Spring 2021: Making Your Voice Heard without Leaving Home
While the pandemic continues to impact our lives, it might seem harder to advocate for a cause and make your concerns heard. Until recently, most advocacy efforts meant attending a hearing or a face-to-face meeting with your elected officials.
Today, we’re learning to make our voices heard by using our phones and computers. Hearings and other public meetings can be accessed virtually, and elected officials regularly meet with their constituents over the phone or Zoom. By taking part in virtual focus groups, committees or giving your input by completing after-visit surveys you are using the new tools for families to influence change in systems without leaving home.
Our Next State Budget
Wisconsin’s budget writing committee, the Joint Finance Committee (JFC), will be hosting public hearings during April. One of these will be a virtual hearing on April 28. Your comments on how state funds will be used over the next two years can also be submitted by email. To learn more, go to legis.wisconsin.gov/topics/budgetcomments. Check out our Budget Priorities for Children and Families and Suggested Issue Talking Points if you need ideas for your state budget request to improve the lives of families who have children with disabilities.
Jump Start Your Advocacy Efforts
Visit the Advocate page on the Family Voices website to find tools and videos to help craft your message for policymakers. Examples of testimony are also available. As families who live the system, we are resourceful and creative in finding and paying for our children’s needs. This makes the perspective that we offer very valuable to policymakers! So, take a few minutes and use your voice this spring to positively impact change for all families.
Invest in Families: A Budget Priority for Wisconsin Disability Advocates
As families who have children with disabilities, many of us struggle to navigate systems like health care, long-term supports, education and Medicaid. While each county has an Aging and Disability Resource Center for adults with disabilities, there is no statewide, coordinated effort to connect children with disabilities and their families to information and services.
Family Voices, in partnership with other statewide disability advocates, is urging Wisconsin Legislators to invest in families by adding funding to the budget for a Disability Resource Center for Children and Families (DRCCF). The DRCCF will give families one statewide name, number and staff available throughout the state to offer information, resource navigators, children’s advocacy and benefits specialists and a “front door” to eligibility for long-term supports. See the insert in this newsletter and visit the Policymaking page of our website to learn more. Now is the time to contact your elected representative if you think this is important. Go to Who Are My Legislators? to find out who represents you.