Since 1993, Michigan’s Children has served as the only statewide, multi-issue advocacy organization in Michigan focused solely on public policies made in the best interest of children from cradle to career. Over the last 20 years, Michigan’s Children has been instrumental in winning many policy and budget victories for children, and I am excited to join the team to lead our efforts into the next 20 years.
There has never been a better or more urgent time to ensure that policymakers are prioritizing the needs of Michigan’s most vulnerable children. While recent policy and budget victories have increased awareness and understanding of the challenges that children in Michigan face, our state continues to struggle.
- Family poverty is increasing – 1 of every 4 Michigan children under age 6 lives in poverty.
- Child abuse and neglect is increasing – Michigan saw a 28% increase in confirmed victims between 2005 and 2011.
- Only a third of Michigan 3rd graders are proficient readers.
- Too many young people fail to graduate from high school – one quarter of all high school freshmen don’t graduate four years later.
- Children of color and children from low-income communities continue to be more challenged in all of these areas.
These maddening statistics tell us that strong policy advocacy efforts continue to be essential, now more than ever before. We cannot forget that our children are our future teachers, business owners, scientists, artists, and elected officials. If we want Michigan children to succeed in school and in life, we must ensure that our public policies and programs can help them access the opportunities they need to succeed.
I stand ready to fight the good fight to ensure that the children who often lack a voice in policy and budget debates are represented in Lansing and Washington, D.C. And I look to partner with you, your organization, and your family fighting for the well-being of children in our state. I urge you to join Michigan’s Children in this work.
-Matt Gillard, President & CEO