New Legislative Report Card Grades Lawmakers on How Well They Protect Children

January 22, 2020 | National

Today, the Children’s Defense Fund Action Council released its nonpartisan Legislative Report Card which takes a comprehensive look at the legislative work each Member of Congress did for children in the first session of the 116th Congress.

This is the first scored analysis of legislators CDF has produced in nearly a decade. Until 2011, CDF produced scorecards based on votes alone, but in recent years with fewer votes to score, it became increasingly difficult to create meaningful analysis.

Our new Report Card draws on political science research and offers an innovative measure of legislative action. In our new model, Members of Congress get credit for sponsoring, cosponsoring or voting for legislation that improves the odds for America’s children. Conversely, support of legislation that would work against the interests of children counts against Members. And to reflect the hard work of moving a bill through Congress, the value of supporting a particular bill rises as that bill progresses toward becoming a law. Additional credit is given when members work across party lines for the benefit of children.

This Report Card accounts for legislation across a range of issues impacting children; as of the end of the 2019 session of the 116th Congress, the Report Card incorporates more than 500 bills that impact child poverty, child health, education, early childhood development and care, immigration, gun violence, housing, youth justice and child welfare. The Report Card will be updated quarterly to reflect the ongoing work of Congress.

For more details on the results of the Report Card and our methodology, we encourage you to visit