The Roca, Inc. High-Risk Young Mothers Program is honored to be a recipient of the Center for the Study of Social Policy’s inaugural Accelerating Change Award. The award recognizes programs and initiatives that have demonstrated a commitment to reach diverse populations of young women and girls of color and create opportunities for their well being and success.
Young women and girls of color—especially those involved in or at risk of involvement in public systems like child welfare and juvenile justice—face a unique and alarming trajectory that puts them at risk of poor outcomes in life. To spotlight organizations, programs and practices that interrupt that trajectory, the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) is recognizing initiatives such as Roca’s High-Risk Young Mother’s Program for our compelling and creative interventions to make a difference in young women and girls’ everyday lives. Roca and four other organizations were selected after a nationwide competition.
“Roca exists to disrupt the cycle of poverty and disconnection that ensnares young people,” said Rosie Muñoz-López, director of Roca’s High-Risk Young Mothers Program. “We’re proud of the work we’ve done to support our young women to become good parents and attain self-sufficiency, and because of this award, we’ll have the opportunity to begin sharing the lessons we’ve learned with others who want to make a difference on behalf of young women and girls of color at a national level.”
Along with national recognition, a small honorarium to support our work and an opportunity to join a network of similar high-performing initiatives, members of Roca’s High-Risk Young Mother’s Program will attend United State of Women Summit hosted by the White House next month. The United State of Women Summit will rally women and girls across the nation and abroad to discuss key gender equality issues, such as economic empowerment, educational opportunity, health and wellness, violence against women, entrepreneurship and innovation and leadership and civic engagement.
“Organizations like Roca are changing the narrative about young women and girls of color,” said Tashira Halyard, CSSP senior associate and lead for the Alliance for Racial Equity in Child Welfare. “Too many of our girls and young women of color are placed on a path toward negative outcomes after experiences with public systems that are meant to protect them and support them. Rather than perpetuating what is often an ‘abuse-to-prison pipeline,’ these organizations are lifting up and supporting our young women and girls of color as crucial to our nation’s future.”