Increasing Equity for Under-Resourced Families

NNCC believes that nurses have a transformative role as holistic caregivers, advocates, and leaders. To that end, we strive to embody the principles of nursing in all aspects of our work. Understanding that forces outside of the exam room shape community health, NNCC advocates for policies and strategies that address systemic forms of oppression as indicators for health outcomes. The strategies include:

Increase access to high quality, affordable childcare and early childhood education

NNCC recognizes the many barriers families face in accessing affordable, high-quality childcare and early child education. Parents and guardians unable to acquire childcare experience economic, social, and physical challenges. NNCC supports policies that expand access to high quality childcare, including reforming our nation’s welfare system. NNCC also supports policy that increase access to high-quality, publicly available early childhood education.

Expand the availability of paid family leave

When families have access to paid family leave, children have better health outcomes. The United States is one of few similar countries that does not offer a national paid family leave program. NNCC seeks to promote and expand the availability of paid family leave, recognizing that it acts as a protective factor for children and families in communities denied resources.

Improve food security and reduce food deserts

NNCC is committed to removing barriers to accessing healthy, affordable foods, including preserving and expanding nutrition programs such as WIC and SNAP. Access to these programs is essential to individual and community health, child brain development, disease prevention, and a host of other measurable positive outcomes. NNCC also supports the expansion of school meal programs and policies that work to reduce food deserts.

Increase access to direct financial assistance programs

NNCC supports increased access to direct financial assistance programs as a means of improving economic stability, including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), unemployment benefits, an increased minimum wage, and new models of direct assistance. Current programs are not viable or adequately funded financial resources for pregnant and parenting families. In its current form, TANF fails to fulfill its mission of providing adequate assistance to families living in poverty and creates barriers to employment and subsidized childcare. TANF program reforms are necessary to meet the needs of vulnerable, under-resourced individuals and families.

Increase accountability and improve service provisions in public benefits and support programs

NNCC advocates at the local, state, and national level for the enforcement of protections already provided though current legislation, including the Family Violence Option. NNCC supports increased training and compensation for forward-facing workers within these systems through community partnerships. As our health system moves towards health center-based screening for social determinants of health, the opportunities for such partnerships have increased.

Promote active civic engagement

NNCC recognizes that families are best equipped to be their own advocates. With this in mind, NNCC seeks to increase civic and political engagement among under-resourced families, empowering them with the knowledge they need to push for systemic change.

Build protections for lactating students

As a founding member of the Coalition for Lactation Friendly Schools, NNCC supports legislation requiring schools to remove barriers for lactating students and to provide time, a place, and other accommodations needed by lactating parents, without repercussions, in support of their ongoing pursuit of their education as well as the health and wellness of their families.

Increase access to civil legal support and representation

NNCC advocates for policies that increase access to civil legal aid and representation for low-income families, including Right to Counsel in landlord-tenant court. Families often face threats to housing or livelihood that could be alleviated with the help of a lawyer, but often community legal services are over-burdened and private services are financially out of reach. NNCC created the Nursing-Legal Partnership to provide civil legal services to our client families, and has since expanded these services to all home visiting programs in Philadelphia through the FAIR Project.

 

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