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User Spotlight: Julia Henderson, The Cami Campaign

Get to know Julia Henderson with The Cami Campaign – this week’s ConnectVA User Spotlight!

Tell us about yourself.

My name is Julia Henderson and I am the co-founder of the state-wide organization, The Cami Campaign.  The Cami Campaign was founded after the death of my niece Camden in an unlicensed, in-home child care facility in 2012. The Cami Campaign honors Camden?s legacy by advocating for laws that increase child care safety standards in Virginia and empowering parents and providers with information on how to choose and create safe child care.

What is the focus of your work and the need you are addressing?

We believe that all families should have access to safe, affordable child care.  1 in 6 children in Virginia are in an unlicensed, in-home daycare setting.  We work to better regulate in-home child care and to empower caregivers with information and the confidence to make safe child care choices for their children.

In 2014 we were able to continue to share Camden?s story and our push for reform on the local and national stage.  We sat on the Virginia HB 412 task force that created a plan for access to finger print background checks for all parents,  we introduced Gov. McAuliffe before he signed Virginia HB412, we stood in the Oval Office with President Obama as he re-authorized the Child Care Development Block Grant for the first time in 18 years, we spoke with dozens of families and organizations about safe sleeping practices and leading practices for child care safety, we empowered thousands of people with our downloadable child care interview tips and we?ve talked with hundreds of other passionate and concerned community members on our social media pages.

What do you find most rewarding about your work?

Our work is changing laws, making child care more accessible for families and saving children?s? lives.  The biggest wins are our legislative successes and the conversations we spark.  Every time I have a conversation with someone about Camden?s story and share our resources I can see the ripple effect as the knowledge continues to spread and Camden?s life and death are honored.

What?s coming next for your organization that really excites you?

The 2015 Virginia legislative session will be another big one for The Cami Campaign and all Virginia families.  Camden?s Law, which will require fingerprint background checks for licensed child care providers will be up for vote and we are championing a new bill to lower the current child care licensing threshold down from 1 adult to 6 children.  We need all the voices we can get so we hope people will join us on our Facebook site and follow the bill progress.  https://www.facebook.com/CamiCampaignVA

How are you leveraging ConnectVA to achieve your mission? 

We use ConnectVA to connect with similar organizations, to connect the tri-cities community to our cause and to access resources. The message boards and feedback from other users are incredibly helpful to us, especially since we?re a grassroots start-up with very limited resources!

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