Advocacy

Our members’ voices matter.

We lift up their lived experiences to advocate for policies pertaining to fathers and families at the local, state and federal levels.

We’re not shy about reaching out to our elected officials to be a bold voice for our members.

We use data and qualitative feedback to inform key decision makers, legislators, and other influential civic leaders on the impact of larger policy decisions on low-income workers, families, and communities.

It’s Our Duty to Fight for Justice and Equality

The Center for Urban Families develops and maintains relationships with local, state, and federal government agencies and other allied stakeholders to establish or reform policies and systems that impact the ability of our members to best provide for themselves, their families, and the community.

We advocate for our members to have a seat at the policy making table, a voice in the discussion, and a vote in any decision about their social and economic destiny.

Over the years, we have engaged with local and national organizations to learn and share best practices, reshape the narrative surrounding the members that we serve, and advocate for meaningful policies that promote family strengthening, economic supports, criminal justice reform, fatherhood, and child support reform. Examples of our policy and advocacy work include:

  • Serving on the Maryland Child Support Guidelines Advisory Committee that reviews reports and formulates policy in order to update and improve Maryland Child Support guidelines. These policies and practices that are based on a parent’s ability to pay child support continue to inform the Child Support Administration’s approach to service delivery.
  • Participating on the Good+Foundation’s Child Support Working Group that is working to create a child support policy environment that promotes father engagement.
  • Engaging with the Maryland Two-Generation Family Economic Security Commission whose mission is to develop recommendations on how the state can link programs and services that create opportunities for both parents and children, particularly in the areas of education, economic stability, and family engagement.
  • Supporting ongoing work with Maryland State legislators to mitigate the benefits cliff that hinders many in our target population from reaching their full potential due to immediate loss of critical public benefits and work supports. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan’s recent commitment of $6.3 million will help mitigate the impact of the “benefits cliff” for newly employed recipients of public assistance.
  • Challenging the cost recovery requirement in federal child support policy that assesses non-resident fathers for the cost of providing public benefits to mothers and children, separate from child support paid directly by the fathers to the mothers. This policy harms poor, intact families in Baltimore where the father does not reside with the mother but the parents are working positively together to raise children. When these families encounter financial circumstances that make it necessary to access public benefits, the State of Maryland has no choice under current federal law but to assess the father the cost of those benefits.
  • Supporting expungement of non-violent convictions that can create a life-long barrier to employment for returning citizens, even when employers recognize that those convictions have little bearing on the qualifications for good jobs.

Our ongoing advocacy efforts will be shaped by our participation in the Building Community Resilience Collaborative and Networks at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University, led by Dr. Wendy Ellis.