(Editor’s note: Following is the platform developed and approved by members of the Our Children, Our Future Campaign.)
1. Protect funding for family support programs
Goal: Preserve funding for Family Resource Networks and Starting Points Family Resource Centers across the state.
Lead organizations: West Virginia Alliance of Family Resource Networks, WV Family Resource Centers Association, Prevent Child Abuse WV/TEAM for WV Children. How does this affect child poverty: Families connected with the Starting Points Family Resource Centers rely on these organizations for basic resources and a hand-up out of poverty. Meanwhile, Family Resource Networks provide the glue that keeps community groups, families, congregations, businesses, and service agencies together — they maximize community investments, promote coordination of services, and promote opportunities for families to impact decisions that affect them. For more information: Robin Brown, nicholasfrn @frontier.com and Marla Short, startingpoints @hotmail.com
2. In-home family education programs/early childhood
Goal: Implementation of a multi-year plan for statewide expansion of in-home family education programs, as well as other efforts to expand access to early childhood programs and strengthen West Virginia’s early childhood system.
Lead organizations: Prevent Child Abuse WV/TEAM for WV Children; Partners in Community Outreach (Coalition of In-Home Family Education Programs in WV). How does this affect child poverty: The CDC, Pew Charitable Trusts, National Conference on State Legislatures, and National Governor’s Association, and many other groups have all endorsed early childhood home visitation programs for their effectiveness in promoting child well-being, improving school readiness, and preventing adverse childhood experiences such as child abuse and neglect. For more information: Jim McKay, email@example.com
3. Minimum wage/State EITC
Goal: Increasing the minimum wage and indexing to account for inflation through state legislation, and/or accomplishing a similar result by passing a State Earned Income Tax Credit.
Lead organizations: West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, West Virginia Alliance for Sustainable Families, West Virginia AFL-CIO. How does this affect child poverty: Raising the minimum wage will put money into the pockets of hard working West Virginians who will spend it in their communities on the things they need. This, in turn, will generate business for our economy and diminish the need for government benefits like food stamps. States that have passed minimum wage increases have seen overall job growth and economic expansion. For more information: Alyson Clements, firstname.lastname@example.org