I believe in the power of stories, but I believe even more in the power of the right story.
During my second visit to a juvenile detention center in Texas, I once again heard from kids facing tough circumstances in all parts of their lives. Many of them were struggling with financial limitations at home, encounters with child protective services, or serious mental health disorders. Theirs were deeply personal stories. But they were also the stories of how these kids’ problems weren’t isolated, and how important it is that the systems we have to help them aren’t isolated either.
It’s the same kind of story I hear when parents talk about the positive impact of Early Childhood Intervention on their children’s development, or when I read about moms struggling to keep themselves and their children healthy with increasingly limited resources. These aren’t unconnected issues. These are narratives about how different systems in Texas—whether child protection or early intervention or mental health or nutritional services—weave together and touch every aspect of our kids’ lives. When our state is at its best, these systems collaborate to ensure that every Texas child has the opportunities he or she needs to have a healthy, happy future.
I care because I know that our legislature doesn’t always recognize that weakening one part of this support system weakens it all. I care because cuts to children’s services are harmful today, but even more devastating in the future. I care because I work with people who get it—who know that we’re not just fighting for one aspect of one child’s life, but for parents, communities, and programs that work together to address the whole child. It’s an ambitious approach, but it’s also one that recognizes the necessity of coordination and the strength in collaboration.
I care because investments in our kids matter, and because we can’t afford to see how this story ends if we don’t act now.
Editor's note: This is part of our Share Why You Care series, where members of our staff and network share why children should be a focus in these critical weeks leading up to the election and the months before the legislative session. To check out earlier contributions, read a contribution from mental health policy expert Josette Saxton, health policy associate Lauren Dimitry, CEO Eileen Garcia, juvenile justice expert Lauren Rose, child welfare expert Ashley, and membership director Sondra.