The Empowerment Project is a policy initiative focused on empowering women and promoting strong Mississippi families. Through The Empowerment Project, we hope to help families of all stages and phases by providing women with the opportunities and resources to upskill, educate, and grow.
As a starting point, we are proposing an agenda in Mississippi that promotes workplace flexibility, makes quality childcare affordable and accessible, reforms broken foster care and adoption systems, enhances child support enforcement, and supports mothers and their families.
This is a partnership. And these principles don't have to apply only to Mississippi families. The Empowerment Project agenda can work for families all across the country. We need everyone to step up and do their part to make this agenda a reality- lawmakers, nonprofits, businesses, and YOU.
A lack of access to affordable, quality childcare keeps parents from meaningful career advancement, creates a barrier to steady employment, and leads to productivity losses for businesses. Partnering with the business community, we can unlock our nation's workforce potential by incentivizing employers to provide childcare options for their employees.
Along with accessible and affordable childcare, workplace flexibility consistently ranks as a top need for working parents - especially working mothers. When parents have more flexibility to meet their professional obligations and family needs, not only are their families healthier but employers benefit greatly from increased productivity.
The adoption process can be a long and emotional journey both for the child and for the family offering a home and love to a child in need. We can do more to support foster and adoptive parents, streamline the adoption process, and connect children with families where they can thrive.
Regular child support payments can be the difference between steady meals and going hungry for many families. For too long, the custodial parents - four out of five of whom are women - have borne the financial burden of child-rearing alone. We must find ways to better enforce child support payments. Sometimes a non-custodial parent’s failure to pay is not always the result of unwillingness, but instead, an inability to pay for a variety of reasons. Our goal is to help those parents, resulting in more engaged fathers, which ultimately means a healthier environment for a child.
States, nonprofits and churches provide many resources to pregnant women and new mothers. But many women are either unaware or unable to navigate all these resources. We need a centralized, easy-to-use, one-stop shop that connects those in need with the resources available.
This is my agenda for Mississippi, but these are ideas that can help families thrive in all states. Click HERE to join The Empowerment Project.