Members of Congress, who write the laws governing the child welfare system and control the more than $14 billion in federal funding that is spent on child welfare each year, are not sufficiently connected with people with lived experience in the system. As a result, federal policy designed to better the lives of children and families is often shaped by narrow perspectives and anecdotes, leading to significant unintended consequences for those who interact with the system.
Think of Us engages with Members of Congress and their staff on issues that are directly and indirectly related to child welfare. In this work, we actively integrate the voices of individuals with lived experience in child welfare by sharing data, participatory research, and direct feedback of child welfare stakeholders. Think of Us works to bridge the gap between the child welfare system and policymakers by sharing regional and geographic data and amplifying the voices of lived experience to help shape policy reform. Rather than limiting our contribution to the views of our singular organization, TOU creates proximity by inviting individual, organization, and state child welfare players to share issues they face and perspectives on policy. We synthesize this information to provide members of Congress and congressional staff with relevant, actionable insights into the barriers and needs of people impacted by child welfare.
Our collaborative efforts have resulted in: