Community Education: Basic Advocacy
Identifying the community.
Develop a list of the “key” people that can work toward finding solutions to important issues in child care. These key people might include local, state and federal legislators, government workers in the area of policy and/or administration, working parents, members of the business community.
Use the media, word-of-mouth, handouts, and brochures to make everyone aware of the issues. Share success stories, real experiences of personal hardship, and statistics to make your case. Know your facts. Have ideas for possible solutions.
Know your representatives.
After each election, get an up-to-date list of your legislators, local, state, and national. Contact them on a regular basis, sharing your concerns for the community. Write, call, visit.
Finding “catchy” ways to draw people’s attention to the issue.
Find forums where you can get your message out such as Rotary or Kiwanis meetings meetings, professional conferences, or community meetings. Get children to assist in getting the word out through children’s artwork or statements. These can often move people into action.
Gaining strength in numbers.
Join organizations and associations that have similar goals and can work on these issues on a statewide or national basis. Become actively involved in meetings and agenda-setting. Speak out to the group about your concerns.
Know who the key advocacy groups are in your neighborhood.
Some of the state and national organizations that you should become familiar with before beginning your advocacy efforts include:
- Advocates for Children of New Jersey
- Children’s Defense Fund
- National Association for the Education of Young Children
- Child Care Aware of America
- Staff Qualifications
- Low Wages
- Cost of Care
- Special Needs
- Scarcity of Quality Centers
Child Care Issues That Affect Our Community
- Lack of qualified, early childhood-trained teachers.
- Low wages for all staff working in child care centers and for family child care homes.
- Need for child care subsidy to assist parents with the overwhelming cost of child care.
- Need to help centers and family child care providers access required services in order to include children with special needs in programs of the parent’s choice.
- Too few nationally accredited child care centers to provide parents with greater options in selecting quality child care.
- The need for public schools to offer pre-school education through contracting with existing community-based early care programs.