Listening to Parents
This month The Children’s Agenda released findings from our first-of-its kind poll of Monroe County parents. The poll is a game changer when it comes to advocating for legislative change in the county and in Albany.
Too often when our local and state government want to hear from parents, parents are asked to come to them at the appointed place, at the appointed time, and on the appointed topic. Many times the parents who are heard from are a small group who has the time, information and resources to make it to a meeting or public forum on an evening or weekend. We took a different approach – we went to parents, asking them what they are most concerned about.
Input from 15 community members, including 7 parent leaders, in crafting the poll, plus the use of a scientific, representative methodology, ensure it is an authentic and accurate snapshot of what Monroe County families are experiencing.
As Rochester parent leader and TCA Board member Toyin Anderson said at the release, “Families’ voices and experiences must be heard. What parents said loud and clear in this poll is that we need to take care of the whole child. We don’t need a patchwork. We need an integrated system that helps our children thrive. Our whole community needs to wrap its arms around our kids.”
At The Children’s Agenda, our reports don’t sit on shelves. We are actively using what parents said in the poll to advocate with elected officials and policymakers from the RCSD Board of Education on up to Congress. We are also engaging with community groups, service organizations, and anyone who wants to talk about the implications of parents’ voices to their work.
You can read the report here. If you want to schedule a conversation about the poll with a group you are a part of, reach out to Stephanie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This was the first of six polls The Children’s Agenda will do over the next three years. Thank you to ESL Charitable Foundation for their support of this project and to Global Strategy Group for their assistance.
Investing in Children
Your voice is vital to securing funding for programs and initiatives that matter in our community. We need to take what we learned from the parent poll and turn it into action. This week is the final push on the New York state budget for the next state fiscal year. The budget should be passed by Friday.
Please take 3 minutes to send 3 messages to Governor Hochul, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie:
Next Up: RCSD Budget
While we are in the final push on the New York state budget, The Children’s Agenda is ramping up our work on the budget for the Rochester City School District. RCSD’s budget process is a bit different than other school districts in New York state and involves three levels of approval. The RCSD budget is first approved by the RCSD Board of Education. It must also be approved by the New York State Education Department Chancellor, Betty Rosa. Finally, it is approved by the Rochester City Council.
The VIPs (Very Invested Parents) group, organized by TCA’s Parent Advocacy Coordinator Carmen Torres, has been advocating since last fall for the school district to strengthen systemic mental health supports, using federal pandemic relief funds. The demands are growing to a thunderous chorus, from a recent op-ed from TCA’s partner BIPOC/PEEEEEK calling for investments in the state mental health system to a recent survey conducted by the Rochester Education Fellow Shanai Lee that identified social-emotional supports as a top priority of Rochester parents. In December the VIPs presented 538 petitions to the RCSD Finance Committee asking them to invest $40 million into supports including:
Over the past two months, VIPs have met with each RCSD Board Commissioner to advocate for their support of these investments. Four of the seven Commissioners have signed pledges of support.
Our analysis of the proposed RCSD budget and call to action will be released in a few weeks. Until then, learn more by watching parents in action at this recording of their public comments to the Finance Committee.
If you want to get involved in advocating for children in RCSD or for young children with developmental delays and disabilities, The Children’s Agenda organizes two groups for Rochester families – Very Invested Parents and the Children’s Voice Alliance.
Learn more by joining in two upcoming workshops to develop skills for advocacy and meet other community members who are working together to bring change for our children. Click here to sign up.
Click here to learn more.
Please share this opportunity with people you know.
Celebrating Wins for Children
Some changes that support children are measured in dollars. Others are measured by access. In response to The Children’s Agenda report on Barriers to Care, both Monroe County and the Office of Children and Family Services are making changes to websites so families can more easily learn about the assistance that is available to them to pay for child care.
TCA In The News
Monroe County Parent Poll: Child Care Affordability, Pandemic-Related School Disruptions, and Mental Health Concerns
Monroe County Families Continue to struggle from Effects of COVID
Poll Outlines Concerns for Monroe County Parents
New Poll Shows Monroe County Families Are in Crisis
Children’s Agenda Survey Highlights Struggles Parents Face in Monroe County
Children’s Agenda Countywide Poll Reveals Parents and Families in Crisis
Discussing Results from The Children’s Agenda’s New Parent Poll on WXXI Connections
Crisis in the Classroom: Potential Impact of Regents Exams on Grad Rates
Crisis in the Classroom: The Impacts of Poverty
Thank You To Our March Donors
Canandaigua National Bank - Ms. Sarah Mittiga.- Mr. Joe Simson - Ms. Janet B. Smith - Ms. Carole Teegarden - Mr. Paul Tremblay and Dr. Jennifer West
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The Children’s Agenda advocates for effective policies and drives evidenced-based solutions for the health, education and success of children. We are especially committed to children who are vulnerable because of poverty, racism, health inequities and trauma.