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Advocacy that ensures our name is our promise.

Children & Families First’s mission is to champion children and families using evidence-based, equity-centered, and innovative approaches.  We envision diverse, healthy, and resilient communities where all children and families thrive. Centering on equity, our policy agenda advocates for a just system where historically marginalized communities can access the tools, resources, and opportunities to reach their fullest potential. 

For more information, please contact Kirsten Olson, CEO by email or 302-777-9764

Our 2023 Focus Areas & Advocacy Issues

Early Childhood Education

We envision that every family has access to high-quality early learning opportunities to ensure children enter kindergarten ready to learn and an equitably supported early childhood workforce.


To do this with advocate to:

  • Support the development of a mixed-delivery universal early childhood system across Delaware.

  • Expand investments in home visiting to ensure that all families have access to services as needed.

  • Increase early childhood investments in programs such as POC and ECAP, to support enhanced access to quality child care for all families who need it.

  • Increase compensation for early childhood workforce to professionalize the workforce and address the race and gender wage gap.

Child Welfare & Family Stability

We envision children and their families strong and thriving in healthy and stable environments.  We seek support efforts to decrease out-of-home placements and support families who are involved with the child welfare system.


To do this we advocate to:

  • Strengthen and expand both practice-based and evidence-based, trauma-informed prevention services that are equity-informed so children and families are healthy and whole.

  • Strengthen and support kinship caregiving to help maintain children’s connections with family, increase stability, and reduce the trauma of family separation.

  • Enhance access to concrete assistance supports, such as financial supports cash assistance, housing, and food, to prevent child welfare involvement which is often related to poverty and its effects.

  • Ensure transition age youth in foster care receive equitable access to education, career development, affordable housing, and other supports.


Integrated Health & Wellness

We envision a comprehensive, family-centered physical and behavioral health system that is culturally responsive for children and families.


To do this, we advocate to:

  • Increase investments in an integrated, community-based physical and behavioral health system that is inclusive of nonprofit agencies.

  • Support use of equity-focused, trauma-informed and evidence-based approaches.

  • Expand community awareness of trauma and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and the buffering impact of positive relationships.

  • Support investments in the behavioral health workforce, such as loan forgiveness, alternate professional pathways, and initiatives to prevent burnout, relieve workplace stressors, and increase access to high-quality mental health care for the frontline health care workforce


Community-School Partnerships

We envision that all schools, in partnership with families and community partners, serve as hubs of the community and organize a trauma-informed, whole child and family approach to learning and development.


To do this, we advocate for:

  • Public investments in community schools that integrate quality instruction, comprehensive support services like behavioral health and family engagement, and expanded learning opportunities for student success and growth.

  • Investments in school-based physical and mental health strategies to address the well-being of children.


Nonprofit Sustainability & Partnership

Recent events have made clear the critical role of nonprofits during a health and economic crisis. Social and human service organizations like Children & Families First are invaluable partners with government to respond not only to emergencies but also everyday community needs.  As an essential service organization, we envision the financial stability of high-quality nonprofit organizations to be a fundamental ingredient for our communities.


To do this, we advocate to:

  • Ensure that the contracting process for nonprofit organizations acknowledges the key partnership role that they serve in equitably extending government response.

  • Ensure that contracts are evaluated at least annually and adjusted to account for rising costs of service-delivery.  Special consideration should be given to support and reward high performance and service excellence.

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