Family First Act a Much-Needed Reform in the Heartland

This month, I celebrated 10 years working at Nebraska Appleseed as a lawyer and child advocate. When I started, Nebraska had one of the lowest penetration rates for drawing down federal funding for child welfare

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About SPARC 2 Articles
Child welfare advocates are uniquely positioned to influence debates that directly impact the safety and well being of America’s children. State child welfare advocates are innovating, but they’re so busy fighting their own battles that they don’t always have the bandwidth to put their successes and challenges on the national agenda. And because national advocates all have varying funding streams, distinct constituencies, and relationships with different state partners, it’s historically been hard for national advocates to advance a unified package of success stories and challenges to share with policymakers. What’s the result? Advocacy on child welfare varies dramatically from state to state, and even really effective advocates often feel like they’re all alone and spending more time than they want to playing defense. The State Policy and Advocacy Reform Center (SPARC); an initiative funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Jim Casey Youth Opportunities Initiative, and the Walter S. Johnson Foundation; strengthens connections among state advocates, offering a comprehensive menu of supports, when and how state advocates need them. SPARC looks across state lines, to uplift success stories that can serve as models for replication and emerging challenges that demand an urgent response.

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