Child Watch® Columns

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  • 02/04/11

    Child Watch® Column: "Renewing the Promise of the Child Health Insurance Program"

    February 4th marks the second anniversary of the Child Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA), which has already helped many states make significant improvements in health coverage for children. Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is issuing a report highlighting many of the gains made in enrolling eligible, but uninsured children in health coverage. During fiscal year 2010, children's enrollment in Medicaid and CHIP increased by more than two million!
  • 01/28/11

    Child Watch® Column: "“Held Captive:” Child Poverty in America"

    My father told me I could do and be anything I wanted to be if I dreamed and worked hard enough for it. I took these words to heart, despite growing up in the Jim Crow era in Marlboro County, South Carolina. Today, too many children in Marlboro County and throughout America are not being taught to dream and to work hard for a better future. Unemployment in my home county has hovered between 16 and 20 percent for long periods of time and many children there have never seen anyone in their family able to find a job and go to work.
  • 01/21/11

    Child Watch® Column: "Remembering Sargent Shriver"

    Sarge Shriver is rightly championed for serving as the founding director of the Peace Corps and working with the Special Olympics which his wife and partner, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, founded. But as the head of the Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) and the "general" of President Johnson's War on Poverty, Sarge Shriver made a profound difference and had a lasting impact on the lives of millions of poor people in the United States, including the millions of children served by Head Start.
  • 01/14/11

    Child Watch® Column: "The Black Community Crusade for Children"

    As our country remembers the dream of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., new research conducted for the Children's Defense Fund has found the vast majority of America's Black community, seven in 10 adults, view these as "tough or very bad times" for Black children and many see poor Black youths falling further behind. When 40 percent of Black children are born poor, 85 percent of Black children cannot read or do math at grade level in fourth grade and later almost half drop out of school, and a Black boy born in 2001 has a one in three chance of going to prison sometime in his lifetime, we know we are facing a crisis
  • 01/07/11

    Child Watch® Column: "Health Reform Under Threat"

    In 2010, there was finally good news for millions of uninsured children and families when the President and Congress took a major step towards ensuring affordable and comprehensive health coverage for millions of children and families in America. With the passage of The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (the Affordable Care Act), more than 35 million Americans including more than 95 percent of children will have access to the critical health coverage they need to survive and thrive.
  • 12/31/10

    Child Watch® Column: "Celebrating Kwanzaa, Celebrating Community"

    The New Year is marked with many kinds of celebrations, but for Black families and communities who celebrate Kwanzaa from December 26-January 1, every New Year's Day marks a renewed dedication to community. Kwanzaa is a unique celebration because it is not a religious or a national holiday but a cultural one, and it doesn't celebrate a person or an event but a set of ideas.
  • 12/24/10

    Child Watch® Column: "Two Christmas Eve Lessons"

    In the story shared with me about my dear friend Bill Coffin, it was Christmas Eve and the pews at New York City's Riverside Church were packed. The Christmas pageant was underway and had come to the point at which the innkeeper was to turn away Mary and Joseph with the resounding line, "There's no room at the inn!"
  • 12/17/10

    Child Watch® Column: "Give the Gift of Caring and Sharing This Season"

    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.
  • 12/10/10

    Child Watch® Column: "Strength to Love: A Challenge to the Privatized Prison Industry"

    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.
  • 12/03/10

    Child Watch® Column: "Twenty Years of Beating the Odds"

    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.
  • 11/23/10

    Child Watch® Column: "A Thanksgiving Day Prayer to End Poverty in All Its Forms in Our Rich Land"

    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.
  • 11/19/10

    Child Watch® Column: "Hunger in a Season of Plenty"

    "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.
  • 11/12/10

    Child Watch® Column: "The Threat of Persistent Poverty"

    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.
  • 11/05/10

    Child Watch® Column: "Stop the Bullying!"

    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.
  • 10/29/10

    Child Watch® Column: "Reverend Solomon Jackson, Jr.: Blessed to Be a Blessing"

    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.
  • 10/22/10

    Child Watch® Column: "Children Can't Vote But You Can – And Must"

    But any voter who isn't enthusiastic about the ability to place a vote and have a say in these midterm elections for local, state, and national leaders is shirking their responsibility and wasting a huge opportunity others have struggled and died for. Those of us who participated in and lived through the Civil Rights Movement know firsthand that the right to vote is something Black Americans were fighting and dying for not very long ago.
  • 10/15/10

    Child Watch® Column: "Celebrating the Children's Sabbath"

    Across the country, thousands of people of faith are coming together right now to advocate for children in need through National Observance of Children's Sabbaths® celebrations. This annual celebration, held every third weekend in October, provides a time for faith communities to strengthen their existing efforts for children, discover new opportunities, and respond to the Divine mandate to nurture, protect, and advocate for all children.
  • 10/08/10

    Child Watch® Column: "Seizing an Opportunity in Education Reform"

    As America's children headed back to school in September, President Obama delivered a televised back-to-school address to the nation's students from the Julia R. Masterman School in Philadelphia, an acclaimed public magnet school for fifth through twelfth graders. He spoke about the importance of hard work—a lesson his own mother was quick to drill into him as soon as she sensed his effort level in high school was starting to hit a slump.
  • 10/01/10

    Child Watch® Column: "Remembering Varnette Honeywood"

    Artist Varnette Honeywood had a clear vision of how she perceived Black people and families and a gift for sharing her joyful, colorful perspective with the rest of the world. She was a dear friend to the Children's Defense Fund and the illustrator and creator of our beautiful logo for the Black Community Crusade for Children's Leave No Child Behind® movement. Her death in September at age 59 was a sad loss for all of us.
  • 09/24/10

    Child Watch® Column: "As Millions More Children Are Affected By Poverty, Now is the Time for Our Nation to Act"

    Nearly four million more Americans fell into poverty in 2009: 44 million or one in seven of us are unable to meet our basic needs. Worst of all, children, our most vulnerable group, experienced the steepest rise in poverty and the largest single-year increase since the 1960s.
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