Issue Overview

Budget Watch

The Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) supports a federal budget that protects children and low-income families from budget cuts, invests in children to promote long-term economic growth for the nation, and ensures that the most advantaged Americans and corporations pay their fair share. Learn More (LINK TO ISSUE BRIEF)

Children’s Health

CDF works hard to build support for children’s health and has been instrumental in passing legislation to expand access to comprehensive and affordable health coverage for children, including the landmark health reform bill passed in 2010 that now provides access to health coverage for more than 95 percent of all children. Unfortunately, in most states eligibility for coverage does not automatically translate into enrollment in coverage. Getting eligible children enrolled remains a challenge and CDF will continue to work hard to ensure every child has the healthy start they need to survive and thrive in life. Learn More (LINK TO ISSUE BRIEF)

Child Welfare

CDF works to give every child a Safe Start in a permanent nurturing family and community. We work in collaboration with other national, state and local advocates and organizations to promote policies and promising systemic and programmatic approaches that strengthen and support children and families, prevent crises from occurring, and help ensure children safe, permanent families. Learn More (LINK TO ISSUE BRIEF)

Ending Child Poverty

More than 14.7 million children in America were poor in 2013, with the majority in working families. A disproportionate number are Black and Latino. Poor children lag behind their peers in many ways beyond income: They are less healthy, trail in emotional and intellectual development, and are less likely to graduate from high school. Our vision is to end child poverty. We must invest in high quality early childhood services and K-12 education for every child, livable wages for families, safety nets like nutrition and housing assistance, the Earned Income and Child Tax Credits, and work supports like child care and health coverage. Learn More (LINK TO ISSUE BRIEF)

Early Childhood Development and Learning

Investments in early childhood are vital to the success of our nation's youth. Extensive research has shown that early childhood programs significantly increase a child's chances of avoiding the prison pipeline. Despite these encouraging reports, thousands of children across the country are still waiting for the chance to participate in quality early childhood programs. CDF fully understands the need for consistent, quality education and care beginning at birth. Our nation simply can’t afford not to significantly increase investments in early childhood development and care, or to keep leaving so many poor babies and toddlers behind. Learn More (LINK TO ISSUE BRIEF)

Elementary & Secondary Education

For far too long, millions of children in America have been denied the opportunity to receive a high quality education.  Inequities in funding and resources place poor children in low-performing schools with inadequate facilities and often ineffective teachers. CDF's Education Policy Team is committed to improving outcomes for children in school and in life by working to transform American education and set it on the path towards equity and excellence for all children. Learn More (LINK TO ISSUE BRIEF)

Juvenile Justice

The Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) works to build awareness of the root causes of the Cradle to Prison Pipeline and trends that incarcerate our youth. CDF identifies effective youth violence prevention and intervention programs that help young people at every point of involvement in the system—ranging from efforts to divert youths from entering the system by creating more alternatives to imprisonment to supporting a youth’s transition back into the community after a period of confinement. CDF also advocates for the humane and rehabilitative treatment of all children in the juvenile justice system, and ultimately, for systemic reform at the local, state and federal levels to ensure children receive fair and appropriate treatment. Learn More (LINK TO ISSUE BRIEF)