FOCAL is a statewide membership organization, representing 300 community-based licensed child care providers (family home, group home, and center), parents, community leaders, and other child advocates throughout Alabama. Our membership is 75% African-American; 25% white, Latina, and Asian; 95% female. Our constituents are majority low-wealth and rural. In our advocacy work we reach directly approximately 1,000 people.
FOCAL’s foundational program is child care, with the goals of improving, supporting, and promoting accessible licensed child care in homes and centers throughout the state. Activities include regional and statewide workshops and local community meetings, to educate both child care providers and parents about child care funding and policy, and organize them to be effective advocates for quality and accessible child care.
FOCAL was born out of the Civil Rights Movement, in a region characterized by racial strife and internalized messages of inferiority and powerlessness. Examining how these unconscious messages are being lived out in parenting and communities influenced FOCAL’s creation of a unique approach to organizing. FOCAL’s organizing model is rooted in a democratic belief in the ability of people and communities to act on their own behalf with the best that is within them: to envision better futures, identify external and internal barriers to success, develop plans, and work collectively as their own best advocates to achieve their goals.