Members of Giving Circle have an unusual and exciting opportunity to help secure funding that will more than double the families served by Healthy Families Alexandria (HFA) and support the expansion of the Healthy Families (HF) program throughout Virginia.
We are beginning a comprehensive advocacy effort to secure funding from the State General Assembly. This will be a phased advocacy campaign that includes the Governor, members of the State General Assembly and our City Council. In the first phase of this campaign we need you to write a letter to Governor Kaine prior to October 20th. Read on for details.
Please write a letter, using the sample letter if you wish, to:
The Honorable Timothy Kaine
Patrick Henry Bldg., 3rd Floor
1111 East Broad Street
Richmond, VA 23219
Please CC your letter to:
1. Marilyn Tavenner
Secretary of Health and Human Resources
Patrick Henry Building, 4th Floor
1111 East Broad Street
Richmond, VA 23219
2. Your Elected Delegate to the State General Assembly (List of Delegates is
below or check http://conview.state.va.us/whosmy.nsf/main?openform)
If your Elected Delegate is Brian Moran or Senator Dick Saslaw, please include a handwritten note at the top of their copy letting them know that you would really appreciate their support.
If your Senator is Patsy Ticer, please thank her for her continued support of Healthy Families Alexandria. She was Mayor when HFA started and is a strong supporter of the program and increased funding.
Please send a Blind Copy, for Healthy Family Alexandria records, to
Holly Sloan via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or at
403 S Fairfax Street, Alexandria
Physical letters are preferable to online correspondence; we have tried to make this as easy as possible and thank you for taking the time to help Healthy Families secure this funding so critical to its continued growth.
You may use this sample letter as a guide. Our efforts will be more persuasive if each of our letters is personalized. However, if you just have time to add in your personal closing and make sure the appropriate delegates are cc’d, please just use the sample letter.
In the letter to Governor Kaine, ask him to:
Your letter does not need to be long or detailed – you are a citizen advocate and not an expert, so just speak your heart. The important thing is that you let the Governor know it is a priority to fund the expansion of HF. If Governor Kaine includes this request in his budget it significantly increases the likelihood that the Assembly will include it in the final 2010 budget. Once the Governor has made his determination (literally within weeks) we will begin Phase II of the campaign focused on the General Assembly.
The following expands on the points above and provides information that might help you as you write your letter.
How were Alexandria and Culpepper Chosen for Expansion?
In FY 2007 the General Assembly directed the Virginia Dept Social Services and the Secretary of Health and Human Services to make recommendations for the possible expansion of Healthy Families. Department Social Services enlisted the help of Healthy Families Virginia (HFVA), a non-profit organization that provides assistance to and advocates on behalf of the 38 Healthy family sites that exist throughout Virginia. HFVA identified criteria to guide them in their recommendations and developed a process that ranked all the Virginia sites for expansion readiness and when the process was done Alexandria and Culpepper met the criteria and were selected to be the first in VA to expand once the state money is secured. HFVA is actively working with Alexandria and Culpepper to advocate for the needed funding and prepare them to successfully expand
How will this benefit our City?
Once funding is secured, HFA will expand to serve significantly more families. In the first year of funding (FY2010), they would increase from provided services for 219 to 475 families. We cannot underestimate what this mean to all of Alexandria’s families. Providing personalized support to our communities’ most vulnerable families and helping them raise children that are healthy, happy and ready to learn strengthens all our futures.
How will this benefit the entire State?
Both Healthy Families Alexandria and Culpepper’s expansions will be intensively evaluated. Evaluators, already in place, will be studying the community impact over time and documenting the lasting affects of this early intervention, home visitation program. The results of the evaluation will be used to guide and inspire future expansion throughout the State.
The individual program outcomes for the families served in Alexandria are well documented and the benefits in terms of access to prenatal care, children that are healthy, ready to learn, strong parent child bond are indisputable for the individual families who are currently in the program. We have every reason to believe that expanding the evaluation will show extensive benefits to communities and significant cost savings long term. Furthermore, by expanding the program it allows evaluators to more closely look at the impact of the program on the overall community and it makes long-term tracking more feasible. Investing in Alexandria and Culpepper will result in the information needed to thoughtfully and successfully expand HF throughout the State.
So why invest now when money is so tight?
Economic realities and the need for and prevention.
Prevention pays. By investing in the growth of Healthy Families, legislators are investing in prevention and we know that for every dollar spent on prevention $7 is saved in future expenses such as special education, foster care, mental health services, juvenile justice and incarceration. (Bruner, C. (2004). Many happy returns: Three economic models that make the case for school readiness. Washington, DC: State Early Childhood Policy Technical Assistance Network.)
The state of VA and the City of Alexandria are both facing budget deficits – so asking for increases in funding at a time when other programs will be cut is difficult, but it is imperative that we retain the strength of Healthy Families – a program that is supporting the most vulnerable families in our community. These families, with no financial cushion, and a shrinking safety net, are even more vulnerable in these economic times. An increasing number of families throughout our city and nation are struggling and experiencing significant economic stress – imagine the stress on a family entering these uncertain economic times with limited resources, education and life experience. If these families are to survive in these times they need Healthy Families more than ever.
What does HF do – and how have you already helped grow?
Giving Circle members have been hearing and reading about Healthy families since we were founded in 2004. HFA was our first grant recipient and together we have supported them with an annual $32,000 grant for the past four years – a total $126,000.Together we have invested in this effective program because it reaches our most vulnerable children and their parents. The program focuses on first time parents that have stress factors that are likely to contribute to devastating outcomes for their children. Home visits begin prior to the birth of their first child and continue until the child enters Kindergarten. HFA Family Support Workers build a strong relationship with the family and provided invaluable support and guidance. The result is children who are healthy ready to learn, developmentally on track with a strong parent child bond—a bond that can support them throughout their life.
Northern Virginia Office:
P.O. Box 1856
Springfield, VA 22151
Phone: (703) 978-0200
Fax: (703) 978-1221
Office of Senator Richard L. Saslaw
P.O. Box 396
Richmond, VA 23218
Phone: (804) 698-7535
Constituent Hotline: (800) 889-0229
PO Box 41870
Arlington, VA 22204
4154 Duke Street
Alexandria, VA 22304
301 King Street, Box 65
Alexandria, VA 22314
PO Box 178
Alexandria, VA 22313
...where giving comes full circle.