advocating for change

At Arbor Circle, we recognize the many systemic inequities and challenges faced by our neighbors throughout the West Michigan community. Challenges such as barriers to seeking mental health services, disproportionate incarceration of Black and African American individuals, rates of youth homelessness among BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ individuals, and the lack of affordable quality childcare for parents and caregivers of young children.

Learn more about these important issues by referencing the advocacy points shared below.

Medicaid rate for outpatient services

The Medicaid rate for Outpatient Counseling/Therapy services does not cover the cost of the service – as a result, providers often have to limit the number of clients with Medicaid to make sure they are able to cover their costs. This significantly impacts low income individuals and families, specifically communities of color. This is a state level issue.

90% of Arbor Circle clients are 200% of the Federal Poverty Line (FPL) or less.

of Arbor Circle clients are 200% of the Federal Poverty Line or less

community response to substance use

Our community’s response to substance use and the need for mental health services should not always be to incarcerate the individual. While appropriate in some cases, incarcerating individuals often causes more damage than the original offense, rippling through the individual’s family and beyond while increasing rates of recidivism (% of offenders who return to prison within three years of release). This is a county level issue.

According to Michigan Department of Corrections – In Michigan, the rate of recidivism is 26.6% – meaning more than a quarter of individuals released return within three years.

According to Vera Institute of Justice – In Michigan, Black people constituted 15% of state residents, but 37% of people in jail and 53% of people in prison.

of individuals released from prison in Michigan return within three years

support for youth homelessness

Funding support for programming that specifically addresses the needs of youth experiencing homelessness has not kept pace with the expanded needs of youth being served. As the needs of our community’s youth continue to grow, the lack of flexible and appropriate funds for the staffing, facilities, and other services provided by programs like The Bridge of Arbor Circle means that the needs of many youth experiencing homelessness go unmet. This is a state level issue.

According to the Michigan League for Public Policy – Youth who identify as LGBTQ are disproportionately represented in the homeless population, making up 5-10% of the overall youth population but 40% of the clientele served by homeless youth service agencies.

of youth served by homeless youth service agencies identify as LGBTQ

scarcity of childcare providers

There is a significant shortfall in the number of licensed childcare providers across the state of Michigan – this shortage, exacerbated by low wages and stressful conditions for providers, results in serious challenges for working caregivers seeking care. This is a state and county level issue.

According to the Michigan’s Child Care Market Rates, April 2021 – 75% of Michigan’s children live in areas with limited access to licensed child care (3 or fewer children per slot).

of Michigan’s children live in areas with limited access to licensed childcare

Ready to get involved?

If you’re interested in learning more or getting involved in advocacy with Arbor Circle, contact us.

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