In Defense of Children

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Viewpoints and analysis from the CDF Policy team on issues impacting children. CDF’s policy advocacy focuses on the whole child because children don’t come in pieces. We seek to end child poverty and give every child a healthy start, a quality early childhood experience, a level education playing field, safe families and communities free from violence—with special attention to children involved in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.







2022-04-05T13:27:49-05:00

Reflecting on the 26th Amendment After 50 Years

Rooted in our history in the civil rights movement, CDF will continue to fight to ensure that fifty years from now, we can celebrate a 2021 civic redemption, built and led by young leaders who are standing up to finally fulfill the promise of the 26th Amendment.

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2021-06-08T11:31:50-05:00

What President Biden’s Fiscal Year 2022 Budget Means for Our Nation’s Children and Families

President Biden recently released his Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 Budget request to Congress to strengthen the economy, address longstanding racial disparities, and ensure a more equitable future for our children. After a year marked by such dramatic change and drastic negative impact on children’s lives, we need meaningful investments in supports for children and families. President Biden’s FY22 budget request starts to do just that.

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2021-04-30T11:25:31-05:00

What the American Families Plan Means for our Nation’s Children

On the eve of his 100th day in office, President Biden released the American Families Plan, outlining a bold proposal with $1.8 trillion in historic investments in our nation’s children and families including expanded tax credits, investments in child care, universal preschool, two years of tuition-free community college, a national paid leave program, and more.

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2021-04-08T13:25:27-05:00

The American Jobs Plan Will Help Ensure a Strong Economy and Future for Our Children

The American Jobs Plan is the first of a two-part effort to invest in our children’s future and build towards a stronger and more equitable economy—with provisions to address long-standing racial disparities and funding designated specifically for underserved Black communities and other communities of color. Congress must now build on President Biden’s proposal and invest in our nation’s most precious resource—our children— ensuring we do not return to a fragile and inequitable status quo.

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2021-03-11T11:34:39-05:00

What the American Rescue Plan Act Means for Children and Families

Today, Congress took the final step to pass the American Rescue Plan Act, which President Biden is expected to subsequently sign into law. The $1.9 trillion relief package, for which President Biden’s proposal served as the foundation, marks a bold step forward in the fight for our children’s future. The American Rescue Plan Act will provide immediate relief for children and families, work to address the racial and economic injustices that COVID-19 has exacerbated, and take a long overdue step to address our nation’s shameful child poverty crisis, cutting child poverty in half in 2021.

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2020-12-23T17:41:25-05:00

2020: CDF’s Year in Review

The Children’s Defense Fund spent much of 2020 pushing Congress to take action to protect children and families from the harmful impacts of our country’s health, economic, and racial disparities while continuing to defend against harmful regulatory and administrative policies set forth by the Trump administration.  Our commitment to children and policies that protect them has never wavered, and we know we have many fights ahead to keep children and families safe in the new year. But as we reach the end of an unprecedented year, we are taking a moment to celebrate some important wins for children and families in 2020. 

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2020-12-21T17:52:20-05:00

After Nine Months of Neglecting the Needs of Children and Families, Congress Will Finally Vote on a COVID Relief Bill

After nine months of failing to pass a COVID relief bill and neglecting the needs of millions of children and families suffering the unprecedented public health, racial justice, and economic and unemployment crisis brought on by this pandemic, Congress will finally vote on a long overdue bipartisan relief bill. While this package was a step in the right direction under a strict timeline ahead of the holidays, it does not include many additional provisions that are needed to fully meet the needs of all our nation’s children and families, especially the most vulnerable.

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2020-11-13T15:58:05-05:00

The Work That Remains

On behalf of the Children’s Defense Fund, I’m asking you to recommit yourself to the important work of eradicating the evils of poverty and racism and pushing for a just future for all children. This work is not easy, it can be uncomfortable, and it can be messy. But as fully engaged participants in this democracy, we must do the work.

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2020-10-13T12:07:20-05:00

The Children’s Protection Act Will Bring Children’s Health and Wellbeing to the Forefront of Rule-Making

While proposed regulations often have a significant impact on children, that impact is rarely made explicit as part of the formal regulatory process. Currently, federal agencies are not required to analyze or share how regulatory changes could impact or harm children. To address this issue, House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney and Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley introduced the Children’s Protection Act to better ensure our regulatory process prioritizes the health and wellbeing of our children.

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2020-09-30T13:42:12-05:00

What the Latest COVID Relief Bill Means for Children

This week, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi introduced a new version of the HEROES Act. Despite the smaller price tag, this bill maintains many of the key priorities for children and families included in the May bill passed by the House, while also taking steps to address at least two critical pieces for children and families that to date, have been largely left out of Congress’ earlier efforts to ensure relief: significant funding for the child care sector and critical investments to help support children, youth, and families across the child welfare continuum. While this new bill may still fall short of all of the things we know children and families need to weather this health and economic crisis, it’s imperative that Congress take this crucial next step to ensure long overdue relief now. 

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2020-09-29T16:44:16-05:00

Nation’s Thirst for Pandemic Relief No Match for McConnell’s Hunger for Power

200,000 Americans dead from COVID-19 and millions more marching for racial justice did not move Mitch McConnell to act, but one death on the Supreme Court propelled him into action. Just hours after Justice Ginsburg died, Majority Leader McConnell was rallying his troops in preparation for one of the quickest and most controversial Supreme Court confirmations ever.

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2021-01-27T17:25:57-05:00

Breonna Taylor and the Invisibility of Black Women and Girls in America

We’re in both an unusual and special time as a country. Unusual in that, in the midst of an intensified election year, where so many legislative decisions can negatively impact the livelihoods of the most vulnerable children and families, and the countless protests against racial injustice and police brutality happening all over the country, we are also searching for a level of normalcy from the effects of the pandemic in our everyday lives. This time is also special and calls for urgency in the continued push, pull and pressure to ensure long-lasting radical change for society as whole, but more importantly for America’s most oppressed and marginalized groups of people.  

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2020-09-25T10:21:57-05:00

Introducing our 2020 Voter Guides

To help make voting more accessible, CDF has released its 2020 voter guides. Our guides explain why voting matters at every level of government (the presidential election is not the only election on the ballot!), highlight the children’s issues that are at stake in this election, and help you make a plan to vote smartly and safely, especially within the context of COVID-19.

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2020-09-23T11:53:11-05:00

What the Supreme Court Means for Children

The Supreme Court will continue to be one of the most powerful forces shaping the lives of children and the world we are leaving for them. In a time of growing polarization, we continue to see more cases decided on close margins, giving a single Justice the power to profoundly impact the health, safety, and well-being of millions of children for generations to come. Confirming a new Justice is one of the most consequential actions that a Senator can take and as with any vote they take, CDF believes it is  imperative they do so with the interests of children in mind.

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2020-08-28T14:21:35-05:00

Jacob Blake and the Violence Against Children

We will continue to demand accountability and systemic change on behalf of Black children and families across this country. We urge elected officials at all levels of government to enact policy that pushes further and to seek radical change to dismantle the systems that create tragedies like these.

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2020-08-12T14:03:03-05:00

The Counseling Not Criminalization in Schools Act Will Encourage Important Shifts Away from Police Officers in Schools

Every child deserves access to high-quality and equitable educational opportunities without fear of discrimination or criminalization. In July, Senators Murphy and Warren and Representatives Pressley and Omar introduced the Counseling Not Criminalization in Schools Act (S. 4360/H.R. 7848), which takes a critical first step toward this equity by re-prioritizing support for students rather than criminalization and over-policing of schools.

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2020-07-31T12:38:11-05:00

The Senate’s Proposal, the HEALS Act, Falls Far Short of Meeting the Needs of Children and Families in Crisis

The Senate returned to work last week promising to unveil additional COVID-19 relief legislation that their Republican leadership said would focus on “making sure we take care of our kids” in the face of the unprecedented national economic and public health crisis. This week, they finally introduced their idea of relief—The HEALS Act—and it falls far short of the meeting the needs of children and families in this country.

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2020-07-22T15:51:24-05:00

The Senate Promised to Focus on Kids in the Next COVID-19 Relief Package. Here’s What They Should Do

The Senate returned to work in Washington this week promising to act on additional COVID-19 relief legislation that their Republican leadership says will be focused on “bringing back jobs and making sure we take care of our kids.” But for more than two months, as children and families suffered, with Black families and other families of color disproportionately losing their lives and livelihoods to this crisis, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) “hit pause” on additional relief legislation and refused to take up the HEROES Act passed by the House of Representatives in mid-May, which builds on the groundwork laid by previous coronavirus relief packages to ease the damaging health and economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the Senate considers additional relief legislation this week, they must prioritize the needs of children and families

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2020-04-16T10:17:48-05:00

Please stay calm, stay safe, and stay strong. We will get through this together.

The Children’s Defense Fund’s commitment to protecting all children and families is more important now than ever. We are quickly adapting to meet the challenges of the COVID-19 public health emergency with urgency and impact.

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2020-03-03T10:25:05-05:00

Thinking of Our Children During the State of the Union Address

Tonight President Trump will address the nation as he delivers his State of the Union remarks. Reports suggest he will present a “relentless optimism,” but our newly-released annual report—State of American’s Children 2020—offers a dramatically different picture: the current state of our children is unacceptable and must be urgently addressed.

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2020-03-03T11:03:48-05:00

We Should Be Investing in Education, not Incarceration

Earlier this school year, 6-year-old Kaia was handcuffed, arrested, and taken to a juvenile detention center where she was charged with battery for having a tantrum in her first grade class. How Kaia was treated is appalling, and yet the criminalization of our children is all too common: A child is arrested every 39 seconds in America and about 76,000 children are placed in the adult criminal justice system annually.

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