Alliance, Buckner Present at Congressional Briefing on Family Strengthening
The Alliance for Strong Families and Communities was honored to join with our member, Buckner International in Dallas, Texas, to present a congressional briefing on Family Strengthening, Support and Reunification. The Senate Foster Caucus and Congressional Foster Caucus sponsored the event.
Randy Daniels, vice president of international program development for Buckner, highlighted the organization’s innovative work including Family Hope Centers and Family Pathways, which wraps five protective factors around families to keep them together through life’s toughest challenges.
Valerie Brown spoke about the impact of their programs on her life. She said that Buckner, “gathered around me like a family and helped me reach my goals.” Her children are doing well in school and are even volunteering themselves. Brown is currently making jewelry, learning new skills, and earning income through the Akola project. Akola is a thriving social enterprise that helps low-income mothers and women sell their jewelry and products.
Marlo Nash, senior vice president of public policy and mobilization at the Alliance, moderated the briefing and highlighted the connection between successful programs like Buckner’s and the pending federal Family First Prevention Services Act. In doing so, she argued the importance of strengthening and supporting families by investing in prevention and early interventions.
The panel also included Jason Weber, national director of foster care Initiatives for the Christian Alliance for Orphans and Chelsea Geyer, founding executive director of DC127. Weber spoke of the value of communities as part of a holistic solution that incorporates support programs. He said, “community is the key to success. It's not just curriculum or programs that helps us to grow, it's other people.” Geyer stressed the importance of partnering with other organizations, government agencies, and businesses to provide services to those in need, saying “It’s important to acknowledge the hard work that parents are doing and to do all we can to support them through difficult times.” Her organization stresses the belief that no one should have to go through a crisis alone and provides volunteer supports to help coach parents and families as part of the Safe Families for Children movement.
All three organizations stressed the importance of community building, delivering on the recognition that any path forward need to focus on children and their families, and supporting families through multi-disciplinary, community- and family-centered approaches.