In Defense of Children

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Viewpoints and analysis from the CDF Policy team on issues impacting children. CDF’s policy advocacy focuses on the whole child because children don’t come in pieces. We seek to end child poverty and give every child a healthy start, a quality early childhood experience, a level education playing field, safe families and communities free from violence—with special attention to children involved in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.


This Youth Justice Action Month, We Celebrate State Advocacy to Protect and Support Our Young People

Even before the pandemic, criminalization and incarceration threatened young people’s short- and long-term health, development, and economic opportunities and fueled devastating racial disparities. In honor of Youth Justice Action Month, we’re proud to uplift the exciting work of our CDF colleagues in New York and California to protect and support justice-involved young people amid the pandemic and beyond.

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Federal Judge Denies Trump Administration Attempt to Rip Food Assistance from 700,000 Americans

In a positive move last Sunday, a federal judge struck down a dangerous Trump administration proposal to take SNAP benefits away from 700,000 Americans. In her opinion, Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell of D.C. deemed the proposal “arbitrary and capricious”  and sided with the 19 states, D.C., New York City and a coalition of groups who sued to stop the final rule back in December. 

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Children Need Flu Shots and Other Vaccines Amid Pandemic

While current vaccination rates are increasing, they have yet to reach a level that makes up for the large dip over the spring and summer months.  Flu shots and other vaccines are safe, effective, and necessary now more than ever to keep our children and families healthy and keep our healthcare infrastructure from being overwhelmed. 

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Child Poverty Rises as Congressional Aid Vanishes

COVID is hurting our children—and so is Congress. New research from the Center on Poverty and Social Policy at Columbia shows an additional 8 million Americans—including 2.5 million children—have fallen into poverty since May as a result of our leaders’ failure to extend and expand the income support families need to keep their children fed, clothed, and housed. Looking at changes in monthly poverty rates, Columbia found that monthly poverty has risen beyond pre-COVID levels since Congress allowed COVID relief to expire and failed to provide additional assistance.

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New Analysis from CDF: America’s Schools Provide Much More than Lessons

When children are not attending school in person, they are not only missing out on vital education that is hard to deliver virtually; they are also abruptly without services they rely on and support from educators and professionals trained to connect them with resources and ensure their most urgent needs are met. As many schools returned to virtual instruction this fall, students are approaching almost a full year without those supports and services—which include access to healthy food, care for their physical and mental health, caring adults tasked with ensuring their safety, and federally mandated supports for marginalized students. 

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My fight for the vote

In the fall of 1962, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) assigned me to the town of Selma, Alabama to help register Black people to vote. I had previously been engaged in the Nashville sit-in movement and in the Freedom Rides, helping to fully desegregate a South that was still very resistant, and extending voting rights became the next great struggle I would embark on.

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How to Protect Children in the Age of Aggressive Immigration Enforcement

The Child Thrive Action Network today released a toolkit for protecting immigrant families facing deportation. The toolkit includes sections to help service providers and community members speak out and advocate against enforcement that harms children in immigrant families, as well as guidance for parents, service providers, and community members working to protect families at risk of being torn apart. 

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The Children’s Protection Act Will Bring Children’s Health and Wellbeing to the Forefront of Rule-Making

While proposed regulations often have a significant impact on children, that impact is rarely made explicit as part of the formal regulatory process. Currently, federal agencies are not required to analyze or share how regulatory changes could impact or harm children. To address this issue, House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney and Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley introduced the Children’s Protection Act to better ensure our regulatory process prioritizes the health and wellbeing of our children.

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