Child Watch® Columns

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  • 10/17/14

    Child Watch® Column: "Good News for Children When Congress Works Together"

    While we rarely hear good news these days about Congress, I have some to share. Continuing a long tradition of bipartisan leadership on behalf of abused and neglected children, last month both the House and the Senate passed and the President signed into law the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act (H.R. 4980/P.L. 113-183). This new legislation improves the child welfare system to prevent children and youths in foster care from becoming victims of sex trafficking and protects foster care youths who are already victims.
  • 10/10/14

    Child Watch® Column: "What About the Girls?"

    On June 1, 1996 the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) convened with over three thousand co-sponsoring organizations, including the NAACP and many others in the civil rights community, the largest rally for children in our nation’s history. Over 200,000 parents, grandparents, child advocates, religious leaders, and others of every race, age, faith, and discipline from all walks of life gathered together at the Lincoln Memorial to Stand for Children™. Mrs. Parks, honorary co-chair with Rosie O’Donnell, provided an iconic statement that still holds true today as Black children are sliding backwards and child poverty levels are indefensible in our wealthy nation. In 1997 she and Rosie O’Donnell co-chaired the follow-up local Stand for Healthy Children Day.
  • 10/03/14

    Child Watch® Column: "Don’t Mess with CHIP: Seventeen Years of Success"

    On June 1, 1996 the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) convened with over three thousand co-sponsoring organizations, including the NAACP and many others in the civil rights community, the largest rally for children in our nation’s history. Over 200,000 parents, grandparents, child advocates, religious leaders, and others of every race, age, faith, and discipline from all walks of life gathered together at the Lincoln Memorial to Stand for Children™. Mrs. Parks, honorary co-chair with Rosie O’Donnell, provided an iconic statement that still holds true today as Black children are sliding backwards and child poverty levels are indefensible in our wealthy nation. In 1997 she and Rosie O’Donnell co-chaired the follow-up local Stand for Healthy Children Day.
  • 09/26/14

    Child Watch® Column: "Decriminalizing School Discipline"

    I believe the purpose of public schools is to educate not exclude children and to help identify and meet child needs, not make children serve adult convenience, self interest, and systems. So huge reforms are required in school discipline policies and practices across our nation as school pushout has worsened in past decades with the criminalization of children at younger and younger ages aided and abetted by school expulsion and suspension policies which funnel children into the prison pipeline often crippling them for life.
  • 09/19/14

    Child Watch® Column: "The High Moral and Economic Cost of Child Poverty in America"

    Just released U.S. Census Bureau data reveals 45.3 million people were poor in America in 2013. One in three of those who are poor is a child. Children remain our poorest age group and children of color and those under five are the poorest. More than one in five infants, toddlers, and preschoolers were poor during their years of greatest brain development and vulnerability.
  • 09/12/14

    Child Watch® Column: “Helping Children in Hidden Rural Poverty"

    When many people hear child poverty in America the first stereotype is an inner city child and discussions about solutions to poverty often focus on concentrated poverty in urban areas. But in a nation where over 16 million children, more than one in five, are poor, the plain truth is that child
  • 09/05/14

    Child Watch® Column: “The Invisible Achievement Gap: Students in Foster Care"

    Across the country it’s back to school time. I hope it is a year full of promise and not disappointment and added stress for all children—especially those most vulnerable. I also hope this school year begins with a renewed commitment by all teachers and school administrators to help every child succeed.
  • 08/29/14

    Child Watch® Column: “The Emotional Toll of Growing Up Black in America"

    Dr. Terrell Strayhorn, a brilliant Black Ohio State University professor, recently opened the Educational Testing Service and Children’s Defense Fund co-sponsored symposium on Advancing Success for Black Men in College by sharing a question his 14-year-old son asked him: why did he get in trouble for speaking out of turn when he jumped in to answer his teacher’s question, but when his White friend did the same thing she was praised for being excited about learning?
  • 08/22/14

    Child Watch® Column: “'Who’s Looking for Me?': God’s and America’s Invisible Children"

    Not long ago Reverend Romal Tune was the child in “Who’s Looking for Me,” his spoken word piece shared below—the hungry boy begging strangers for money and watching them cross the street to avoid him; the teenager planning his funeral with his then 15-year-old cousin because “dying meant that we would finally be noticed; people would finally see us and treat us like we mattered.
  • 08/15/14

    Child Watch® Column: “Strong Programs, Strong Mentors, and Strong Mindsets”

    We know the commonly repeated claim that there are more Black men in prison than in college isn’t true—but in 2011 Black men accounted for fewer than 6 percent of undergraduate students and 4 percent of graduate students, though they made up 8.7 percent of 18-29 year olds.
  • 08/08/14

    Child Watch® Column: “Children in the Desert”

    For years the Mott Haven neighborhood of the Bronx in New York, home to St. Ann’s Episcopal Church, was the poorest section of the poorest Congressional district in the United States. I recently had another wonderful visit at the Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools® summer program hosted at St. Ann’s, whose incomparable rector is the Reverend Martha Overall—known to everyone as Mother Martha.
  • 08/01/14

    Child Watch® Column: “Kiwis in the Bronx”

    For years the Mott Haven neighborhood of the Bronx in New York, home to St. Ann’s Episcopal Church, was the poorest section of the poorest Congressional district in the United States. I recently had another wonderful visit at the Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools® summer program hosted at St. Ann’s, whose incomparable rector is the Reverend Martha Overall—known to everyone as Mother Martha.
  • 07/25/14

    Child Watch® Column: “A Mississippi Freedom Summer Pilgrimage: An Atrocity We Must Never Forget”

    We both took this journey on June 25 with a group of about 400 young people, including young women participating in the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF)’s summer leadership institute for young Black women from rural Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi, part of CDF’s Southern Rural Black Women’s Institute for Economic and Social Justice.
  • 07/18/14

    Child Watch® Column: “Andrew Young’s Choice”

    “None of us had any real education in social change. I was a biology major and a preacher. And yet we found ourselves in positions where we had to change the world . . . and what you will find is that it is easy if you listen to that still, small voice within. That’s where you hear God.”
  • 07/11/14

    Child Watch® Column: “Overcoming Evil”

    Nelba Márquez-Greene is a licensed marriage and family therapist who has spent her life helping others. In December 2012 she was the coordinator of a youth and adolescent outpatient psychiatric clinic and a university instructor supervising six clinical interns. But nothing in her professional training could have prepared her for what she, her family, and community would experience after her beautiful six-year-old daughter Ana Grace and twenty-five other children and teachers were murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.
  • 07/03/14

    Child Watch® Column: “Breaking the Code of Silence”

    “I found my voice long before I became a writer in community organizing. That’s where I found my voice, where I was able to take all that pain and transform it into something useful in the world, and I never looked back.” Michael Patrick MacDonald is a storyteller.
  • 06/27/14

    Child Watch® Column: “We, the People”

    Those of us in Mississippi for the historic 1964 Freedom Summer anniversary know very well none of it could have unfolded in the way it did without the quiet and courageous leadership of Robert Moses and David Dennis.
  • 06/20/14

    Child Watch® Column: “Inspiring Lessons from Seattle Pacific University”

    Just days before graduation a young man with a history of mental illness entered a science and engineering building on the university’s campus armed with a shotgun and more than 50 rounds of ammunition and began firing.
  • 06/13/14

    Child Watch® Column: “Return of the Weasels”

    This column is not about the recent story making headlines in New York City on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s proposal to lift a ban on pet ferrets. But it is about weasels.
  • 06/06/14

    Child Watch® Column: “John Lewis to Young Leaders: Get In 'Necessary Trouble'”

    ot every speaker tells a crowd of young leaders that their job is to get into trouble. But that’s part of the message iconic civil rights warrior and now Congressman John Lewis (D-GA) conveyed at this year’s week-long Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) Freedom Schools®’ National Training that began June 1st for nearly 2,000 college age Freedom School servant leaders and site coordinators. They will mentor, teach, and lead Freedom School programs for over 12,500 pre-K through 12th grade students across the country this summer in faith congregations, public schools, college campuses, juvenile detention facilities, homeless shelters, and a range of other settings where the neediest children live.
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