All people need to be supported by families; strong families fuel vibrant communities and economies. As the needs of families and communities today are varied and interconnected, it is important to acknowledge that building well-being requires approaches that are diverse and cross-cutting through the lens of advancing equity. There are no singular or simple solutions.
To guide our policy focus and collective advocacy efforts, the Social Current network periodically engages in a series of conversations to identify the foundational and structural building blocks that all families and communities need to foster well-being over the lifespan. We reviewed trend-line data in the areas of health, education, economic security, poverty, safety, and security. Through the process, two main issues emerged:
- The prevalence of disparities, largely driven by structural and historical racism and income inequality
- The lack of means and will to provide equity in opportunity and access to the resources that people need to thrive
As part of the health and human service sector, we work at the nexus of people, community, and systems. This gives us a unique vantage point to articulate the public policies that ensure people, families, and communities thrive. As part of the communities where we do our work, we walk with the neighbors we serve. This gives our organizations insights into the vast strengths, potential, hopes, and dreams of the people who live in our communities as well as the challenges they face and the intersecting policies and systems that can either accelerate or thwart their progress. These on-the-ground insights, combined with our knowledge of what works—validated through results, data, and evidence to build well-being—equip us to serve as effective partners with policymakers to advance racial equity and build together across the ecosystem of partners the well-being of our nation across generations.
Many of the families and communities we serve, especially communities of color, face hurdles that they alone did not create or control that impede their ability to flourish. Persistent intergenerational disparities and trauma embedded in racism and systems of oppression can be insurmountable without intentional interventions aimed at addressing root causes.
We know every person, family, and community is more likely to achieve their full potential when they have a strong foundation that enables them to thrive, no matter their current situation, socio-economic status, or geographic location. The following represents the building blocks that are essential for creating and sustaining the well-being of families and communities:
- Safe, stable, nurturing relationships and environments that prevent and mitigate the impact of trauma through quality care options across the lifespan
- Equal opportunity employment that provides a living wage, economic mobility, and comprehensive workforce supports
- Affordable, preventive, quality health care that provides parity for behavioral health and addresses the social determinants of health
- Affordable, livable homes in safe, vibrant neighborhoods that have accessible healthy food, transportation, child care, and other fundamental services
- Educational success that begins with nurturing and supportive families and continues with early childhood development through post-secondary advancement