Outreach has been a hallmark of Mount Vernon District Supervisor Gerald Hyland's 16-plus years in public office. Now it stretches across the nation.
He was recently appointed to serve on the National Association of Counties newly constituted Family Economic Success Advisory Committee. It is structured to continue the work of NACo's Early Childhood Development Task Force by promoting county activities for young children and their families.
Funded by a $300,000 grant from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the committee's mission is to work on strategies to support working parents by promoting job retention and advancement as well as providing information on the Earned Income Tax Credit, according to NACo.
"Supervisor Hyland has been a tireless advocate for working families and their children," NACo president Karen M. Miller said. "His continued work on this issue will be of great help to both families and county officials across the country."
A past president of the Virginia Association of Counties, Hyland acknowledged, "I was very happy to receive the appointment. We've been involved around the nation for the past 18 months helping children at an early age. We know anything we do is going to have a very positive effect."
THE GRANT began in July 2003, according to Gary Gortenburg, project director, Community Services Division, NACo. "We are really trying to shine a light on counties that are doing things in early childhood development. We will be promoting their efforts at all our meetings and in our publications," he explained.
"We are detecting a lot of interest in this project. But a lot of counties are struggling due to budgetary constraints. The Casey Foundation has been very active in funding activities in childhood development and promoting family strength," Gortenburg said.
Hyland, as one of 14 members on the Task Force, is in his fifth term on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. He has served on various regional, state and national boards and committees dealing with a myriad issues. He recently gave up his position as Vice Chairman of the County BOS to become their representative on the Inova Health System Board.
Created in 1935, NACo is a full service organization providing legislative, research, technical, and public affairs assistance to 3,066 county governments nationwide. It's membership encompasses 80 percent of the population.