By Anthony Eleftherion

First Focus, in cooperation with the Foundation for Child Development, and with the sponsorship of Senator Elizabeth Warren (MA), Senator Sherrod Brown (OH), Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (NY), and Senator John D. Rockefeller (WV), was honored to host last week’s Congressional Briefing that focused on strengthening the safety net for children and families across the nation.

The briefing celebrated the release of a new paper, A Stronger Safety Net for America’s Children, and focused on the prospects of addressing certain gaps in safety net programs to better serve children in society.

The event was moderated by Deborah A. Phillips, Ph.D., President of the Foundation for Child Development, and welcomed various speakers including:

John Quinterno began the discussion by introducing his paper and highlighting the ways in which important developments in the field could be used at the state and federal level to address the eligibility, hardships, and coverage gaps facing children in their safety net programs. Closing these gaps is essential to reducing poverty for children and families and promoting the successful development of children over the long-term.

Subsequently, Yolanda McBride showed how her organization has structured their programs to provide comprehensive support to children and families and close some of these gaps in safety net programs. Similarly, Paul Hyry-Dermith addressed his school’s strategy of using community partnerships to build a successful educational system which has been instrumental in closing proficiency gaps in its students.

Meanwhile, Kate Garvey, using the Department of Health and Human Services in Montgomery County, Maryland, as an example, was able to show how the integration of program data and services could provide more effective and more efficient service delivery for children and families.

Lastly, Bruce Lesley called upon policymakers to improve the safety net programs in order to provide stronger support for children and families in society. A stronger safety net will have the combined effect of lifting many children and families out of poverty and reducing their need for safety net programs in the future.

For more information regarding the briefing, the resources used by the Foundation for Child Development, and the panelists and their presentations, please follow the link provided below:

Congressional Briefing: A Stronger Safety Net for America’s Children