Nonprofit hopes to fight for Delaware’s underprivileged children

DOVER — A group of community and business leaders recently formed a nonprofit that will advocate for underprivileged children.

The group, Action for Delaware’s Children, will focus its initial efforts on establishing quality home visitation programs for impoverished infants and toddlers, expanding the school day and school year for schools with high percentages of low-income students and improving reentry services for juveniles leaving the state’s correctional facilities.

The nonprofit’s first legislative priority this year will be to grow the state’s Nurse Family Partnership Program, which sends registered nurses to the homes of new mothers living in poverty during pregnancy and for two years after their children are born.

Nationally, per the group, the program has produced a large reduction in child abuse and neglect, as well as eventual juvenile arrests. It also helps kids learn.

Board member Liane Sorenson in a statement said the nonprofit hopes to double the state’s competitive grant program for outside school-time programs and direct most of those funds to schools with large populations of students living in poverty.

“We believe that Delawareans understand the importance of a supportive, safe environment for kids outside the regular school day,” Ms. Sorenson, a former state senator, said. “They strive to provide it for their own kids, and they want all kids to have it. We will be working to build grass roots support for an expansion of Delaware’s competitive outside school-time grants, and a refocusing of those grants on students in low income schools.”

Members also plan to promote added cognitive behavioral therapy and vocational training programs for children being released from state correctional centers, believing they make a difference in reducing recidivism.

“Our focus will be on building and strengthening Delaware’s village,” board president Terri L. Hodges said in a statement.

Among Action for Delaware’s Children’s other board members is former Attorney General Matt Denn, who emphasized initiatives to help youth during his time in office.

More information is available at is www.actionfordelawareschildren.org.