The City of Austin is poised to begin their biannual Request For Proposal process for social service contracts – the grants given to nonprofit organization for community services – and we need your help to give a voice to the concerns of young children.
In our community, over 28,000 children under four are living in low-income households. Only 5,000 are receiving the early childhood services they need to start school ready to learn.
We are asking the City to increase funding for early childhood services in the upcoming social services funding competition. These services include Head Start, home visiting, quality child care and Play To Learn.
Since the array of services is fairly complex, we are opting not to ask for a specific amount, but rather to increase awareness about the importance of these services for parents to be successful in the short-term and for children, the future of our community, to thrive in the long-term.
Once the formal RFP process begins in late February, City Council Members will be restricted from hearing our message because of conflict of interest regulations – so it’s critical that we get the word our early so City Council Members have the right information as they make decisions.
You can help in a few ways:
1. Go on an advocacy visit
To make our case, our staff experts will meet with City Council members for about 30 mins each to give your voice to vulnerable young children. The process is easy and straight-forward (as WLC member Robyn Eckermann can attest to) and we sincerely hope you’ll join us to remind elected officials why our youngest children are a smart investment.
2. Make a call or send an email
You can also support young children from the comfort of your home by making a quick phone call or sending an email with this message:
Thank you for your support of early childhood services in the past. Please consider significantly increasing the funding for these critical services in the upcoming Social Services funding competition. Early childhood investments have a great ROI – and help families achieve financial stability. Currently, less than 25 percent of low-income families with children ages zero to four are receiving any early childhood supportive services because of funding shortages.
If you’d like to get more information, check out our 2013 fact sheet about the state of young children in Greater Austin. Find the appropriate contact information on the City’s website.
2. Spread the word online about the importance of early childhood
Suggested post: @CouncilManMike – please prioritize funding for early childhood in our community! #childrenmatter
By sharing this post, you can encourage your friends and family to get involved and make a difference for young children alongside us. Please consider posting this on your preferred social networks via the links below – or consider sharing our previous posts about the state of young children in our community.
In 2012, thanks to our supporters, the City of Austin restored half a million dollars to their early childhood budget. This time around, we will find out if we are successful when funding decisions are made by the City in early summer – and we hope to make a big impact for young children.