DENVER — State legislators from over 30 states across the country visited Warren Village, a nonprofit organization that has helped low-income, single-parent families make the journey from poverty to economic mobility for almost 50 years. The visit is part of the National Conference of State Legislatures’ (NCSL) early childhood and child welfare fellows programs.
Wade Fickler, the director of NCSL’s Children and Families Program explained that NCSL chose Warren Village because of the nonprofit's two-generation strategy to improve child and family well-being.
“Warren Villages’ comprehensive approach to simultaneously addressing the needs of children and their families exemplifies what fellows have learned from research and policy experts,” Fickler said in a news release.
Ethan Hemming, president and CEO of Warren Village, said that it was an honor for the organization to be chosen by the NCSL and to be able to inform legislators about Warren Village’s experiences on the ground.
“We obviously support people on the ground, in the moment, in the trenches,” Hemming said, “but our other goal is to influence policy with changes that, hopefully, will make it easier for folks that we serve to make a change in their life.”
According to Hemming, Warren Village uses a holistic approach to support families. The organization has three program components: safe and affordable housing; parent services and advocacy; and early education and child care.
“What we provide is opportunities, support, guidance, housing and all those amazing things, but it rests on their ability to leverage that opportunity,” Hemming said. “We just have great respect for them and their power and we want to be with them on the path to self-sufficiency.”
During their visit, legislators visited classrooms, met staff and learned more about resident and child outcomes of Warren Village alumni based off of data from an annual alumni survey.
Colorado State Rep. Tonya Van Beber, a Republican, was part of the group of legislators that visited the organization. Van Beber said that she was impressed by Warren Village’s model.
“We can pay attention to an organic, holistic model that’s taking care of so many needs,” Van Beber said. “None of us live in a compartmentalized world where we are just completely all one thing at any given moment. The model fits the human condition, if you will.”
Arkansas State Rep. Denise Ennett, a Democrat, enjoyed seeing Warren Village's daycare.
Ennett said, “When you capture the children at a young age and give them the support that they need, the outcome is much greater.”
Theresa Ho is the RMPBS Kids digital content producer. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.