Since 1970, the National Black Child Development Institute (NBCDI) has remained steadfast in its mission –“To improve and advance the lives of black children and their families through education and advocacy.”

As you know, BCDI-Atlanta works daily on behalf of Georgia’s children and families. When many people hear our name; they immediately think of the work we do with centers in achieving NAEYC accreditation. Others think of the work we are doing around promoting health and wellness. The middle school community would probably say, “Oh, those are the people who do Entering The College Zone”. These persons may not be as familiar with the work we do behind the scenes to ensure that we have funding to implement the educational programs.

As a volunteer/ membership organization, we understand that it takes a village to raise a child; so, we continuously partner with like-minded organizations to garner the support needed for services offered to programs in the State of Georgia. For example, we have joined forces with Voices for Georgia’s Children, Georgia Association on Young Children, and others in the Birth to Five and Strengthening Families Networks to challenge lawmakers to stand up for kids. We are at the table, actively participating in the shaping of policy and practices impacting “voiceless” children, families, and communities.

Advocacy has been defined as “the act of pleading or arguing in favor of something, such as a cause, idea, or policy; active support”. This definition describes what we do every time we sit down at the table to “give voice to the voiceless”. The affiliate leadership, first and foremost, takes steps to make sure we are included in crafting discussions affecting our community. This practice ensures that we receive information as soon as it becomes available so that we can get it into the hands of our membership. Members receive public policy alerts so that our community voice is represented in the countless messages that go to local, state, and federal officials. When legislators needed to hear about children’s health care, BCDI members made calls, wrote letters, and sent emails. When public officials needed to know how we felt about changes to pre-k, our members rose to the occasion. When child care centers faced changes, BCDI hosted public forums, bringing the Commissioner into the room to hear what our members think. When programs like Head Start faced possible cuts, the affiliate served as a clearinghouse to filter information to the larger early care and education community. When election time comes around, the affiliate reminds centers of registration deadlines, and encourages members to host voter registration drives, etc.

Yes, the affiliate understands that advocacy for public policy that positively affects our children, families, and communities, is at the core of what we stand for. We care; don’t you?