By Courtney Reece
Amidst a global pandemic, many Virginians are facing budgetary challenges that end up high on the list of concerns. What was previously a conversation about “how much?” has become a question of “can we even afford it?”. With numerous budget amendments on the table for state legislators, we must prioritize the care and concern of our children and families through support increasing funding for the Family and Children’s Trust Fund (FACT). Introduced by Delegate Carr, the proposed amendment provides for an additional $2.5 million in funding per year for the next two years for FACT.
We know that prevention is important for supporting children’s well-being, not only through parental support and education but also through connecting families to supports for basic needs. We also know the prevention work that builds stronger communities requires funding. Now is the opportunity for legislators to show their support of children, families, and all Virginia communities by supporting this budget amendment.
Why fund FACT?
As a fund supporting trauma-informed community networks (TICNs) and prevention efforts, FACT is key to providing the resources our communities need to improve child and family welfare. Even as supportive as current efforts may be, there are always opportunities for greater impact. With this additional funding, FACT could support more TICNs and prevention programs which are essential to creating better outcomes for children through stronger communities. Programs that ensure our communities can voice what they need most to thrive. This budget amendment also specifies that these programs should be tailored to meet the needs of communities of color, who are currently over represented in the child welfare system.
By listening to the community and learning about their needs, we can provide the kind of prevention support that is most impactful. One nationally acclaimed prevention program, Parents as Teachers, works with parents to understand their specific needs and personalize the assistance provided. In one success story, a family found themselves having to choose between obtaining healthcare assistance for the father or maintaining food and shelter. Thanks to the help of the program, they were able to obtain the low-cost healthcare they needed and the parent in need now enjoys more time spent with his kids.
Courtney Reece is a current MSW student at Virginia Commonwealth University. She is a graduate of Queens University of Charlotte with a Bachelor of Arts in Music. Courtney began her social work career through volunteer efforts with the Richmond YWCA and Kindred Hospice and most recently interned with the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance. She is passionate about influencing policy change and looking to policy and prevention efforts that can disrupt systemic inequity.Read More Blog Posts