The Arkansas Advocates for Family and Children along with the Community Family Enrichment Center and the Arkadelphia Public School District will present an AACF Policy Café today from 9 a.m. to noon at the Peake Rosenwald School located at 1600 Caddo St.
According to Gerard Matthews, communications director for AACF in Little Rock, the Policy Cafés are a self-guided mini-conference.
The events allow participants to choose from discussions that center around issues that impact children and families in Arkansas.
"We have done these for three years around the state and they have been very well-received," said Matthews.
Issues covered can vary and are tailored them to the audience as much as possible. Such possible topics include:
• Juvenile Justice Reform in Arkansas
• How to Impact the State Tax and Budget System
• The Child Welfare System
• The Grade Level Reading Campaign
• Expanding After School and Summer programs
• Child Health Issues/the Private Option-Medicaid Expansion
• Pre-K and K-12 issues
• The Opportunity to Learn Campaign (Closing the achievement gap for low income and minority students)
• Child Hunger
• Federal Budget Issues
"Working with a local partner, we bring the latest research, give a recap on the 2013 legislative session, and lead discussions on possible future legislation in Arkansas," Matthews said.
Several tables will be in the room and a topic area to each of the tables will be assigned.
According to Matthews, the table leader will be an expert in one the major issue areas. Event attendees can travel from table to table as a part of a small group to gather important information to make them a better child advocate.
"We go through three rotations at each table so you never miss an issue that's important to you. It’s like a mini conference but one that is more participatory, where attendees are a part of the conversation and not lectured to," said Matthews. Matthews said that participants leave the event with an understanding of the role that policy plays in the lives of Arkansas children and families, past successes, future policy campaigns, and how to get involved.
Wednesday's event is free and open to the public.