Coalition of County Children and Families Commissions Funding County Services for Families

Overview

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The Coalition is an unusual entity -- a group of 36 very disparate county programs with a united goal: To fund local commissions adequately in each of the counties despite all of their differences. Before the 2007 legislative session, the Coalition turned to CFM to represent it in Salem. The result? In 2007, CFM worked with Coalition members to convince legislators to provide additional money for Coalition programs, especially "basic capacity and local flexible funds" that local staff use to mobilize volunteers, leverage local and federal money and serve children and their families.

Challenge

The recession in Oregon, with its resulting loss of state revenue, has made it difficult to fund important state programs -- K-12 education, higher education, public safety, general social services -- and specific services provided by the Children and Family Services enterprise. In this context, all-important state programs would have to compete against all other state programs, especially because, with only a few exceptions, taxes were not increased.

Approach

CFM capitalized on its existing relationship with legislators on the Joint Ways and Means Committee, as well as asked local Coalition members to contact their local legislators directly as constituents. In two cases, the good news was that local Coalition members had relationships with key members of the Ways and Means Committee, including the co-chairs of the full committee and the chairs of the Human Services Subcommittee. In a series of private meetings and public contacts, CFM emphasized the importance of the Children and Families system, the commitment to prevention as a hallmark of services and return on investment generated by state dollars.

Result

CFM helped to increase awareness and support among legislators while, at the same time, increasing dollars in 2007 and holding the line against cuts in 2009.