Advocacy Team Attends Inspiring National Child Care Conference
By Alexander Maykowski
Public Policy Communications Associate, Children’s Council of San Francisco
In early May, I joined our Advocacy team at the Child Care Aware Symposium in Arlington, VA. As someone new to the Early Care & Education (ECE) arena – I started at Children’s Council in November 2021 — I was excited for the opportunity to hear and learn from the seasoned parents, educators and advocates who would be attending.
What I learned could fill notebooks, but a big takeaway for me was a sense of urgency: now is the time to push forward for early care & education (ECE).
The pandemic shined a light on the critical importance of child care. We heard about many states that are moving forward with progressive policies increasing access to care. Build Back Better showed that child care is on the national radar. We must seize this moment to build coalitions, stress the economic importance of early education and strike while the iron is hot.
Another key takeaway for me is that Children’s Council and the city of San Francisco are ahead of the game from an ECE advocacy standpoint.
Our Senior Director of Public Policy Communication Naeemah Charles was a part of a panel discussion. During the talk, a nonprofit CEO heard what Children’s Council has accomplished with Baby Prop C and the Dream Keeper Initiative and said she was inspired to find the funding for dedicated advocacy staff. While many nonprofits advocate for child care in their own way, they do not have dedicated staff to do so.
Our President/CEO Dr. Gina Fromer also facilitated a well-attended presentation – ”How can we shift power in Early Childhood Education?” – focusing on our Pipeline for Black Early Childhood Educator Career Development program.
Among the many informative keynote speakers, Indra Nooyi, former CEO of Pepsi Co., was particularly inspiring. She spoke about how integral child care is and was to her success, the importance of reaching across the aisle, bringing in people from the business world and building a coalition to move child care legislation forward. She encouraged us to “put in the work and be optimistic about the future.”
Indra’s words really hit home for me. The time to act is now. Meeting and listening to all of the amazing child care champions who were at the symposium inspires me and is tangible confirmation that we have a real movement going on.
Join us in our advocacy efforts for our city’s children, families and early educators – let’s put in the work!