Michigan’s Children Annual Report 2017: Connecting the Voices of Children and Families
As the political world continued to evolve, Michigan’s Children worked to raise a whole lot of voices in 2017. Our staff and board, working with our many partners around Michigan, fought for key state investments and led efforts on a number of policy fronts that impact children, youth, and families. Working together, we’ve accomplished much for children, youth, and families.
Read the full letter from Matt Gillard here
A Voice for Addressing Trauma
In 2017, we worked to ground our advocacy in the most current research on toxic stress and trauma’s impact on brain development. We hosted policymakers for a tour of the Judson Center and Children’s Center during our first CommunitySpeak event to make the case for prevention investment across systems. We also joined the Michigan Adverse Childhood Experiences Initiative to further build public support for policies that prevent and build resilience to trauma.
We made great strides in foster care reform, cultivating legislative champions for the Michigan Youth Opportunities Initiative a bi-partisan coalition of legislators to advance the Quality Assurance of Foster Care bill package through the State House. We also held a KidSpeak at Wayne State University where youth testified to policymakers on the barriers they faced when transitioning out of foster care.
- Read Kayla Roney-Smith’s takeaways from our tour of the Children’s Center and Judson Center
- Read Brandon’s story about the impact the Michigan Youth Opportunities Initiative had on his life
- We joined a business supporter of a local child abuse and neglect council to draw attention to adverse childhood experiences in an editorial for the Lansing State Journal
A Voice for Early Investment
In 2017, Michigan’s Children pushed the state to raise child care subsidy eligibility rates for families and reimbursement rates for providers to get a full match of federal funds. We also continued work with partners to secure state funding for Early On developmental screening and services in Flint, and now, to more advocates than ever recommending the expansion of Early On funding statewide in 2018.
- Read our case for child care investment in Michigan
- Watch our community conversation on the Cost of Child Care with Wayne County Community College
- Read our Detroit News op-ed on state funding for Early On
A Voice for Families
We connected parents and caregivers with policymakers for meaningful conversations about the barriers they face at FamilySpeak events with adult education students and young people and caregivers in the foster system. Those conversations led to increased state investments in adult education and early literacy in 2018.
- Read the FamilySpeak story of one caregiver’s quest for mental health care
- Read our “Issues” piece on kinship caregivers and their need for support services
- Learn how adult education programs benefited
two parents who starred in a FamilySpeak on adult education
A Voice for the Whole Child
Michigan’s Children continued to advocate for state aid for K-12 students most in need, helping yield $150 million in at-risk school funding. We pushed the conversation further, arguing that some at-risk funding be set aside for the provision of learning supports for students in need. We also continued to serve on various MDE and MDHHS task forces and advocated at every turn for integrated supports for students from cradle to career.
- We stood with children, families, and practitioners to advocate for afterschool and summer learning
- We testified to the State Senate on investing in early literacy
- We called for a trauma-informed Model Code of Student Conduct
A Voice for Michigan’s Children in Washington
In 2017, Michigan’s Children responded strategically to proposals that would have negatively impacted programs that have traditionally served and benefited children and families. For example, we worked with the office of Rep. Mike Bishop to build support for home visiting programs, and stood with Rep. Sandy Levin to highlight Michigan’s reliance on federal funds for many child and family-serving programs.
- Read our argument against Medicaid per capita caps
- Read Michele Corey’s Bridge Magazine piece calling on elected officials to get more involved with their constituents and on constituents themselves to demand more from their elected leaders
As an independent nonprofit, Michigan’s Children continued to attract support from a number of foundations, businesses, and individuals. Due to the generosity and commitment of our funders, Michigan’s Children remains in a sound financial position heading into 2018, but we need your help to keep up the great work.
More About Our Organization
Michigan’s Children has over two decades of experience leading policy advocacy for and with children, youth, and families. While our priorities are rooted in their voices, much of our work is done by our small but dedicated staff with the indispensable support of our board of directors. Learn more about our team and our past work here: