PCA Team in front of Enterprise Center

Parents for Change: How Parents Involved in Policy Can Make a Difference

In Blog by emily

Partnerships for Community Action (PCA) is invested in supporting families and parents by working with organizations like United Parent Leaders Action Network (UPLAN). 

Mercedes Phelan, a UPLAN National Organizer, visited Albuquerque, New Mexico to visit the Social Enterprise Center, our community-led economic development space. She explains, “We are also excited to continue to learn from PCA and support our other membership organizations that are interested in incorporating PCA’s model/wins in their states.” 

PCA sits on the UPLAN Governing Council and several of our parents are actively involved in the Early Childhood Education (ECE) Campaign and the Immigration Campaign. 

Through our work and partnerships, we have helped develop strong community leaders and advocates by working with groups like UPLAN to bring community voices to the forefront. 

What is United Parent Leaders Action Network?

UPLAN is a parent-led network of parent leaders who are passionate about uplifting the voices of parents and children at the national level. It is a network of parents and organizations who understand that the real-world experience of parents needs to be at the table to shape programs and policies that matter to families. UPLAN’s policy areas of focus are promoting real family engagement, increasing access and affordability of child care and early education, and protecting immigrant families and children. 

UPLAN’s most immediate policy focus areas are:

  • Calling for a new federal Office of Parent Engagement
  • Increasing resources for and affordability of early care and education
  • Protecting immigrant families
  • Implementing the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) in a way that supports these goals. 

Encouraging Parent Leadership

UPLAN was founded by parents and invests in creating parent leaders who are dedicated to advocating for positive change for children and their families. 

“What drew me to UPLAN is the fact that it is a parent-led network,” said Phelan.  “There are a lot of organizations and networks that claim to be parent-led but UPLAN is unique in the fact that it was started by parents.” 

Parent leadership strengthens families and promotes children to be successful. Making sure that one’s own values are being represented creates positive change in the systems that serve and support children and families.

PCA is dedicated to parent leadership in Albuquerque and across the state of New Mexico by organizing events like vaccine clinics, voter registration and other parent leadership opportunities with partners like UPLAN and Abriendo Puertas/Opening Doors. Through our programming, we encourage parents to organize and raise their voices for change. 

Parents in Action

Putting parents at the center of discussing issues and solutions positively affects children and families. 

It makes a difference when parents are part of the creation, implementation, and evaluation of public policies and programs. UPLAN wants to share what they know works on parent leadership and organizing and help others understand issues from a parent’s perspective.

PCA and UPLAN align in believing that parents should always have a seat at the table whenever decisions are made that impact their children. We believe that people know their community best and want to support families to take ownership of the solutions and lead the way. Connecting with organizations like UPLAN only makes us stronger. Together, we can make lasting change. 

UPLAN works with organizations like PCA to encourage a space for parents to connect and uplift each other’s voices concerning their children. Active parent-led committees build a system for parents to support each other while pushing for change in policies. The next administration, policymakers, and political officials need to listen to the voice of those most affected as they make critical decisions about families.

“PCA has been an intricate part of UPLAN,” says Phelan. “I am excited to continue to support the bilingual participation of New Mexico parents.”  

Find out more at https://unitedparentleaders.org/