It’s fall! The seasons are changing, kids are back to school, and pre-election politics are everywhere. No matter our political leanings, children’s health and well-being are issues that we can all get behind. As we talk to decision makers and elected officials before mid-term elections, we can do our part to put our children’s health on the table as part of the menu of important policy options.
This means making sure that our youngest children have good food to eat, safe places to play, and access to high quality early care and education (ECE) opportunities. Voices for Healthy Kids supports state and local advocates as they try to make healthy child care a reality for all children.
Those of us who interested in improving early childhood health can’t succeed without support and guidance of the two groups whose lives are most affected by ECE—child care providers and the children and families they care for. They must be a part of the coalition from the beginning--theirs are key voices that should set the priorities, explore feasible options, and envision what policy change would mean for their day-to-day lives.
Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (CCR&Rs) play a central role in the ECE landscape of every state and are a key partner in engaging families and child care providers. As their name suggests, CCR&Rs serve working families by providing child care referrals, and other important information to families about how to identify, access, and afford child care. They also train and support child care providers to help them provide high-quality care. Because they work so closely with parents and providers, CCR&Rs have a great sense of what the ECE field needs to succeed and are critical stakeholders in any campaign targeting policy change in ECE.
Some CCR&Rs have a strong history in advocacy, and others do not—or might be doing advocacy work without recognizing it! Child Care Aware of America works with its members and the ECE field to make sure it has the knowledge and skills to be effective advocates for their community and their needs. That’s important, because if we want politicians and policymakers to pay attention to children’s health and wellbeing, we need to elevate the voices that matter most.
Child Care Aware® of America is launching a series of webinars to help CCR&Rs, child care providers, and family advocates do just that. If you’re just getting started in ECE advocacy, join in to learn more about the needs of the field and successful strategies for engaging the ECE community.
Advocacy 101 (recording and resources available) covers the difference between advocacy and lobbying, how to engage in electoral work in your state, and resources to build and support ECE advocacy.
Social Media 101 (recording and resources available) includes an introduction to social media platforms, how to craft a post, and building your social media audience.
Social Media 201 (September 13th) helps advocates expand their social media reach, engage in deeper discussions, and boost messages, especially to key decision makers.
Effective Storytelling in Advocacy (September 26th) covers how to craft an engaging personal story and use that stork to make an ask of elected officials.
Planning Constituent Visits (October 10th) prepares advocates to request, plan for, and effectively leverage face-to-face meetings with candidates and elected officials.
Lifting Up Advocate Voices (October 24th) discusses strategies for organizing and supporting family advocate networks.
What’s Next (November 14th) gives a snapshot of what to expect in federal policy following the election, along with ways to connect with newly-elected elected officials and make sure child care is a priority as they take office.
As election season heats up, let’s make sure that every candidate understands just how important healthy child care is to the communities they represent and the future of this county. Explore the Voices for Healthy Kids ECE Toolkit to learn more about who can make a difference and how to build a movement.