Child Research Data & Publications
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"Held Captive": Child Poverty in America, a new report commissioned and published by the Children's Defense Fund, found that the plight for poor children in Mississippi is so dire, enriching experiences so meager and government aid so inadequate and spotty that after school tutoring and reading programs in Quitman County and two other Delta counties are funded by foreign aid, a grant from the Bernard van Leer Foundation of the Netherlands.
The average American family spends hundreds of dollars on gifts during this season. It's wonderful to share special times and gifts with friends and family, but for many adults this holy season has been commercialized and become defined by shopping for the "in" toys, clothes, and other material gifts we think our children want. And while it's fine to give children these things when we can, we should never forget to give them the more important gifts of ourselves—our time, attention, and family rituals—that children need.
A few months ago a group of earnest and determined stockholders traveled together by bus from Washington, D.C. to Nashville, Tennessee to attend a shareholders' meeting. On the surface, it sounded like a fairly ordinary trip, but this was an unusual group on an extraordinary mission.
How does a child endure unspeakable hardship and still manage to succeed? What does it mean to save rather than give up on a child? When you read the stories of the Children's Defense Fund (CDF)'s Beat the Odds® award recipients, you'll find the answers. Too often we hear about teens getting into trouble, dropping out of school, getting involved with drugs, crime, and gangs, or becoming parents too soon.
In this Thanksgiving week of 2010, when 15.5 million children are living in poverty – many hungry and homeless; when the gap between rich and poor is the highest ever; when the very richest Americans have reaped a huge tax windfall from the Bush tax cuts and some political leaders want to give them more; and when, incredibly, some political leaders are playing politics with the very survival of our children and earth in our nuclear saturated world by blocking immediate passage of the START treaty to control nuclear weapons, I hope we will pray for an end to child poverty in all of its forms.
"It's dinner time in America. But for 1 in 4 children, you'd never know it." The ad with the simple image of an empty plate is meant to catch your eye—especially if you came across it in the November issue of a favorite magazine, tucked among the tips for a traditional Thanksgiving feast.
On November 18, 2010, CDF President Marian Wright Edelman testified before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Children and Families of the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. The hearing entitled, "The State of the American Child: Securing Our Children's Future", brought together a distinguished panel of witnesses to testify on the dire state of our children during these difficult economic times and how citizens and lawmakers must act now to secure our children's future and our nation's future. Others on the panel included, Helen Blank, Director of Leadership and Public Policy for the National Women's Law Center, Dr. Michael Casserly, Executive Director of the Council on Great City Schools, Peter Edelman , Professor of Law, Georgetown Law Center and Faculty Co-Director, Georgetown Center on Poverty, Inequality, and Public Policy, Jennifer Garner, Artist Ambassador, Save the Children and Dr. David Satcher, Director, The Satcher Health Leadership Institute and Center of Excellence on Health Disparities, Morehouse School of Medicine.
Recent reports state that more Americans are now living in poverty in the suburbs than in cities—a trend that has increased dramatically during the recession. At the same time, there has been an increase in the number of families who once donated to food pantries or other organizations serving the poor who now need to turn to these same places for help themselves.
The problem of bullying in our nation's schools has been in the headlines again, in large part because of a heartbreaking series of recent tragedies: children and youths who took their lives after they were bullied or harassed because their peers believed they were gay. We need to immediately send a clear message to all our children that bullying and harassment for this or any other reason is simply not acceptable.
Many faith communities around the country have just held their annual National Observance of Children's Sabbaths® celebrations, an event coordinated every October by the Children's Defense Fund. It encourages congregations of all faiths to consider how they can respond to the Divine mandate to nurture, protect, and ensure justice for all children.