Voices and Choices for Children Coalition – Legislative Agenda
Voices and Choices for Children is a coalition that works closely with Minnesota’s Children’s Cabinet, state ethnic councils, state agencies, early childhood funders, non-profits, community-based organizations, early childhood advocates and parents representing communities of color and American Indian communities across the state. Our coalition focuses on developing strongly engaged cultural communities of learning, organizing and advocacy for their, input, and impact in shaping more equitable practices and policies that will support better outcomes for children of color and American Indian children prenatal to 8 years old across the state. We believe that people of color and American Indians must be at the table as polices are created and decisions made about and for our children.
Voices and Choices for Children Coalition – Administrative Agenda
The Voices and Choices for Children coalition’s top administrative priority is to work with state agencies, child care providers, advocates and parents to make Parent Aware (Minnesota's Quality Rating and Improvement System) more effective in meeting the needs of children of color and American Indian children and their families through placing a more meaningful, resourced and authentic effort to incorporate cultural responsiveness and cultural competency in child care and early learning programs throughout our state.
Currently, the Parent Aware system does not robustly address cultural responsiveness and cultural competency. It is essential for Parent Aware to be focusing on cultural responsiveness and cultural competency in terms of both quality and access.
Over the past two years, the Voices and Choices for Children coalition has led a process of convening and engaging early child care providers, professionals and parents from communities of color and American Indian communities from across the state with a focus on cultural responsiveness within the Parent Aware quality rating and improvement system, so that children of color and American Indian children can have access to programs that are both high quality and culturally affirming. The primary goal of this work is to take a deeper look at the way Parent Aware measures quality and to provide a safe space for communities of color and American Indian communities to enter into an honest dialogue around necessary changes related to culture responsiveness within the quality rating and improvement system.