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#FamilyFirstPA Campaign Urges Legislators to Place Priority on Human Services

Jun 20, 2017 • by #FamilyFirstPA Campaign
#FamilyFirstPA Campaign

Pittsburgh, Pa. – For the last several months, the #FamilyFirstPA Campaign has gathered and shared stories from Pennsylvania families who utilize critical human services and work hard to support each other. The #FamilyFirstPA Campaign aims to urge legislators to keep human services and funding that covers critical needs of Pennsylvanians at the forefront during upcoming state budget considerations.“Our state is home to some incredible families working hard every day to support one another,” said Bob Nelkin, president and CEO, United Way of Southwestern PA. “Human services, whether caring for an elderly parent or a child with a disability, make it possible for these families to stay afloat, enabling many workers to maintain employment. We hope our state legislators will see the stories we have collected and understand the great need local families have for these services.”The #FamilyFirstPA Campaign has collected more than 30 stories from families across the state. The stories, accompanied by a compelling family portrait, have been shared across social media channels and at More than 40 statewide organizations, agencies and groups, have joined the #FamilyFirstPA Campaign coalition to help seek out families and share their stories. Human services help keep employees and their families on track and healthy. A study from the AARP Public Policy Institute shows that one in six working families is struggling to care for an elderly or disabled family member. While, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, depression costs businesses $80 billion a year and is the leading cause of absenteeism. For employers, taking critical services away means absenteeism, low productivity and worker turnover.“Berks County Community Foundation joined the #FamilyFirstPA Campaign to stress the importance of human services across our state,” said Kevin K. Murphy, Community Foundation president. “The stories we have collected through this campaign have been so powerful. Families in our state are working hard for one another. The funding that supports human services allows so many families to meet basic needs and thrive.”Joshua Habecker, a 17-year-old student with complex disabilities in Berks County, relies on human services. His parents are both employed, but Joshua requires 24-hour care, and the family could not do it on their own.“DHS services have truly been an asset to our family,” Nicki Habecker, Joshua’s mom, said. “As much as our family would like to ‘do it on our own,’ the reality is we cannot. Joshua requires 24-hour supervision and total care. As we now are planning for his transition to adulthood, the supports and services we receive on behalf of Joshua continue to be of critical importance.”With budget discussions just around the corner, the #FamilyFirstPA Campaign will begin placing these stories in front of legislators. To read the stories and learn more about the campaign, please visit familyfirstpa.orgAbout #FamilyFirstPA – Powered by the Campaign for What Works, the #FamilyFirstPA Campaign is a group of community leaders, community foundations, United Ways, businesses, labor groups, civic organizations, non-profits and concerned citizens committed to the role families play in making Pennsylvania great, and preserving the Pennsylvania programs that families rely on to help them thrive. Learn more at The Campaign for What Works — The Campaign for What Works is a statewide civic effort initiated by The Pittsburgh Foundation, United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania, the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership and The Forbes Funds to ensure the future of our vital human service programs and, above all, the well-being of the people they serve.

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