Ilga Vise talks with Dana Carroll, Springfield’s child advocate for the Every Child Promise about the collaborative.
Last year, the News-Leader featured a series of human interest stories about the plight of Springfield’s children and young families. Reporter Claudette Riley wrote that one in five children were not ready for school, that almost 50 percent of those live in poverty and that many are the victims of child abuse and neglect. They also struggle with health and nutrition problems.
Every Child Promise aims to empower families so that every child has the opportunity to enter school ready to learn. Organizers decided to focus on younger children because they felt that's where the impact will be the greatest.
Carroll is pleased with the support given by community leaders during the first stage of the collaborative, the input of nearly 500 people into the strategic plan and the continued assistance by individuals and businesses. She said it is in everyone's best interest to see children succeed. That leads to a better school system, a better potential workforce and a better civil society, according to Carroll.
A strategic plan was developed using pilot projects and choosing the best practices and some new ideas to guarantee that they will be the most cost effective and best for our community, she said.
Initial funding was provided by donations. But she said the effort will require sustainable funding. Senator Dixon has proposed legislation in years past that would establish a children’s fund, similar to the senior service fund. Grants and other funding strategies are also being examined.
Carroll states that she has been an advocate for children for nearly twenty years. She finds it rewarding to live in a community that works together to find solutions to put our children first.