Reflections on the year

2010 was a long and difficult year for many struggling families with young children in the District and across the country. The recession may have officially ended more than a year ago, but there were few signs of relief -- from the bleak housing market to stagnant employment and state and local governments forced to make difficult cuts to balance budgets. Indeed, advocacy groups had to recalibrate their messages in an environment in which every critical social service was on the chopping block. 

DC Action for Children launched our first social media advocacy campaign, High 5 for DC's Kids, to focus attention on preserving and strengthening critical programs that help ensure every child in the District has a strong start in life. Nine advocacy organizations signed on across the city to show support for our five-point platform, as well as many individuals who felt strongly that investments in our youngest citizens will help create a brighter future for all of us in the District. 

Without your support and these important partnerships, this may have been an even more difficult winter for families in the District. While funding for many critical programs was cut to close the city's budget gap, we were able to preserve or stave off deep cuts from the three areas we highlighted in our campaign: funding for fresh and nutritious meals in schools mandated by the Healthy Schools Act; subsidized child care for working families and support for Community Collaboratives that help prevent child abuse and neglect. Still, this amounted to a very thin silver lining in an otherwise harsh season. 

That said, we are well positioned to make the most of this growing base of support for the District's children and families in 2011. We look forward to working with Mayor-elect Vincent Gray, his administration and the D.C. Council to help ensure that all children in our city have the support they need from birth all the way through college. We will continue to work closely with providers and our partners in all sectors to shine a light on the status of children in the District and to drive evidence-based reforms that work.

We look forward to sharing some exciting news in 2011. In the meantime, we wish you and yours a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.