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The Children's Defense Fund is an organization deeply committed to our Leave No Child Behind mission and to ensure that every child has a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life and successful passage into adulthood with caring families and communities. For 40 years, CDF has combined advocacy, public education, policy development, leadership training and other efforts to protect children and encourage preventive investment in children before they get sick, drop out of school, suffer family breakdown, or get into trouble.
CDF’s Policy group seeks interns to work on the issues described below. Interns might work on a single issue or on multiple issues depending on need and interest:
The Child Health staff works to ensure that every child has a Healthy Start in life. Their primary policy goal is to ensure all children have access to affordable, comprehensive health coverage that is easy to get and to keep. Work includes policy analysis, legislative and administrative advocacy, research and coalition building around implementation of the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), the federal budget, and other elements of maternal and child health policy.
The Child Welfare and Mental Health staff works to improve outcomes for children and youth by promoting public policies, practices and programs that will keep children safe and in permanent nurturing families and communities. Particular attention is given to those policies and programs that serve or advocate for children who have been abused or neglected, or are at risk of abuse and neglect; are in families challenged by substance abuse, mental health problems and domestic violence; are being raised by grandparents or other relatives; have serious emotional problems and need mental health services, and/or are at risk of coming to the attention of the child welfare system. CDF uses a range of advocacy strategies to address these concerns.
CDF fully supports the need for consistent, quality education beginning in a child’s earliest years. CDF's early childhood staff works to promote high quality early childhood experiences for ALL children. One of the main areas of work is spearheading the national campaign to focus public attention on ensuring all children have access to free full-day kindergarten. CDF works with other early childhood advocates and professionals to promote additional funding for programs serving low income children birth through five years of age.
CDF is committed to dismantling the Cradle to Prison pipeline by addressing the education needs of our most vulnerable children: children living and attending school in areas of concentrated poverty; children in danger of dropping out of school or who have already dropped out of school; children who have been suspended or expelled and/or arrested, children in foster care, and children in the juvenile justice system.
CDF places providing pertinent research on the needs of all children, especially the most vulnerable children as a high priority. The research staff supports the organization’s policy efforts by analyzing data and preparing reports and fact sheets on CDF’s areas of focus.