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The Power of Working with Community Organizations

The Illinois FamilyCare Campaign—Effective Results Through Collaboration

By John Bouman

In 2002 the Illinois legislature passed FamilyCare, a program that offers health insurance coverage to tens of thousands of working parents in low-income families, many of whom recently left public assistance. The campaign for FamilyCare was led by an unusual and symbiotic alliance between the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty law and United Power for Action and Justice, a Chicago-area community organization. The allies brought different but complementary world views and skills that proved to be an effective combination offering lessons for future collaboration of lawyers and policy advocates with community organizers.

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