First Lady Tracey Quillen Carney Attends Learning Lab on State Strategies to Reduce Childhood Hunger

Delaware one of ten states and territories selected to participate in learning lab

DOVER, Del. – First Lady Tracey Quillen Carney is leading a Delaware team studying how Virginia has leveraged public-private partnerships to ensure school-age children have regular access to healthy meals.

Delaware was one of 10 states and territories selected by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices to participate in a learning lab on state strategies to reduce childhood hunger. Gathered in Richmond Monday and Tuesday, the participating states are learning more about communicating and collaborating to reduce hunger, expanding access to school breakfast, supporting innovation in summer meal programs, and streamlining eligibility determination for free meals.

“[Virginia First Lady] Dorothy McAuliffe has provided inspirational leadership on the issue of childhood hunger, and Share Our Strength and the National Governors Association (NGA) have been tremendous partners in that effort,” said First Lady Tracey Quillen Carney. “I’m privileged to be part of the Delaware delegation to this week’s learning lab, along with Aimee Beam from the Department of Education; Ray Fitzgerald, Director of the Division of Social Services; Charlotte McGarry, Programs Director for the Food Bank of Delaware; and Jon Sheehan, Education Policy Advisor.

“We’ve been encouraged by the many ways that efforts already underway in our State align with national best practices, and I’m so proud to learn from those who have been leading such good work in Delaware. We’ve also picked up a few ideas from other states, especially our friends in Virginia, and it’s exciting to think about how we can, very realistically, build alliances and make progress toward meeting the most basic need of the next generation of Delaware’s workforce and leadership. The quality of our schools and the growth of our economy, as well as public health, depend on our success in that effort.”

“Neither teachers nor students can be successful when hunger permeates our classrooms and homes,” said Governor Carney. “Reducing childhood hunger is a moral, educational, and economic imperative.”

The Governor has tasked the Delaware team – which includes representatives from the Governor’s Office, Delaware Department of Education, Delaware Department of Health and Social Services and Food Bank of Delaware – to develop a comprehensive plan to establish partnerships between districts and charter schools and public-private organizations that will support existing and new initiatives for reducing childhood hunger.

In addition to providing more education and outreach to increase awareness, the team will identify new and innovative ways to increase access to child nutrition programs, specifically for families in rural areas when school is not in session.

Delaware has made progress in recent years. For example, the Community Eligibility Provision – which allows all children in a school to eat for free if at least 40 percent of its population qualifies – has helped more students across Delaware have the opportunity to eat breakfast and lunch at school at no cost. This school year, 115 schools participated in the program, an increase from 96 schools when launched in 2014-15. Delaware is ranked in the top five states for the largest increase in this area.

With the school year ending, the state now is trying to get out the word about the Summer Food Service Program, which aims to provide low-income children nutritious meals when school is not in session. Free meals, which meet federal nutrition guidelines, are provided to all children 18 years old and younger at approved SFSP sites in areas with significant concentrations of low-income children. Last summer, more than 720,000 meals (breakfast, lunch, snack, and supper) were served at more than 350 statewide locations.

“Children who depend on school meals for nutrition during the academic year still have needs when school is out,” said Secretary of Education Susan Bunting. “We must continue to provide nutritious food to children in their own communities so they don’t go hungry during the summer months.”

“Ensuring that Delaware children have access to nutritious food has always been a priority at the Food Bank of Delaware,” said Food Bank of Delaware President and CEO Patricia Beebe. “We have advocated for alternative models of school breakfast in all Delaware schools, improvements to the summer and after-school meal programs, and to ensure that both at-risk children and their families have access to healthy foods. We know that good nutrition is needed in order for kids to learn, play and grow. 17.3 percent of Delaware children are considered food insecure so there is still much we can do as a state. We are thrilled that Delaware has this opportunity to learn best practices from other states so that we can best serve our most vulnerable children.”


Delaware to Participate in NGA’s Bipartisan Health Reform Learning Network

Initiative will help states anticipate effects of federal health care changes, and discuss new ways to reduce costs

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney announced on Thursday that Delaware has been selected as one of 14 states to participate in the Governors’ Bipartisan Health Reform Learning Network – an initiative led by the National Governors Association. The network will help Delaware anticipate potential federal health care changes under consideration in Congress, and discuss new ways of using innovation to reduce the growth in health care spending.

Governor Carney has expressed concern over efforts in Washington to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, saying proposed changes could limit access to quality health care for Delawareans with the greatest needs, and shift health care costs onto the states.

“I believe that the technical assistance provided through this opportunity will make a significant difference in our efforts to curb the growth of health care spending in Delaware and to prepare for the statutory and regulatory parameters of any new Medicaid or private health insurance reforms that may be enacted in Washington,” said Governor Carney. “The work of our Delaware team will have a direct impact on the lives of all Delawareans, including state employees and retirees, those who are covered by Medicaid, and individuals and families who depend on the benefits of the Affordable Care Act for quality health care.”

Strategically realigning resources to drive statewide health care innovation, improve health outcomes, and lower costs was a recommendation of the Action Plan for Delaware.

The Governors’ Bipartisan Health Reform Learning Network – which is designed to assist states in navigating the changing health care landscape – will include Delaware, California, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, Montana, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wyoming.

Delaware and the other states will:

  • Receive clear, unbiased information on the potential impact of proposed changes to Medicaid and private health insurance;
  • Engage in a dialogue with other state leaders and national experts about reform proposals, including targets for health care spending, and their potential impact on states;
  • Receive data analyses regarding the state impact of health care reforms; and
  • Receive technical assistance to understand and prepare for the statutory and regulatory parameters of any new Medicaid and private health insurance reforms, if enacted.

Delaware also will join six other states – Minnesota, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont and Virginia – in a complementary Maternal and Child Health working group charged with evaluating proposed changes and informing the learning network about potential implications.

The members of Delaware’s Health Reform Learning Network team are:

  • Dr. Kara Odom Walker, Secretary of the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS);
  • Molly Magarik, Deputy Secretary for DHSS;
  • Chris Hudson, Director of Budget Development, Planning and Administration with the Office of Management and Budget;
  • Regina Mitchell, Fiscal and Policy Analyst with the Office of Management and Budget;
  • Dr. Karyl Rattay, Director of DHSS’ Division of Public Health;
  • Stephen Groff, Director of DHSS’ Division of Medicaid and Medical Assistance;
  • Laura Howard, Executive Director of the Health Care Commission; and
  • Sheila Grant, Deputy Chief of Staff for Governor Carney.

The members of Delaware’s Maternal and Child Health working group include:

  • Leah Jones Woodall, Section Chief for Family Health Systems, federally designated Maternal and Child Health Director in DHSS’ Division of Public Health;
  • Kate Tullis, PhD., Director of Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs in DHSS’ Division of Public Health;
  • Dr. Karyl Rattay, Director of DHSS’ Division of Public Health; and
  • Stephen Groff, Director of DHSS’ Division of Medicaid and Medical Assistance.

Secretary Walker, a board-certified family physician, said Delaware’s acceptance into the learning network will help to further the health care innovation under way at DHSS and through the Delaware Center for Health Innovation (DCHI).

“We are at a critical stage in our health care delivery transformation,” said Secretary Walker. “As participants in the Governors’ Bipartisan Health Reform Learning Network, we will be able to tap into some of the best ideas and innovations in the country, including global spending targets to curb the growth of health care spending, and bring them to our state. We believe that will lead us to additional ways to improve the health of Delawareans and their experience with the health care system, while reducing the overall costs.”

Delaware already is taking steps to drive health care innovation, improve health care outcomes, and lower costs.

In 2015, Delaware was selected to receive a four-year, $35 million grant from the federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation to implement initiatives that are focused on helping Delaware achieve the Triple Aim Plus One: better health, improved health care quality and patient experience, lower growth in per capita health care costs, and an enhanced provider experience that promotes patient-centered engagement.

The goal of the innovation work is to strengthen the primary care system so that patients experience well-coordinated, team-based care that delivers better health outcomes, to align incentives for providers and health insurers to focus on quality and affordability, to support patients to engage in their own health, and to support communities to work together to promote health and connect community resources to the health care system.

Delaware’s accomplishments to date from the grant include the statewide launch of a Common Provider Scorecard with health measures aligned with major payers, more than 350 primary care providers receiving grant-funded training and technical assistance in transforming their practices to better meet all of the needs of their patients, financial assistance to six behavioral health practices that include 68 providers to support adoption of electronic medical records, more than 30 percent adoption of value-based payment models by providers statewide, the launch of a community-based population health initiative in two areas of the state, and the passage of legislation enabling the Delaware Health Care Claims Database.


Governor Markell Named to National Governors Association Executive Committee

DELAWARE—Delaware Gov. Jack Markell was named to the National Governors Association (NGA) Executive Committee by NGA Chair Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin and NGA Vice Chair Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper.

The association is governed by the nine-member Executive Committee. Through the executive committee, governors set the association’s priorities and determine its activities.

“The executive committee leads the association and ensures the mission remains a bipartisan forum for governors to share best practices, identify priority issues and develop innovative solutions to state policy challenges,” said Gov. Markell. “I am honored to serve on the NGA Executive Committee.”

Gov. Fallin and Gov. Hickenlooper will lead NGA’s Executive Committee. Other members include:

  • Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe
  • Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad
  • Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton
  • Montana Gov. Steve Bullock
  • Utah Gov. Gary Herbert
  • Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker

Founded in 1908, NGA is the collective voice of the nation’s governors and one of Washington, D.C.’s most respected public policy organizations. Its members are the governors of the 55 states, territories and commonwealths. NGA provides governors and their senior staff members with services that range from representing states on Capitol Hill and before the Administration on key federal issues to developing and implementing innovative solutions to public policy challenges through the NGA Center for Best Practices. For more information, visit