Child Watch® Columns

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  • 05/22/17

    Child Watch® Column: "Summertime, When the Livin’ is Hard for Hungry Children"

    The 100 percent federally-funded Summer Food Service Program will once again this year be a food lifeline for millions of low-income hungry children during the long hot summer. Right now many community sponsors, including school districts, local government agencies, camps, and private nonprofit organizations are working through their state agencies to be ready to serve healthy meals to millions of children this summer.
  • 05/12/17

    Child Watch® Column:
    Saving Amazing Young Grace and Her Medicaid

    Glaros wrote that he and his wife chose to have this precious child they named Grace and “trusted our society – our government, Republicans and Democrats both – to ensure a safety net for her life after our choice was made.
  • 05/05/17

    Child Watch® Column:
    Flipping the Switch

    By Marian Wright Edelman What if boosting a toddler’s brainpower was as easy as turning on a light switch? In fact, “Flip the Switch” is one of the simple activities suggested by Vroom, an initiative that provides creative tools and materials to help families turn daily interactions with children into “brain building moments.”
  • 04/28/17

    Child Watch® Column:
    Banning "Lunch Shaming"

    Here’s a test with just one question: If a hungry child can’t afford to eat, should the adults in her school punish and humiliate her for not having lunch money? As disgraceful as this question is, adults in schools across the country fail this test every single day. New Mexico has just become the first state in the nation to ban “lunch shaming” — policies that penalize children who don’t have enough money to buy a hot lunch in the cafeteria. New Mexico’s new law, the “Hunger-Free Students’ Bill of Rights,” is a welcome move that has helped put a spotlight on a common form of cruel and unusual punishment against poor children.
  • 04/21/17

    Child Watch® Column:
    The 5th National GrandRally: Building a Community of Hope

    The Biles family has helped shine a spotlight on the importance of loving families. “Kinship care families” or “grandfamilies” as they are sometimes called are relatives raising their grandchildren or other kin when their parents cannot due to death, military service, or challenges like opioid or other substance abuse, mental health problems or domestic violence. Some children are removed from their parents’ care by the state and placed with relatives in foster care. In other cases, children are placed informally with relatives outside of formal foster care.
  • 04/11/17

    Child Watch® Column:
    The Continuing Scourge of Poverty, Hunger and Hopelessness in Rich America

    In March 1967 when I was working as a young civil rights lawyer for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund in Mississippi, I was asked to come to Washington to testify before the Senate Committee on Labor and Public Welfare’s Subcommittee on Employment, Manpower, and Poverty about how the War on Poverty was working in the state. I told the committee I had become deeply and increasingly concerned about the growing hunger in the Mississippi Delta.
  • 03/31/17

    Child Watch® Column:
    A Time to Break Silence

    Fifty years ago on April 4, 1967, our prophet Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave the historic speech “Beyond Vietnam: A Time to Break Silence” at New York City’s Riverside Church. It was his first major public antiwar speech and a powerful warning that a rise in racial hatred, militarism and violence could destroy America.
  • 03/17/17

    Child Watch® Column:
    A Time for Penance and Action to Help Our Immigrant Brothers and Sisters

    After the new administration’s first Black History Month event included a general reference to 19th century lion Frederick Douglass as “somebody who’s done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more,” Frederick Douglass’s descendants jumped in with their own clarification.
  • 03/10/17

    Child Watch® Column:
    Congress: Don’t Hurt Children

    The Children’s Defense Fund has made giving every child a healthy start a core part of our mission for all of our 44 years. We are extremely concerned that the American Health Care Act under consideration by Congress right now would undo more than 50 years of progress made expanding comprehensive child-appropriate health coverage to tens of millions of children.
  • 03/03/17

    Child Watch® Column:
    Pursuing Justice in America for Lent

    On March 1, Ash Wednesday began the holy season of Lent. Rooted in the ancient Jewish tradition, Christians celebrate Lent as a time for penance, fasting and reflection leading up to Easter. In Washington D.C. a new art installation opened on the lawn in front of the United Methodist Building (100 Maryland Avenue, N.E.) facing the U.S. Supreme Court. Created by gentle gifted artist, former death row prisoner and passionate advocate for justice Ndume Olatushani, this interactive exhibit is the first stop on the unique “Stations of the Cross” exhibition at 14 locations across our capital city ending at the National Cathedral.
  • 02/24/17

    Child Watch® Column:
    A Time for Courage and Truth

    After the new administration’s first Black History Month event included a general reference to 19th century lion Frederick Douglass as “somebody who’s done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more,” Frederick Douglass’s descendants jumped in with their own clarification.
  • 02/17/17

    Child Watch® Column:
    Honoring Dr. Dorothy Irene Height:
    Great Civil Rights, Women's Rights and Children's Rights Leader

    During the Civil Rights Movement, while so many women were playing vital roles that weren’t featured in the spotlight, Dorothy Height was always up front with a seat at the table. She was often the only woman in the room with Dr. King and the rest of the “Big Six” group of male leaders as they planned many key strategies of the Civil Rights Movement.
  • 02/16/17

    Child Watch® Column:
    Confronting Oscar-Nominated Moonlight’s Moving and Powerful Truths

    Everyone should watch the film Moonlight nominated for eight Academy Awards. Why? Because it’s a very powerful story of a poor Black boy’s struggles to reach adulthood with countless odds stacked against him. Because it’s a relatable story for children and youths struggling to make it to adulthood without being derailed by sexual orientation, violence and drugs. Because it’s my or your story if we faced perilous hurdles to survive, learn in school and have a safe place to sleep at night. Because it’s a too common American story – one not everyone wants to tell and too few want or are ready to hear and do anything about.
  • 02/10/17

    Child Watch® Column:
    Welcome to the Land of Opportunity

    At a time when the national conversation is focused on building walls and closing doors against immigrants, Carlos is an immigrant with another goal. He’s setting an example of what’s possible when hardworking smart young people come to America determined to beat the odds and make a difference.
  • 02/03/17

    Child Watch® Column:
    Ripping America Apart

    If you are reeling from the series of Executive Orders and Memoranda issued by President Trump in his first two weeks in office, and horrified by what clearly seems to be an unconstitutional, un-American and unjust ban on Muslims from seven countries that has caused outrage at home and abroad, keep reading.
  • 01/27/17

    Child Watch® Column:
    Leslie Dunbar: An Indispensable One

    A number of years ago, I heard a deeply moving story at a Children’s Miracle Network event, a charity that raises money in partnership with children’s hospitals around the country and helps serve sick and injured children in their local communities. A speaker shared this heart-wrenching story of a father and son with the audience and agreed to let me share it with others after I requested a copy.
  • 01/19/17

    Child Watch® Column:
    Scott's Story: Lessons Children Teach Adults

    A number of years ago, I heard a deeply moving story at a Children’s Miracle Network event, a charity that raises money in partnership with children’s hospitals around the country and helps serve sick and injured children in their local communities. A speaker shared this heart-wrenching story of a father and son with the audience and agreed to let me share it with others after I requested a copy.
  • 01/13/17

    Child Watch® Column:
    Moral Courage: Standing Up for What is Right

    On Wednesday, Senator Cory A. Booker (D-NJ) and Representative John Lewis (D-GA) joined the list of speakers testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee against the nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) for Attorney General of the United States. Both were assigned to a panel at the very end of the hearing process, a slot fellow panelist Representative Cedric L. Richmond (D-LA), the head of the Congressional Black Caucus, called “the equivalent of being made to go to the back of the bus.” Several Senate committee members who have already publically supported Senator Sessions left before Senator Booker’s and Representative Lewis’ important testimony began. But that didn’t deter them from speaking out against the threat they see to the civil rights progress our nation has made if Senator Sessions becomes Attorney General.
  • 01/06/17

    Child Watch® Column:
    Keep Your Hand on the Plow! HOLD ON!

    I begin each year with a women’s spiritual retreat at Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) Haley Farm in Tennessee. This year Reverend Janet Wolf, Director of CDF Haley Farm and Nonviolent Organizing, shared a meditation based on Langston Hughes’ brilliant 1943 poem “Freedom’s Plow” that she had been using in her ministry on Tennessee’s death row consisting of both incarcerated “insiders” and “outsiders.” All of us were caught up in the poem’s descriptions of centuries of American struggle against oppression and for America’s promised dream of freedom and justice for all.
  • 12/30/16

    Child Watch® Column:
    Prayers for the Work Ahead for Our Children

    As we look to a new year, here are a few prayers to help guide us for the work ahead.
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