Your legislators have agreed to come take a look at your center. Now what do you do with them?
First, be sure you know how much time they plan on spending with you, so you can make appropriate plans.
Invite your partners to be a part of the visit: your school principal, your advisory council (adult and youth), school teacher or counselor, or coach – anyone you feel is a strong advocate for your center.
Consider having a youth or two speak about the impact the center has made on their life, and how it would impact them if it wasn’t there.
On anyone speaking, review with them in advance what they are saying to be sure it is correct. Do not leave this to chance. Be sure you all stay on message.
Emphasize the integrated services you provide: mental health and primary care.
Give a tour of your center, including the hearing and testing area, lab, restroom, waiting area. If you have artwork done by youth or children, show it off!
Explain why you’re different from a regular doctors office. You specialize in:
- Knowing the trending issues youth/children face now
- Assessing their needs through formal assessment process
- Ability to link immediately to either mental health or primary care, in the same location
- Your center is required to be youth/child friendly: see the difference, including (at times) the way your staff dresses
- Parent/Guardian Consent is required
- Your visits are different – they are conversation filled, take longer
- The center is accessible by youth, who learn how to advocate and communicate their healthcare needs.
Have a parent/guardian explain why it’s important to them, that the center exists, and how it helps the child/family.
Explain your struggles – maybe you need more space, or an ability to hire a health educator. Explain your funding streams, but if you are unsure, do not try to go there.
Do not “punt” on your responses to their questions. If you do not know, say so, and ask if you can call or e-mail a response. This is a good opportunity to follow up with them anyway, and see if they have any questions.
Call in about a week to thank them for coming, see if they have questions, or send a note.
If you need a legislative folder sent to you from SCHA-MI, which has program information and data in it, let us know! We’ll send it to you. Please let us know as well, if you’ve had a visit – we like to keep track, and know how it goes. Contact Robin Turner: firstname.lastname@example.org, or call mobile: 517.243.4531.