Lines on the map can be barriers for children

Suzanne Johnson (Voices for Virginia’s Children) listens to fellow child advocate Angela Jones Hackley (DC Action for Children).

“Local populations are becoming increasingly transient,” says Angela Jones Hackley of DC Action for Children, and so it is crucial to examine issues affecting our children from a regional perspective.

On May 11, Washington Grantmakers’ Children, Youth, and Families, and Health Working Groups hosted a funders briefing on regional children’s issues. Matthew Joseph of Maryland’s Advocates for Children and Youth and Suzanne Johnson of Voices for Virginia’s Children joined Jones Hackley on the panel.

Presenting on child welfare, mental health, child health, and early care and education, panelists spoke of the progress on certain fronts, and of the frustrations and challenges children continue to face in each of their jurisdictions. D.C. is struggling to combat a 40 percent childhood poverty rate. Virginia too often neglects the fact that nearly one-third of its children are underserved and underprivileged. And of the second wealthiest state in the country, Joseph observed: “Frankly, Maryland is disappointing for children.” 

Some of the challenges facing area children stem from the fact that while families can move within the region, governments stop at the borders. There are gaps in funding and services because state governments’ scopes are too narrow to address certain problems.

Through regional collaboration, Washington Grantmakers members have an opportunity to leverage resources and coordinate in a way that has proven difficult for area governments, and to make a difference in the lives of our region’s children.

To learn more about issues affecting the region’s children, visit these Web sites:

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