of physical, social and emotional issues in adulthood. By focusing, as a state, on minimizing trauma and by helping people who have experienced trauma build resilience, we will improve the physical, social and emotional health of our children and families.”


Governor Carney Signs Order Creating the Governor’s State Complete Count Commission

Commission will help ensure a fair and accurate 2020 Census count in Delaware

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney on Wednesday signed Executive Order #23 creating the Governor’s Complete Count Commission (SCCC) to assist with the 2020 Census. A recommendation of the U.S. Census Bureau, State Complete Count Commissions will help raise awareness and encourage full participation from Delawareans and make sure everyone is counted.

Lieutenant Governor Bethany Hall-Long will chair the commission. Its membership will be compromised of individuals representing various sectors including state and local government, faith-based organizations, nonprofits, underrepresented populations, and business. The commission will provide a report to the Governor by January 1, 2020 outlining recommendations and strategies for maximizing participation in the 24th decennial census in 2020.

“It’s important that all Delawareans are counted in the next Census, to ensure that all available resources are reaching residents in our state who need them most,” said Governor Carney. “This commission will specifically help identify and reach populations that have historically been difficult to count, including young children, non-English speakers, renters, and homeless Delawareans. Thank you to Lt. Governor Hall-Long for taking the lead on this important effort.”

“I am honored to Chair Delaware’s State Complete Count Commission,” said Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long. “Reaching those ‘hard to count’ populations is especially important. Census data is used for so many things from determining the number of congressional seats a state has to the amount of federal dollars a state receives for highways, schools and healthcare just to name a few. That’s why it’s crucial we count everyone in Delaware.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, over $600 billion are dispersed from over 300 federal programs based upon census-generated figures.

“As a federally qualified health center, Westside Family Healthcare depends, in part, on Census data to help identify community needs and inform how to best allocate our limited resources to help fill the gap in services,” said Lolita A. Lopez, President & CEO of Westside Family Healthcare, who was appointed by the Governor to serve on the commission. “As an appointed member of the Complete Count Commission, Westside is committed to partnering with Governor Carney, Lt. Governor Hall-Long, and others to encourage the communities we serve to actively participate in the Census process. The 2020 Census is vitally important to Delaware’s future.”

The Reverend Rita Paige, another member of the commission appointed by Governor Carney, added, “Make sure you’re counted. We don’t want anyone left out!”

“We thank Governor Carney for his leadership in establishing the Delaware State Complete Count Commission,” said Fernando Armstrong, Philadelphia Regional Director of the US Census Bureau. “We look forward to working in partnership with Lt Governor Hall-Long and the entire Commission in counting all Delawareans in the 2020 Census.”