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Join dedicated child advocates across the country and speak up and speak out to champion policies and programs that lift America’s children out of poverty, protect them from abuse and neglect, and ensure their access to healthcare, quality education and a moral and spiritual foundation.

Together our voices will make a difference to ensure every child a healthy start, a head start, a fair start, a safe start and a moral start in life and successful passage to adulthood.

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There Are Many Ways to Support CDF!

Every dollar donated helps the Children’s Defense Fund champion policies that will lift children out of poverty; protect them from abuse and neglect; and ensure their access to health care, quality education, and a moral and spiritual foundation.

Learn how you can help improve the lives of America's children!

Speak Up

Continuing Resolution: The Good and Bad News for Children

On January 22, Congress passed and the President signed into law a three week extension of the Continuing Resolution and reopened the federal government. The good news in the package is a six-year extension of funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), ending the 114 day wait about the future of this bipartisan program that has been stuck in a political quagmire. The nearly 9 million children on CHIP are now assured of CHIP funding, and we all must urge that an additional extension be added. The bad news is that enormous pressures on other children, youths and young adults continue to grow. The failure to fix the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA) leaves nearly 800,000 young adults, who came to our country as children, and some of them with children now, at risk of deportation to countries they don’t know at all. There are many other children and families too who continue to be negatively impacted because of inaction on funding for the Maternal and Infant Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV), the Community Health Centers Program, and other important health programs; and the failure to provide post-hurricane relief to those continuing to struggle in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Texas and Florida. Congress does not have to wait until February 8th to act again. Congress must fund this help for children and youths now!

Protect Children, Not Guns

A child or teen dies from gun violence every 3 hours and 8 minutes in the United States, but in December the House of Representatives passed The Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017 that would weaken states’ abilities to protect their residents from gun violence. The bill would force each state to recognize every other state’s laws that allow individuals to carry concealed firearms, even when those states have far weaker standards on who can carry a concealed weapon. For example, if this law were to pass a person from Mississippi, which does not even require a permit to carry a concealed weapon, could travel with his weapon concealed to New York or California, both states that require applicants for concealed carry permits to first demonstrate good cause or justifiable need to carry the weapon This bill would be a disaster for child and public safety and must be stopped in the Senate. Tell your Senators that you oppose the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act. We will send an additional update if this dangerous legislation begins moving forward in the Senate. Continue your good work to Protect Children, Not Guns in your own communities too. 


Share Your Story

How have you or someone you know been affected by child poverty, budget cuts to federal programs supporting poor and low-income families, or harsh school discipline policies or racial bias and ended up in the juvenile justice system? Use the power of your story to make a difference. Congress listens to stories, and if we would like to share yours, we will follow up to ask permission.

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CDF Events

2018 CDF Beat the Odds® Events

CDF-New York Beat the Odds® Celebration

February 27, 2018
The Pierre
New York City, NY

CDF-Minnesota Beat the Odds® Celebration

March 8, 2018
University of St. Thomas
St. Paul, MN

CDF-Texas Beat the Odds® Celebration

May 22, 2018
Royal Sonesta Hotel
Houston, TX

CDF-Ohio Beat the Odds® Celebration


28th Annual CDF Beat the Odds® Celebration


28th Annual CDF-California Beat the Odds® Celebration


Realizing Dr. King's Vision for Every Child: Ending Child Poverty

2018 National Observance of Children's Sabbaths

Child Defender Fellowship

The Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) is launching the Child Defender Fellowship to offer community leaders and activists an opportunity to build skills, influence local systems impacting children, and build communities that will further social justice to ensure all American children have a fair start and equal opportunities in their lifetime. From October 2017 to June 2018, fellows will gain critical knowledge on policy and legislation, learn about the history and tactics of nonviolent organizing, and practice using these tools in your community. Fellows will meet in a virtual learning space over the course of nine months to participate in approximately 20 sessions covering six core themes.

Learn more about the Child Defender Fellowship.


Spread the Truth

Distribute fact sheets and information about the truth about guns and sensible gun safety legislation and policy opportunities in your state and in Congress to protect children, address their unmet mental health needs, and reduce gun violence. Partner with grassroots movements like Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, which has nearly 100 chapters in 40 states to engage lawmakers on the national, state, and local level online and in person.

Raise Awareness

Organize a Child Watch Site Visitation Program to raise awareness of the epidemic of gun violence in your community. To highlight the problems of violence, choose sites like morgues, emergency rooms, or juvenile detention centers. To highlight healthy development and violence prevention, choose sites like schools with conflict resolution and/or restorative justice programs, community mental health centers that provide prevention and 24-hour crisis response services for children and families, and early care and education programs that offer mental health consultation services.

Plan a Community March

Partner with as many local organizations as possible to organize a community march and vigil. Gather the names of children and teens lost to gun violence in your community. Choose a community location that highlights the toll of gun violence on children. Then remember each one lost to gun violence with poems, prayers and song.

Join the Children’s Defense Fund for the Proctor Institute in July

Come to the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Institute on Child Advocacy Ministry at CDF Haley Farm in Clinton, Tennessee and learn with clergy, seminarians, and concerned people of faith how to work more effectively to end the violence of guns and child poverty in your community. Great preachers and great teachers will help you hone your skills at workshops. Learn more and register today.

Host a Children’s Sabbath Service in October

Each year in October, thousands of Houses of Worship of all faiths lift up children’s needs by hosting a National Observance of Children’s Sabbaths® celebration. This year’s theme is: Beating Swords into Plowshares: Ending the Violence of Guns and Child Poverty. Hold a “Turn Off Violence and Turn In Guns” Day as part of your Children’s Sabbath weekend activities. Check out the resources including a step-by-step guide on organizing a Children’s Sabbath weekend.


Visit the Children's Defense Fund's online store to browse books, apparel and items to support outreach in your community. Shop Now!

About CDF Action Council

The CDF Action Council is an affiliated 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization of the Children’s Defense Fund. We champion policies and engage in legislative advocacy and lobbying that will lift children out of poverty; protect them from abuse and neglect; and ensure their access to health care, quality education, and a moral and spiritual foundation.

Learn More