Advocate for children through political process

Cassandra Riche'  |  4/14/2009 8:01:36 PM

News You Can Use Distributed 04/14/09

It is important for all Louisianians to advocate for children by becoming involved in public policy decisions. Our future success as a nation depends on funding high-quality children’s programs, according to LSU AgCenter child care specialist Cassandra Riché.

The easiest way to become involved is through voting, but casting a vote is only one way for a person to become involved in local and state government.

“It is important that we advocate for children by contacting our legislators and representatives and telling them of the importance of supporting early childhood initiatives,” Riché said.

You can find out who your legislator is by visiting the Web site www.legis.state.la.us. If you already know your legislator’s name, you might be able to talk to that person directly by calling the House switchboard at (225) 342-6945 or the Senate switchboard at (225) 342-2040.

Why is advocating for early childhood projects so important? Child care, Head Start/Early Head Start and other early childhood education programs help America prosper and reach its potential, according to the National Association for the Education of Young Children. NAEYC is the world’s largest early childhood education association, with more than 100,000 members.

NAEYC position statements note that high-quality, comprehensive programs such as Early Head Start and Head Start help lift families from poverty by helping children learn and helping families tackle social and financial duress.

“Now is such an important time to advocate for children because our nation is seeing the results of not having long-term plans for economic growth,” Riché said.

The childhood development expert explains that one of the easiest and most important ways to ensure long-term economic growth is having a successful, productive workforce. Because our children are the future workforce, it is imperative that early childhood education be high-quality.

Riché recommends watching for bills that affect funding of early childhood programs such as Head Start/Early Head Start or Child Care and Development block grants. When you hear of such bills, contact your local legislator in support of them.

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Contact: Cassandra Riché, at (225) 578-2402 or CRiche@agcenter.lsu.edu
Editor: Mark Claesgens, at (225) 578-2939 or mclaesgens@agcenter.lsu.edu

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