Monday, March 12, 2012

Washington State Family Policy Council Networks Promote Community Wellness

This month, Spotlight on Community Change celebrates Washington State Family Policy Council and its 42 affiliate Networks for their innovative combination of grassroots activism; community organizing, education and leadership; research application; interdepartmental dialogue; new funding; and systemic policy change.

“The Family Policy Council’s main tenant is that change must be driven by people in their communities; government programs alone are not sufficient to drive change. The Family Policy Council’s impressive results to date are built upon a comprehensive research-based, culturally adaptive understanding of what it takes to produce healthy and productive adults regardless of the circumstances they are born into.”

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Community Public Health and Safety Networks are empowering Washington State citizens to improve individual and community outcomes in the following 7 areas, recognized by Washington State legislature as interrelated, multi-generational and fundamental to cyclical poverty:

  1. Child abuse and neglect
  2. Domestic violence
  3. Youth violence
  4. Youth suicide
  5. Teen pregnancy
  6. Youth substance abuse
  7. Youth dropping out of school

The 42 Community Networks are codified into state law, along with Family Policy Council, a state agency that supports the Networks by providing financial resources, technical assistance, the latest research, opportunities for peer learning and connections to state and local officials.

Washington State Networks are accountable to results, learning and continued assessment. In fact, Networks are contractually obligated to be flexible and adjust their actions as needed to ensure the best individual and community outcomes possible. Networks strive to increase community capacity to a "tipping point", when several indicators have proven to demonstrate better results at once.

Networks operate as grassroots entities with a powerful connection to state and local policymakers/ officials/ community leaders and the latest research. Structure, key issues and projects vary from Network to Network based on membership, community needs and funding opportunities.

Inclusivity and leadership development are essential to the Family Policy Council model. Interdisciplinary and diverse Network membership (each Network is required to include community residents as well as local officials and experts such as teachers, School Board members, police officers, advocates, county officials, academics, etc.) enables the groups to consider community problems from a holistic standpoint.

An example: Adams County residents mobilized to promote “safe community thriving,” a community value realized through community caf├ęs and other conversational, community-building activities. After affirming their commitment to neighborhood safety, Adams County Network staff and local residents considered the roots of youth violence, using both research and community “dialogue, [which] led to unprecedented ways of thinking.” They discovered that delinquency, early school failure and lack of school readiness often precede violent acts and concluded that homeless children face tremendous barriers to school readiness and success. The Adams County Network has since applied for, and received, funds to address community homelessness, built three emergency shelters, developed a 10 year plan to address community homelessness and become the fiscal managers of the Homeless Prevention Rapid Recovery Program.

Research demonstrates the success of Family Policy Council (FPC) Networks’ ability to create concrete positive community change through grassroots activism and community empowerment. As compared to Washington State counties that do not have a Network, FPC counties have decreased both the number of social problems occurring at high rates and the rates of such problems. Network counties have saved an estimated $7 of public funds for every $1 invested by decreasing various Health and Human Services case loads and crime. Overall, FPC communities are more resilient and their citizens are less likely to endure Adverse Childhood Experiences (click here for more information about the groundbreaking ACE Study).

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For more information, check out the Family Policy Council website.

Like Washington State's Family Policy Council and Community Networks, the Center for the Study of Social Policy promotes community leadership, policy engagement, accountability to results and research-based interventions. CSSP’s Neighborhood Guide offers helpful tips on how to achieve positive change in your community.


  1. Financial Policy Council Inc. (FPC) mission to BRIDGE the chasm between Washington, Wall Street and Main Street using sound, rational economic research and education.

    Thanks Team
    For more info Financial Advisor

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