Changing a child’s life for the better requires tackling problems where they begin—at home.


Early Childhood

Parenting is challenging, especially for people who have few financial and social resources—like teen mothers, single caregivers, and those living in poverty. Efforts to help them provide safe, nurturing environments for their children can go a long way in breaking negative cycles and creating positive outlooks for our next generation.

The Children’s Agenda focuses on advancing programs and policies that improve family health and self-sufficiency. Our work focuses on expanding evidence-based home visitation programs to serve more at-risk parents, increasing access to quality childcare so caregivers can work without interruption, and promoting new strategies to fight poverty.

We were instrumental in bringing the Nurse Family Partnership Program to Rochester. This nationally recognized program pairs first-time, low-income families with specially trained registered nurses for home visits on a weekly to monthly basis, beginning in the mother’s second trimester and continuing until the child is two years old. Nurses offer a comprehensive educational program designed to help parents provide better care for their child, clarify their parenting goals, and develop problem-solving skills.

Since its inception in 2006, the Nurse Family Partnership has helped more than 1,200 local mothers become more confident parents and stronger women while leaving a positive impact on the whole family.

Learn more about the Nurse Family Partnership.

To learn more about other evidence-based home visitation programs that help parents, see Building Healthy Children and Parents As Teachers.

Our advocacy for increased childcare funding has been fruitful. In 2014, we were part of a coalition that won an increase of $1.74 million in local funding for childcare subsidies in the state budget. With this increase, approximately 200 more local children should have access to high-quality, early learning experiences. According to the best research evidence, if all 200 receive high-quality childcare for at least two years, we can expect to see the following:

  • 36 fewer children needing special education.
  • 38 fewer teen pregnancies.
  • 40 more high school graduates.
  • 46 more students enrolled in four-year colleges.
  • Improved health, less criminal activity, and less time on welfare as adults.

In Monroe County’s suburbs, the need for childcare subsidies is growing substantially and the current subsidy model serves less than a quarter of eligible families. We continue to advocate for increased access to quality childcare and different ways for parents to apply. In 2015, we helped win a $1 million increase in “facilitated enrollment” childcare slots.

We’re tackling poverty—and the stress it produces—in ways proven to work. We believe low-income children can rarely be “serviced” out of poverty, especially not through one-generation, child-centered efforts alone. As part of the Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative, we outline strategies that help families and parents end what Mayor Lovely Warren calls the “poverty treadmill.” Our recommended actions reflect steps taken in Britain, where childhood poverty decreased from 26.1 percent in 1998 to 10.6 percent in 2010:

  • Raising the income of families with children by:
    • Raising minimum wage.
    • Expanding childcare tax credits.
    • Expanding eligibility, applications, and frequency of payments for the Earned Income Tax Credit.
  • Expanding paid maternity leave.
  • Investing in early childhood programs.
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