Advocacy and Healthy Families America

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) speaks to a crowd of Healthy Families staff at our 2015 Hill Day advocacy event.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) speaks to a crowd of Healthy Families staff at our 2015 Hill Day advocacy event.

Advocacy means giving voice to an interest or need. Activities include educating community leaders on your issue, lobbying for specific legislative proposals, commenting on proposed regulations, and meeting with editorial boards, to name a few. The target of your advocacy campaign will depend on your goal. You can choose to focus on a local community, a county, a state, and/or the federal government. The most successful advocacy campaigns recognize the interconnected layers where influence can be made, and effectively use the voices of staff, families, child advocates, community leaders, and others who share a common vision.

Advocacy can influence not only funding for programs (appropriations), but also decisions impacting how services are structured and delivered. You will likely find that your immediate advocacy efforts will focus on sustaining HFA and home visitation in your state through increasing direct funding and authorizing home visitation as an allowable use of funding within federal and state programs. However, there are larger aims that you will address as well, such as: educating lawmakers about prevention and where it falls within the spectrum of service provision; helping build awareness of the varied resources needed to support young families; and giving voice to those parents who have been benefited along with their children from Healthy Families America in your state.

Examples of successful advocacy strategies employed by state systems include:

  • providing advocacy training to staff and program participants;
  • hosting a lobbying day, legislative forum or town hall meeting;
  • arranging site visits for state and federal lawmakers;
  • inviting policymakers on home visits;
  • using legislative alerts to raise awareness of important decisions;
  • preparing concise materials for effective meetings on Capitol Hill or with state legislators;
  • testifying on the importance of home visitation; and
  • utilizing media and communications expertise to effectively convey persuasive messaging.

Public policies are captured in laws, regulations, statements, rules, and many other formal and informal actions taken by government entities. These policies directly and indirectly address myriad interrelated public issues and create the framework that guides societal responses to contemporary needs and concerns. Public policy highlights what we learn from research and help determine how our social institutions should respond, be it through services, legislation and/or financial support.

Advocacy and Public Policy: Public policy work sets forth recommendations to address specific needs while advocacy serves as the vehicle through which public policy can be influenced. Neither can function successfully without the other. Ideally, a state system is involved in both arenas and can facilitate the exchange of information to create the best program outcomes.

What's Going On in Home Visiting Advocacy

Interested in staying up to date on the latest happening with public policy and advocacy efforts on behalf of home visiting, MIECHV and Healthy Families America? Visit the Home Visiting Coalition.

Do you want to make a difference? Contact your local legislators and let them know that you support programs and services like Healthy Families America!