Why do we do this?

Taking six families from five different states to Washington DC is a lot of work.  There are a ton of travel logisitics, some pretty complicated scheduling, and significant staff resources entailed.  Why do we do it every year?  Because it is one of the highlights of the year!

It’s sort of a truism these days, but worth repeating, that children often get left out of the “formal” political process.  They don’t vote, and younger children rely on adults to advocate for their needs.  One of the great things about Children’s Hospital Boston (and children’s hospitals generally) is that they so clearly see child advocacy as important parts of their missions.  Yet, the best advocates by far are children and their parents.

At Children’s Hospital Boston, we have very consciously thought about ways to link most effectively with child advocates.  We have also tried to think carefully about the regional role we play (as kind of a “back up” to other pediatric providers throughout New England).  We are the only freestanding children’s hospital in Massachusetts and one of only two in all of New England.  That’s why we have consciously sought to bring families from all over the area to Family Advocacy Day to make sure that each delegation hears about issues important to children.  We have also invested in linking with other child advocacy groups through our support for and participation in the New England Alliance for Children’s Health (http://www.childrenshealthne.org/).

This is my fifth year participating in Family Advocacy Day.  Each year brings together a great set of families and new opportunities and challenges.  With the national health reform debate really heating up, I can’t think of a more important time to head to DC.

Josh (Director of Government Relations, Children’s Hospital Boston)

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