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|Advocacy and Public Policy|
Children need caring adults in their life to help make decisions about their future. Those adults include parents, child care providers, teachers, education administrators, business owners and the community at large. Each group has a stake in our future generation and as such can become advocates for children. As an advocate you can influence public policies and encourage positive programming that support children in a variety of ways. This is done by contacting legislators, joining advocacy groups or educating yourself and your peers about relevant issues.
Programs for Parents Policy Agenda is based on our mission to ensure that children get the best possible start in life. This mission can be divided into 3 broad policy messages.
1) All children deserve high quality early education and child care because the first 5 years have the greatest impact on children’s lives and future. This means working to create high quality early child care programs, supporting providers, and proving parents with the technical and financial resources they need to obtain quality care.
2) Children deserve a healthy start in life and Programs for Parents supports child health services, preventive care programs, nutrition programs, health education and affordable insurance for children in low income families.
3) Child safety and Protection from abuse is paramount, so Programs for Parents advocates for programs and policies that protect children and ensure safe environments in both child care facilities and in the home.
Specific issues that are important in our community are:
-Improving the pay scale for all staff working in child care centers and for family child care homes.
Advocates: Contacting Your Elected OfficialsThe most effective thing you can do as a citizen is to “SPEAK UP”. It is the job of any elected individual to represent the interests of their constituency as they make governing decisions. However, to do that, they must hear from us. Establishing an effective relationship with your elected official helps educate them and ensures that votes aren’t cast without your input. Phone calls, letters, face-to-face meetings, the delivery of testimony and personal notes are all effective ways to reach out to elected officials and decision makers.
To find your district's NJ State legislators, click here.
To contact your U.S. State Senator, click here.
To contact your U.S. congressperson, click here.
Here are some hints to get you started:
Do your Homework
There are many helpful resources on the web make it easy to identify and communicate with your elected official. Check out these Web sites for more information:
www.njleg.state.nj.us - The official Web site of the NJ Legislature will allow you find your legislator, research his or her voting history, research bills and statues, view calendars of upcoming events in the legislature, get public hearing transcripts, identify committee groups, watch live proceedings through a webcast, and listen to archived proceedings on file.
www.votesmart.org - As a national library of factual information, Project Vote Smart covers your candidates and elected officials in five basic categories: biographical information, issue positions, voting records, campaign finances, and interest group ratings. A great resource to learn about those seeking office as well as those already serving.
www.congress.org – Visitors can use the site’s ZIP code search engine to sort through pages of biographical information on national and local elected officials or candidates for office. Similar functionality is available for locating local media, bills and legislation, rules and regulations open for public comment, and much more.
NJACCRRA partners with a variety of advocacy groups in New Jersey and nationwide. The following agencies offer valuable advocacy information regarding current public policy in the area of early care and education: