As I reflect on the 2018 legislative session and how kids fared, I am left with mixed emotions:
It is this collective voice that I think will help us reach the tipping point in making children’s issues a priority for our elected officials. We aren’t there yet, but I think we will eventually arrive. Often, when we think about the tipping point we visualize the final push or little nudge that gets us over the edge. I don’t think we spend enough time thinking about (or appreciating) the long, concerted effort that is required to get us to the precipice. Getting to the tipping point requires building consensus on strategy and outcomes. It requires shared and consistent messaging. It requires both persistence and the ability to be nimble—to react and respond to emerging threats and opportunities. As child advocates, I think we are doing most of these things and doing a lot of them well. But in order to inch closer to that tipping point I think we must continue to work on how we frame the issues we care about (children’s health, early care and education, child welfare, etc.). How we frame these issues can help illuminate shared interests and identify opportunities to engage others as we work to make children’s issues a priority. Together, we can reach the tipping point and ensure children in our state are what matter most.
Teenagers in jumpsuits lying on yoga mats, their eyes closed, their bodies still. This is the image Megan Hoxhalli describes as remarkable for juvenile detention, a place where youth arrive shaken, dysregulated, and scared about their future.