Child Watch® Columns

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  • 03/16/12

    Child Watch® Column: "A Healthy Start: Protecting Great Gains for Children in the Affordable Care Act"

    Since our founding almost forty years ago, the Children’s Defense Fund has fought to ensure that all children in America receive the healthy start they need and deserve. Next week marks the second anniversary of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the federal health reform legislation, which has been a giant national step forward in reaching that goal.
  • 03/09/12

    Child Watch® Column: "The American Promise: The Right to Vote"

    Every American citizen must have an equal right to vote. There is no reason which can excuse the denial of that right. There is no duty which weighs more heavily on us than the duty we have to ensure that right . . . The command of the Constitution is plain. There is no moral issue. It is wrong—deadly wrong—to deny any of your fellow Americans the right to vote in this country. There is no issue of States rights or National rights. There is only the struggle for human rights.
  • 03/02/12

    Child Watch® Column: "Pursuing Justice for Children and the Poor Now"

    When a child is in mortal danger, we put out an Amber Alert to tell the whole community that we are in pursuit of the child and whoever is endangering her. It is a time of utmost urgency and everyone has to get involved, to be on the lookout, and do whatever is needed to help rescue the child in danger.
  • 02/24/12

    Child Watch® Column: "Medicaid: Help in Hard Times"

    February marks the third anniversary of the Child Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA), which has made significant improvements in health coverage for millions of children. About two-thirds of all uninsured children are eligible for Medicaid or CHIP but are not enrolled due largely to bureaucratic barriers. CHIPRA has addressed those barriers head on by including performance bonuses to encourage states to simplify their enrollment procedures and meet targets for enrolling the lowest income children.
  • 02/17/12

    Child Watch® Column: "Desperately Working To Stay Afloat"

    At one time, the Nations owned a home. But like so many other American families, their standard of living has declined over the past decade even though they are a two-parent working family.
  • 02/10/12

    Child Watch® Column: "Still Hungry in America"

    "There were some times where, you know, we wouldn't have that much food, and I would tell my mom, 'I'm not hungry, don't worry about it,' and I lost a lot of weight. I remember I used to be a size five, and I went from a size five to a size zero," a New York high school senior said in December.
  • 02/03/12

    Child Watch® Column: "'I Just Want a Job'"

    The January jobs report from the U.S. Department of Labor was good news for the 243,000 people who found jobs. And good news for the American economy as the unemployment rate fell to 8.3 percent, the lowest level in nearly three years. This is the 16th straight month of jobs growth, but the recovery can't come soon enough for the millions of long-term unemployed like Tiffany Hanebuth from Middletown, Ohio.
  • 01/27/12

    Child Watch® Column: "Rescuing the American Dream"

    For decades, the cornerstone of fulfilling the American dream has been getting a good education. But that cornerstone has crumbled for millions of America's children. The President said making sure students graduate from high school and are able to go to college must be a priority. He said, "Higher education can't be a luxury - it is an economic imperative that every family in America should be able to afford."
  • 01/20/12

    Child Watch?? Column: "Tough Immigration Laws: Tough on Children"

    Alabama has passed the toughest immigration enforcement law in the country. Now children born in the U.S.A., American citizens, are living in fear. Some children are afraid to go to school. According to Bill Lawrence, principal of Foley Elementary in Foley, Alabama, "Most of these kids are American citizens. American citizens attending American schools, afraid." He continued, "A child in fear can't learn." Children in his school were terrified Mom and Dad would not be home when they got home from school.
  • 01/19/12

    Child Watch® Column: "Derrick Bell - Changing the Odds for Others"

    Throughout his long, storied career as a lawyer, law professor, and legal scholar until his death last October at age 80, Derrick Bell was well known for his willingness to stand up and speak out about the injustices he saw around him even when it cost him his own positions. His activism within and outside the "ivory tower" of academia changed the odds for the generations that followed in his footsteps and learned from his example. I was very pleased to have him as one of my superb supervising attorneys my first year out of law school when I joined the NAACP Legal Defense Fund staff.
  • 01/13/12

    Child Watch® Column: "The American Deficit: Where Do We Go from Here?"

    "There is nothing new about poverty. What is new, however, is that we now have the resources to get rid of it. Not too many years ago, Dr. Kirtley Mather, a Harvard geologist, wrote a book entitled Enough and to Spare. He set forth the basic theme that famine is wholly unnecessary in the modern world. Today, therefore, the question on the agenda must read: Why should there be hunger and privation in any land, in any city, at any table, when man has the resources and the scientific know-how to provide all mankind with the basic necessities of life"
  • 01/06/12

    Child Watch® Column: "Poverty, 2.0"

    End-of-year news stories about holiday spending happily reported on the unexpectedly high totals many Americans spent-or put on credit-this year. But for millions of families there was another story: how to provide enough food and shelter and keep alive the spirit, wonder, and joy of the season for their children when resources are scarce?
  • 12/30/11

    Child Watch® Column: "Remembering Fred Shuttlesworth: The Most Courageous Man in America"

    "That Fred Shuttlesworth did not become a martyr was not for lack of trying... There was not a person in the civil rights movement who put himself in the position of being killed more often than Fred Shuttlesworth." This quote from Andrew Manis, author of Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth's biography, A Fire You Can't Put Out, sums up the truth about the man Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once called "the most courageous civil rights fighter in the South."
  • 12/22/11

    Child Watch® Column: "Remembering a Poor Baby"

    When Britany Lewis was born, no trumpets and glad tidings or even balloons and baby showers greeted her arrival. She was just another poor baby. Britany never knew her father, and for the first six years of her life lived in virtual squalor with five siblings and a mother addicted to drugs who eventually went to prison.
  • 12/16/11

    Child Watch® Column: "A Prayer For This Holy Season"

    God help us to end poverty in our time.The poverty of having a child with too little to eat and no place to sleep, no air, sunlight and space to breathe, bask, and grow.The poverty of watching your child suffer hunger or get sicker and sicker and not knowing what to do or how to get help because you don't have another dime or a car, money, or health insurance.
  • 12/09/11

    Child Watch® Column: "More Faces of Child Poverty"

    Would you recognize a poor child when you saw one? Nine-year-old Carolyn Latimore and her sister Aalijah, eight, are beautiful little girls with big smiles on their faces. But Carolyn, Aalijah, and their older brother, Robert, 17, of Middletown, Ohio, fell into poverty when their parents divorced. They've lived in four places in the past four years including a chaotic housing project where their bikes and toys were stolen.
  • 12/02/11

    Child Watch® Column: "Young People Standing Up for Themselves and for Our Nation"

    ...A day came when 16-year-old Barbara decided to put her dreams into action. "It was time that Negroes were treated equally with whites, time that they had a decent school, time for the students themselves to do something about it. There wasn't any fear. I just thought -- this is your moment. Seize it!"
  • 11/24/11

    Child Watch® Column: "The Worst Feeling"

    "Being hungry is possibly the worst feeling anyone could ever experience, and honestly, when you're hungry, you can't be productive, and you can't really do anything. And I just remember, sometimes in school I would definitely be hungry," said 17-year-old New York City high school senior Ninaad Dave.
  • 11/18/11

    Child Watch® Column: "Cuts in Education: A Failing Choice"

    Aristotle got it right when he said, "All who have meditated on the art of governing mankind have been convinced that the fate of empires depends on the education of youth."? Once upon a time America professed to believe in a strong public education system - at least for some children.
  • 11/11/11

    Child Watch® Column: "Celebrating Young People Beating the Odds!"

    I'm often asked, what's wrong with our children? Too often we focus on the negative without celebrating young people who, despite the odds unfairly stacked against them, overcome great adversity, demonstrate academic excellence, and give back to their community and country. Each year, the Children's Defense Fund (CDF) takes time to honor examples of these inspiring youths through our Beat the Odds® scholarship and leadership development program.
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