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.


A New Investigation Found Waivers to Allow Discrimination in Child Welfare are Not in the Best Interest of Children

The House Committee on Ways and Means recently released the findings of a year-long investigation into a waiver the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) granted South Carolina in January of last year. CDF was one of 11 organizations asked by Representatives John Lewis and Danny Davis to submit expert testimony for the investigation. We proudly and unequivocally believe that discrimination is never in the best interest of children and that truly serving children requires affirming their identities and the identities of their caregivers.

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CDF Joined an Amicus Brief on Fulton v City of Philadelphia to Make It Clear Discrimination is Harmful for Children

The Children’s Defense Fund is proud to join an amicus brief on behalf of the City of Philadelphia in the Fulton v. the City of Philadelphia case. As we argued in response to the South Carolina waiver and the Notice of Proposed Rule Making law year, discrimination in any form is harmful for children. In a time when there is a huge shortage in foster families and when more than 125,000 children are waiting to be adopted, allowing agencies to turn away LGBTQ adults who want to provide loving, stable families is diametrically opposed to the best interest of the children those agencies are meant to serve.

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House Ways and Means Subcommittee Releases Bill that Provides Much Needed Support to Children and Families in the Child Welfare System Due to COVID-19

On Friday, August 7, Chairman Danny Davis (D-IL) and Ranking Member Jackie Walorski (R-IN) of the Worker and Family Support Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee released the bipartisan Supporting Foster Youth and Families through the Pandemic Act (H.R.7947), which provides critical supports to children and families in the child welfare system in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The Counseling Not Criminalization in Schools Act Will Encourage Important Shifts Away from Police Officers in Schools

Every child deserves access to high-quality and equitable educational opportunities without fear of discrimination or criminalization. In July, Senators Murphy and Warren and Representatives Pressley and Omar introduced the Counseling Not Criminalization in Schools Act (S. 4360/H.R. 7848), which takes a critical first step toward this equity by re-prioritizing support for students rather than criminalization and over-policing of schools.

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Immigrant Families Must Be Included in Economic Stimulus Payments

Economic stimulus payments, also known as cash assistance, help families make ends meet during this crisis and they also support children’s well-being and healthy development. Politicians must act swiftly to ensure the next COVID relief package is the most robust and inclusive yet, and that must include our immigrant neighbors and their children. Let’s live up to our values and do right by our kids, no matter where they come from or what they look like.

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ED has an Obligation to Direct Funding to Children who Need it Most

The Children’s Defense Fund recently joined 53 other civil rights nonprofits in calling on the U.S. Department of Education to withdraw an interim final rule that would require school districts to divert more COVID-19 relief funds to private school students under the CARES Act than is actually required—or intended—under the law.

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This Weekend’s Executive Actions Do Very Little to Provide Meaningful Relief for Children, Families, and Communities

President Trump signed four executive actions on Saturday that not only side-step Congress and potentially violate the Constitution, but do very little to provide meaningful relief for the children, families, and communities suffering from the health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The House passed the HEROES Act in May but the Senate and the Trump Administration’s delays and unwillingness to negotiate have only worsened the impact of the pandemic and left families without critical support. Rather than an overreach of executive power and executive actions that do very little, we need immediate congressional action on a relief package with meaningful benefits and adequate funding. 

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Youth Voices: Congressional Hearings and Talk Show Hosts, the Genesis of My Interest in Child Care Policy

Joan Lunden helped teach my parents English. They’d left the former Soviet Union in 1993, religious refugees reuniting with family in the United States, and spent the next seven months watching Americans talking on television. Evening talk shows were like language arts classes -- my dad would watch David Letterman and Jay Leno because their voices were clear and crisp, and then Rush Limbaugh an hour later because “you had to know English to understand him.” In the mornings they’d tune into Good Morning America (GMA), hanging onto Lunden’s every word.

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