This Friday we’re starting our very first “State Focus”, a weekly blog post dedicated to the work of our twenty-five state partners. Certainly, this doesn’t mean we won’t be highlighting their great work on other days on this blog or even elsewhere on the First Focus website. But, on each Friday going forward, you’ll always find news and policy work from one our state groups.

This week Mary Dunne Stewart, executive director of our Virginia state partner Voices for Virginia’s Children, had a featured op-ed in the Virginia Pilot. Stewart quite eloquently reminded her fellow Virginians of the recently released federal poverty data, and what it currently means for the state’s children and families. Due to the devastating effects of the recession, eleven percent of families in Virginia slipped below the poverty line, adding an additional 25,000 children to create a disheartening total of 256,000 youth being raised in poverty. And, as you may already know, this particular outcome of the recession is not just commonplace in Virginia, but is completely widespread, affecting families and children across the nation.

While using this sobering new poverty data to illustrate the needs of all of Virginia’s children, Stewart also took the opportunity to remind Virginians: with midterm elections approaching, voters should keep the priorities of children in mind when making their choices at the polls. As our country continues to recover from the economic recession it is important now, more than ever, for our elected officials to invest in resources for children and families. We hope that in the next 18 days, Americans take the time to research each candidate closely, and demand what’s best for our children and our future.

For more information on children’s priorities in your local elections we recommend being in touch with our state advocacy partners or leave First Focus a question on Twitter or Facebook.