Your Voice Matters: Five Ways to Advocate for Your OST Programs

Dear OST and Afterschool Providers,

NJSACC represents New Jersey’s Out-of-School-Time (OST) communities at the state and national level influencing policies, securing resources, and raising awareness about the importance of OST . We understand the crucial role that school age child care programs play in a child’s development. Now more than ever, your continued dedication to providing high quality programs is needed, and we believe that advocating for your programs is essential in ensuring a thriving OST community.

Here are five ways you can actively advocate for your child care programs:

  1. Engage with Local Legislators:
    Take the initiative to connect with your local legislators and share insights about the challenges and successes of your child care programs. Personal stories and data-driven evidence can be powerful tools to communicate the importance of your services. Attend town hall meetings or schedule meetings with policymakers to discuss the impact of child care on families and communities. 
  2. Build Collaborative Relationships:
    Collaborative efforts amplify the impact of your advocacy. Strengthen partnerships with other child care providers, community organizations, and educational institutions. By forming alliances, you create a unified voice that can advocate for shared goals, such as increased funding, improved regulations, and enhanced support for the field of Out-of-School-Time.
  3. Educate the Community:
    Raise awareness about the significance of high quality programs by organizing community events, workshops, or information sessions. By sharing information on the benefits of early childhood education and the challenges faced by child care programs, you empower parents, guardians and community members to advocate alongside you. Informed communities are more likely to support and champion your cause.
  4. Utilize Social Media and Online Platforms:
    Leverage the power of social media to amplify your message. Share success stories, testimonials, and informative content about the importance of child care on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Engage with your community online and encourage them to share their experiences. A strong online presence can attract attention and support from a broader audience.
  5. Stay Informed and Active in Policy Discussions:
    Stay abreast of policy developments related to OST at the state and local levels like the expansion of the childcare tax credit or the childcare enrollment bill. Actively participate in policy discussions and provide input on proposed changes that may impact child care programs. Join advocacy groups or associations that focus on youth issues to stay connected with like-minded individuals and stay informed about legislative updates.

By actively advocating for your OST programs, you ensure the field of Out-of-School-Time can continue to support working families and their children.

Best regards,

Tyneisha K. Gibbs

Director of Policy & Youth Advocacy

NJSACC: New Jersey’s Afterschool & Out-of-School Time Professional Network