Voice for Children, Youth and Families: Then, Now and Into the Future
As a lot of you know, Michigan’s Children has been around since 1993 – 20 years of work to move public policy in the best interest of children from cradle to career and their families. Lots of victories over that time, including pioneering youth voice and youth engagement in public policy and working tirelessly for two decades to help build the collaborative early childhood successes we see today. Unfortunately, we’ve seen a few setbacks as well including the organizational challenges over the past year that led us to assess our purpose, unique value and support from partners and funders.
Capacity for the assessment has been supported by funders, and the heavy lifting has been done through the expert guidance of some of the best thinkers around the state. During several months of research, analysis and discussion, we found that Michigan’s Children is unique and needed within Michigan’s policy advocacy landscape. So, instead of packing up, we are reorganizing and refocusing our work so that we are giving our supporters the best investment we can in policy advocacy activities.
Things are changing though. We are, in fact, packing up but only to move our offices to shared space with Michigan Association of United Ways, our long-term and valued state-level advocacy partner – continuing to strengthen all of our work. And, of course, we’ll continue to build and strengthen partnerships with other great advocacy work going on in our state.
So, what’s next? As you know, there is no shortage of urgent policy work in Michigan. Our staff is small but smart, and we have continued to advocate for better public policy for kids and families through this time of reflection and restructuring. Our mission to be a trusted, independent voice working to reduce equity gaps in child outcomes from cradle to career through policy change remains as consistent as our commitment to being an independent voice for children present in policy decision-making.
We know that this is no time for Michigan’s Children to slow down or to turn our backs on the issues facing our state’s children, youth and families – the challenges are still too great.
I have been honored to help shepherd the organization through the last year, and will be intimately involved as we move into our next 20 years. As we all know, the well-being of our children, youth and families is critical to the well-being of Michigan. I look forward to working with you!