Many issues involving the well-being of children are related to operation of the federal, state and local governments. The needs of children, youth and families are often addressed in a context established by policies enacted through laws, government regulations and contracts, and budget decisions. Decisions made by governmental entities have a significant impact in promoting or undermining child well-being.
As an effective child advocate, you cannot ignore legislative advocacy. Information about Missouri legislators, legislation, committees and more can be found at the General Assembly’s web site. Illinois information can be found here.
Legislative advocacy can feel overwhelming. But you do not have to do it on your own! There are national and local groups that provide information and that will alert you when legislative action needed.
National groups such as the Children’s Defense Fund, the Georgetown University Center on Children and Families, and the national Children’s Leadership Council among others, carry out broad legislative advocacy for children on the national level. They also provide valuable support and technical assistance for state advocates. Their websites are important sources information on key federal issues and legislation related to child well-being.
In Illinois, Voices for Illinois Children advocates at the state level to promote the broad interests of children.
In Missouri, the Missouri Children’s Leadership Council (MOCLC) engages in multi-issue education and advocacy. Missouri children’s well-being was supported in several significant ways by the 2014 Missouri legislature. Opportunities for preschool education were expanded, child abuse/neglect laws were improved, and the waiting period for eligibility for the Children’s Health Insurance Program was eliminated. The lifetime ban from the SNAP program (food stamps) for individuals convicted of a drug-related felony was removed. These victories were the result of the work of the MOCLC and partners such as the Alliance for Childhood Education and Missouri KidsFirst, as well as others.
Contact Ruth Ehresman at firstname.lastname@example.org or 314.504.3616 to find out how you can get involved in the MOCLC.