Last year, the Advocacy and Policy committee went through a process of defining our mission and selecting those issues on which to concentrate our efforts. We met with experts, made a site visit and learned the “ins and outs” of advocacy from Ron Soloway. In the end, the Committee decided to focus our efforts on children’s welfare – but remaining aware of other issues of interest to our Foundation.
Currently, the most pressing issue in children’s welfare is the re-funding of the federal Childhood Nutrition Act. You’ve probably see First Lady Michelle Obama on TV talking about the need for funding and getting nutritious food to children. This act, first passed under President Johnson, has not been renewed until now. Monies go for school food programs, infant care programs and nutrition education programs. And, monies are passed down to city and state child nutrition programs. It is critical that this act is passed before the next Congress is sworn in. To this end, we are asking our membership to send letters to their legislators asking them to support the bill. Our advocacy does not end here. Many other bills on all governmental levels are in our sight: Medicaid eligibility to foster care adolescents, youth mentorship programs, health care services, rent subsidies and adoption issues.
We are planning a full agenda. We are considering a roundtable focus group of child care providers, metting with like minded organizations, forming coalitions, meeting with legislators and doing a “hands-on” child nutrition event, and hoping to complete a “silver bullet” list of people to go to help with our advocacy.
A full and exciting year ahead…!
Submitted by Naomi Lazarus, JWFNY Advocacy and Policy Chair