Women and Families
Back in 2015, I ran for County Board based on my conviction that the primary campaign field - and the Board itself - needed women’s voices. In the years since, as our Commonwealth and nation have seen unprecedented numbers of women elected to office, it’s clearer that ever “women’s issues” are fundamental to our shared future. That’s why I’ve been so proud to fight for Arlington women and families over the past four years, leading major breakthroughs in childcare affordability and community response to sexual assault and domestic violence.
Beginning in 2016, I spearheaded the creation of a coalition of providers, advocates, “worker bees” and parents to tackle one of the biggest problems facing Arlington families: The sky-high costs and lack of access to childcare for kids under five.
Since then, our Childcare Initiative engaged our diverse community of parents in providers in multiple languages and with extensive outreach, and resulted in both a comprehensive short- and long-term plan, as well as real improvements for families. During my tenure as Vice Chair and Chair of the Board in 2017 and 2018, for example, we approved 1,215 more high-quality spots for our youngest community members.
In March 2019, the County Board is poised to act on code changes, like parking minimum and occupational licensing reforms, that can further expand supply of quality childcare in Arlington.
And there’s so much more work ahead; across the next four years, we have an opportunity to:
- Increase participation in subsidy programs, and reduce barriers to inclusion of special needs kids, to ensure our most vulnerable little ones have access to the strongest possible start.
- Continue our work with landlords to expand the economic opportunity for renters to create in-home family day care
- Improve partnerships to increase the supply of qualified, licensed childcare workers
Addressing Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence
Building on our community’s strong foundation of interagency partnerships, I’ve worked through Project PEACE, on our community’s Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) and around the region to ensure that survivors never enter “wrong doors,” nor have to endure long waits to receive health or evidence-collection services.
Project PEACE and SART achievements over the past few years include:
- The launch of a comprehensive protocol to ensure that survivors - and agencies - have common expectations for delivery of response and care after a traumatic event; and of the community-facing materials that educate all Arlingtonians, in English and Spanish, about where to go for help and what to expect.
- A regional partnership with INOVA to deliver a first of its kind, 24/7 Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner-staffed unit, so that no survivor is diverted or delayed in accessing critical health, counseling and forensic services after an assault - the result of coordinated, regional advocacy across Northern Virginia jurisdictions to achieve grant funding.
- Implementation of key partnerships to keep domestic violence victims safe, including law enforcement protocols to remove firearms after the issuance of a permanent protective order and the creation of a new “Safe Havens” center for supervised visitation and exchange of children in families affected by domestic violence.