The Alliance for Strong Families and Communities believes that our country thrives when everyone  can reach their full potential. Because we work at the nexus of families, communities, and public  systems every day, our strategic action network is a vital partner with policymakers in pursuit of  equitable, culturally responsive solutions that will accelerate progress toward achieving a healthy and equitable society.

This public policy agenda is built on a unifying set of core values and building blocks articulated in our Alliance member-created public policy platform, A Blueprint for Strong Families and Communities

To best leverage our strengths and those of other organizations that share our vision, we will approach issues in three ways:

  • Accelerate through Leadership. As change agents, the Alliance strategic action network will take a leadership role
  • Accelerate through Partnership. The Alliance will lean in with active and committed partners
  • Incubate. The Alliance will incubate new ideas and explore additional opportunities

Through this agenda, we will work to ensure our strategic action network is mobilized to enact and protect public policies that: 

  • Bolster people and communities served by our network through federal fiscal policy
  • Support safe data storage and sharing to promote cross-system collaboration that leads to positive outcomes for children and families
  • Promote innovative age-inclusive, intergenerational approaches to build family well-being and community cohesion
  • Use the latest findings in neurosciences and prevention sciences to restore healthy developmental trajectories for children, adults, and families
  • Reduce disparities for marginalized individuals and communities
  • Lift up comprehensive wraparound support services to promote stability

Further, this agenda is aligned with the Alliance’s theory of action and results-based accountability plans to advance equity; support high-impact and sustainable nonprofits; and improve health and well-being, safety and resilience, educational success, and economic mobility.

Bolster Impact and Nonprofit Sustainability

Fiscal policy set forth by the administration and Congress outlines federal funding for both entitlement and discretionary programs that are critical to the health and well-being of America’s families and communities. We urge federal lawmakers to make federal funding decisions and tax policies that protect and enhance, rather than erode, support for families and communities since we know that strong families fuel vibrant communities and economies. We will:

  • Monitor the federal budget process and advocate to ensure that vital programs for populations served by our network are appropriately funded (Accelerate through Partnership)
  • Develop regulation recommendations that help community-based human services organizations work more efficiently without lessening their impact on the individuals and communities served (Accelerate through Leadership)
  • Develop a proposal to modify the Congressional Budget Office’s 10-year scoring window to account for longer-term cost savings resulting from preventive policies (Incubate)
  • Promote innovative public financing and procurement concepts that better support outcomes (Accelerate through Leadership)
  • Support tax code enhancements that encourage and incentivize charitable giving (Accelerate through Partnership)
  • Oppose efforts to politicize the charitable nonprofit and philanthropic community by repealing or weakening current federal tax law protections (i.e. the Johnson Amendment) that prohibit 501(c)(3) organizations from endorsing, opposing, or contributing to political candidates (Accelerate through Partnership)
  • Oppose efforts that threaten or eliminate charitable immunity and corporate and volunteer liability protections for community-based organizations (Accelerate through Partnership)
  • Sponsor and advance voter mobilization and advocacy supports and tools for our network to empower the people and communities they serve and further their missions (Accelerate through Partnership)

Advance Health and Well-Being

A foundational support that every person and community need to thrive is access to affordable, preventive, and fully integrated physical and mental health care. The social sector, alongside public health, is an important partner in advancing health equity to drive early intervention and prevention programs that result in positive population health outcomes. To that end, the Alliance will work to:

  • Support access to affordable, preventive, and fully integrated health care (Accelerate through Partnership)
  • Promote the acceleration of the social determinants of health as integral to improving population outcomes and achieving cost savings (Accelerate through Leadership) (Incubate)
  • Ensure new health care policies work to reduce the number of uninsured (Accelerate through Partnership)
  • Maintain parity between health and behavioral health insurance coverage (Accelerate through Partnership)
  • Insist on a net positive impact on populations served by Medicaid in the face of efforts to redesign Medicaid’s federal-state partnership (Accelerate through Partnership)

Strengthen Child Safety and Resilience 

The federal government can play a supportive role in strengthening child safety, resilience, and well-being by reinforcing safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments. We support policies that are informed by neuroscience and integrate evidence-based or promising prevention and early response strategies to proactively build family well-being. To that end, we will:

  • Advance trauma-informed care principles in policy (Accelerate through Leadership)
  • Promote immigration policies that respect family units and protect children (Accelerate through Partnership)
  • Monitor, guide, and support stakeholders (including states) on the implementation of the Family First Prevention Services Act to ensure it is consistent with the intent of the legislation and aligned with and influenced by the Alliance’s Change in Mind Institute and Within Our Reach initiative (Accelerate through Partnership)
  • Ensure families have the services required to keep children safe by reauthorizing and increasing funding for the Child Abuse and Prevention Treatment Act, using a focus on primary prevention to ensure children and families are strong and healthy (Accelerate through Partnership)
  • Continue to advance the recommendations of the federal Commission to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities (Accelerate through Leadership)
  • Advance a 21st-century child welfare system and advocate for the necessary financial levers to support it (Accelerate through Partnership)

Support Educational Success

21st-century citizens must be equipped throughout their lifespans to grow a competitive, innovation-based economy and foster vibrant, inclusive communities. Federal and state governments can advance educational reform to ensures our nation’s students improve socially, academically, and creatively to enjoy greater quality of life and contribute to their communities’ prosperity. We will:

  • Advance restorative educational approaches that advance a climate of safety, accountability, and fairness (Accelerate through Partnership)

Drive Economic Mobility

The Alliance advocates for federal policies that achieve safe, livable, and vibrant communities that offer the promise of security, economic opportunity, and upward mobility. We will work to:

  • Reauthorize the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act and ensure it helps Americans with barriers to employment, including youth, returning citizens, and differently abled individuals, achieve livable wages and quality careers

To achieve a healthy and equitable society, our strategic action network must remain adaptable to this unpredictable public policy and advocacy environment. Agility, without wavering from our values and commitments, is the key to successfully navigating and advocating in today’s landscape.

Download the 2019-2020 Federal Public Policy Agenda