A cavalcade of parents and children clad in yellow descended on the Minnesota State Capitol last Monday – otherwise known as a Way to Grow contingency!
Way to Grow joined elected officials, Think Small, the Children’s Defense Fund, the Voices and Choices Coalition, and advocates for Minnesota children at the 2nd Annual Voices and Choices for Children Day on the Hill.
The topic of conversation for the speakers and attendees was the Community Solutions Fund for Healthy Child Development that has been introduced to both the Minnesota Senate and House of Representatives. The fund aims to shape equitable practices and policies that will support better outcomes for American Indian children and children of color from the prenatal stage to eight years old.
The fund, in the form of grants, will be administered by the Minnesota Department of Health in consultation with members of the Community Solutions Advisory Council, which will consist of early childhood professionals, advocates, and parents of American Indian children and children of color from across the state.
Eligible grantees will be organizations that support healthy child development and organizations that work with communities of color and American Indian communities. Grants will be used to fund community-based solutions for issues that are identified by and for the affected communities they serve.
A resounding message from the elected officials that spoke was, “We work for you, the people. Contact us, let us know what you want and need us to do.”
“We need our parents to be part of the public policy process, especially when bills and laws are being passed that will impact them and their children,” said Megan McLaughlin, Way to Grow Program Director. “Getting parents involved through the “My Voice Matters” initiative increases their self-confidence at all levels of advocacy and motivates them to know how important their voices are in the public policy process.”
Both bills have been referred to each chamber’s respective human services committees. You can track each bill’s status by visiting the following links: