Stand Up for Children
As parents and child care professionals, you can have an impact not only through your daily care for children, but also through advocacy for children's issues on the local, state or national level:
- Advocacy can be as simple as writing a postcard to your legislator or as complex as running a campaign to pass a referendum
- Keep current on legislation and budget issues pending in your state
- Campaign for passage (or defeat) of any bill that affects children and child care
- Advocate for better funding for child care and children's services in your state
- Suggest new legislation for children and child care.
With all forms of advocacy, you should be well-informed, be able to state what you want and why it is important and provide facts to support your request. You can act alone or (usually with greater impact) with others. You may wish to join children's advocacy organizations or even start your own association of child care professionals in your area for effective advocacy outreach.
Suggestions for Legislative OutreachWhether you are writing a letter, talking on the telephone with a staff member, or sitting across the desk from your representative, follow these suggestions for effective advocacy outreach:
- State the Issue – Organize your points by priority and be clear and brief. If you are speaking about a particular piece of legislation, have the bill/budget number. (You can get this information online from Thomas: U.S. Congress or by calling the Senate or House clerks.)
- Cite Specific Information – facts or personal stories that support your issue. If at any time in the process you are asked a question that you cannot answer, offer to get back to them with the information and be sure to follow through.
- Request a Particular Action – whether it’s a vote to support a bill, a request to file an amendment, or a motion to move a bill out of a particular committee.
- Ask about Their Position on the Issue – You have the right to know where they stand and why on any given issue. Ask if you can provide the legislator with more information. Invite the legislator to visit your program to see the issues firsthand!
- Thank You Letter – Be sure to follow up with a thank-you letter to your legislator or the staff member with whom you spoke. Review key points that you discussed in this letter.