By Anna Havrilla

It has definitely been a busy fall for our gang here at DCS! From Philadelphia to Erie and back to Pittsburgh, the DCS crew has been all across the state this third quarter. 

Senator Collett addresses the crowd.

Bucks County / Philadelphia – DCS staffers spent the evening just outside the City of Brotherly love as Senator Maria Collett (D-Bucks) and State Representative Wendi Thomas (R-Bucks) took the stage for the first stop of the Family Care Act’s statewide tour, joined by a slate of incredible panelists: Kathy Bennet, Director of Bucks County Area Agency on Aging, Kristen Farry, Director of Policy and Government Relations at Woods Services, Sue Maslow, Partner of Antheil Maslow & MacMinn, and Mahria Morris, Small Business Owner of Headstrong Hair Salon and Executive Director of Center for Independent Living of Bucks County. The panelists and legislators were welcomed to the BuxMont Unitarian Universalist Fellowship with open arms and friends from the area. Discussion of the Family Care Act focused on the benefits it would allow aging population across the state, with representatives of various aging agencies discussing what access to paid leave would mean for a family member caring for their parent or grandparent. Small business owners discussed the Family Care Act’s ability to help them compete for talented employees throughout the state.

The event ended with a call to action – following an audience member’s request for “What do we do next?” – a question we are always eager to answer: Spread. The. Word. 

Representative Thomas introduces the panel of local experts.

Erie – The Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home in Erie, PA hosted a full-house crowd on a chilly Tuesday morning to discuss the Family Care Act. Senator Dan Laughlin (R-Erie) was joined by expert panelists Matthew White, founder of Whitehorn Digital LLC, Jill Hrinda-Patten, executive director of Mission Empower, Heather McLaughlin, program manager at UPMC Home Healthcare and Family Hospice, and Ben Stahl, CEO of Veterans Leadership Program of Western Pennsylvania. Senator Laughlin and panelists focused on how the Family Care Act would affect small businesses and help retain talented employees, an issue especially important to Erie.

Senator Laughlin answers questions from the crowd.

Dormont – The final stop on the Family Care Act’s whirlwind tour of PA was right in our own backyard, hosted by State Representative Dan Miller (D-Allegheny), joined by a plethora of excellent panelists: Heather Arnet, Chief Executive Officer of Women and Girls Foundation, Josie Badger, Executive Director of J Badger Consulting, Megan Block, Consulting Attorney for the Women’s Law Project, Lissa Geiger Shulman, Director of Public Policy at Trying Together, and Heather Sedlacko, Director of Programs for Seniors and People with Disabilities at United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania. This event with Representative Miller was unique in its format, as the key focus of the discussion was on supporting working families, and how Southwestern Pennsylvania families could best be served and helped. For a main course of conversation, Representative Miller gave an overview of the challenges many working families face: pregnancy-related work issues, issues facing new and single parents, and caring for older family members.

Representative Miller encourages action during his closing statements to the crowd.