Adopted by LWVC Board of Directors 1993
Those of us in League who consider ourselves children's advocates are always searching for ways to expand our positions so that we may become more effective advocates. We feel strongly that in advocating for children we must recognize the critical needs of families and consider the long term negative impact of not addressing these needs.
The following is a compilation of state and national positions which can be used to address child and family issues. The state positions come from the LWVC Positions Folder. The national positions come from Impact on Issues. We hope that members of local Leagues will use these positions to advocate on behalf of the children and families in their communities.
LWVC Children and Family Policy:
LWVC is committed to the principles that all children are entitled to safe, nurturing care and that caring for children is a societal as well as a family responsibility. LWVC supports programs and policies that would effectively coordinate and integrate services that meet basic human needs, prevent or reduce poverty, and promote self-sufficiency for individuals and families.
STATE AND NATIONAL LEAGUE POSITIONS
State and Local Finances (LWVC)
This is the backdrop against which all budgetary decisions are made for children and families. The SLF position allows local Leagues to have an impact on budget decisions which impact children and families. The following statements are of particular relevance.
Position in brief:
Support measures to ensure revenues both sufficient and flexible enough to meet changing needs for state and local government services; that contribute to a system of public finance which emphasizes equity and fair sharing of the tax burden as well as adequacy; . . .Support a process which maintains statutory authority over tax sources, rates and tax expenditures; . . .
2. To ensure adequacy of revenue by:
b. a variety of revenue sources available to local governments including a wide range of local taxes . . .
c. local revenue sources including fees, with provision for persons unable to pay fees or charges levied on essential community wide services; and benefit assessments, when benefits accrue primarily to those paying . . .
d. use by local governments of tax base sharing; state and federal assistance; and cost saving management techniques.
4. To ensure flexibility of revenue by:
f. public program and funding priorities which give primary consideration to meeting the basic needs of the general population, attaining program objectives economically, and using procedures which promote flexibility and permit diversity of services;
g. selective reductions within and among programs rather than across-the-board cutbacks when funding is reduced.
Education (LWVC )
The Education position allows us to address the needs of children in general, grades K-12. To address the needs of preschoolers, see LWVUS Equality of Opportunity position.
Position in brief:
Support a comprehensive kindergarten through twelfth grade public education system which meets the needs of each individual student; challenges all students to reach their highest potential; develops patterns of lifelong learning and responsible citizenship.
Support a system of funding which is adequate, flexible, equitable, reliable; derived from a combination of revenue sources; distributed fairly to ensure equal access to public education for all students.
Support formulating broad general guidelines at the state level and developing and implementing program at the local level.
Equality of Opportunity (LWVUS)
Although the Education position basically speaks to children K-12, the Equality of Opportunity position allows us to address the needs of preschool disadvantaged youth. In particular, the position supports:
Greatly increased educational opportunity through compensatory programs for disadvantaged groups beginning at the preschool level and extending through secondary education. (LWVUS)
Child Care (LWVC, LWVUS)
LWVC Position in Brief:
Support state and local policies, legislation and programs which meet the need for accessible, affordable and quality child care.
Support programs, services and policies at all levels of government to expand the supply of affordable, quality child care for all who need it in order to increase access to employment and to prevent or reduce poverty.
Health Care (LWVUS)
LWVUS Meeting Basic Human Needs position:
The LWVUS believes that access to health care includes the following: preventive care, primary care, maternal and child health care, emergency care, catastrophic care, nursing home care and mental health care as well as access to substance abuse programs, health and sex education programs and nutrition programs.
LWVUS Health Care Position in brief:
Promote a health care system for the United States that provides access to a basic level of quality care for all U.S. residents and controls health care costs.
Basic Income Support/Meeting Basic Human Needs (LWVUS)
The Meeting Basic Human Needs position is an invaluable resource for advocating for children and families. Not only does it allow us to address basic needs such as housing, food, basic income support and health care, but it allows us to take positions on teen pregnancy and child support. It is important to be familiar with the entire position. The following excerpts are of particular importance:
The LWVUS believes that one of the goals of social policy in the United States should be to promote self-sufficiency for individuals and families and that the most effective social programs are those designed to prevent or reduce poverty.
In order to prevent or reduce poverty, the LWVUS supports policies and programs designed to:
- increase job opportunities
- increase access to health insurance
- provide support services such as child care and transportation
- provide opportunities and/or incentives for basic or remedial education and job training
- decrease teen pregnancy
- ensure that noncustodial parents contribute to the support of their children.
Intergovernmental Relationships (LWVC )
It is important to develop a comprehensive vision for delivery of children's services. Collaboration and coordination of services at all levels of government is imperative. In order to meet the changing needs of children and families and insure seamless delivery of services and melding of funding streams, we must speak to the planning and coordination process. The implementation of the federal Child Care and Development Block Grant is an example of how better communication between levels of government, inter- governmental agencies and the public could expedite the process.
Position in brief:
Support an efficient, effective and equitable balance of responsibility and authority among the levels of government with accountability to the public.
1. A rational organization of powers and functions of the several levels of government:
a. based on economic efficiency, administrative effectiveness, political accountability, and fiscal equity;
b. determined by a process of review and recommendation that provides for both local and statewide representation;
c. providing for consolidation of functions between and among levels of government to deal with area-wide problems, and to achieve cost savings that will not adversely affect, and wherever possible will improve, the quality of service.
2. Flexibility for local governments when administering state authorized and/or funded programs to determine needs, priorities, and the use of funds, consistent with state program objectives.
7. Active participation by the public in state and local government.
The existing state and national positions give advocates for children and families opportunities for advocacy and action at many levels. There are gaps which ideally will be filled some day. Current state and national League positions do not let us take a stand on legislation and issues regarding foster care and juvenile justice (unless local Leagues have positions in these areas). Let us work to maximize our advocacy efforts in areas which we can impact now, and look forward to broadening our efforts in the future.
Note: Citations referring to LWVC State and Local Finances positions have been updated to be consistent with the 1995 SLF consensus. The LWVC Juvenile Justice/Dependency position adopted in 1997 and 1999 has filled some of the gaps alluded to in the above Conclusion.