From the very beginning, our work with the Campaign for What Works has focused on promoting good human services policy that works for Pennsylvania’s consumers, providers, and taxpayers.

And from the beginning, we and the Campaign have sought to make one thing clear: they’re called human services for a reason.  They serve real people, real families – real humans.

Over the last year, that basic idea led us – alongside the Campaign for What Works and its partners – to develop and launch the #FamilyFirstPA campaign.  The effort recognizes families from across the Commonwealth who work hard, who do their share, but who nevertheless rely on some level of human services to get by.  And it does it through striking photography, examples of which we feel compelled to share with you – and with our lawmakers.

The #FamilyFirstPA effort has led us to incredible people – incredible humans – like the Nolasco Latshaw family, who turned to Pennsylvania’s incredible Early Intervention program when their daughter Althea wasn’t walking by age one.  EI not only helped their daughter overcome her developmental delay, brought on by a host of medical challenges, but has also helped Althea grow into a happy little girl who now climbs every piece of playground equipment in sight.

And it’s led us to families like the Angelos.  As a child, Amy Angelo helped her mom in the Meals on Wheels program benefiting elderly neighbors, but she could not have imagined her eventual career track would be serving seniors, including her own parents.  After her mother’s death in 2012, Amy’s father Jackie, who has dementia, moved to her home. Now, as a member of the Senior LIFE Program, Jackie is cared for during the day while Amy goes to her job.  “The LIFE center makes him feel like he’s going to work and gives him purpose,” says Amy, and she can concentrate on her work. “Without it, he would be in a nursing home.”

You can find these stories and more by going to the #FamilyFirstPA website, and it has been our honor to help these incredible families tell them.  As we approach the passage of this year’s state budget, we want to make sure that our lawmakers hear them, too.

You can get involved with the Campaign here, and by sharing these stories on Facebook and Twitter.