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.


House Fiscal Year 2021 Appropriations Bills Include Critical Priorities for Children & Families, But Much More is Needed

Rather than investing in a militarized border, wasteful Pentagon spending, or tax breaks for the wealthiest corporations, we must invest in our children, families, and Black and Brown communities amid ongoing health and economic uncertainties. The measure of our moral and economic priorities should be how we uplift our children and increase prosperity for the millions of children who want to learn, grow, and succeed.

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Youth Voices: Left Behind by the “New Normal” of Remote Learning

This spring, thousands of bedrooms, kitchens, and front porches—including my own home in central Virginia—turned into classrooms. As the COVID-19 pandemic surged across the United States, schools and universities closed, and classes shifted to digital formats. Though I griped about my early morning video calls, I made it through a surprise online half-semester of college largely without problem

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Youth Voices: Mental Health and Me

My hope for the future, for our nation’s children, is for there to no longer be stigma around mental health. Our future relies on the success of our children and youth. If we aren’t taking care of them now, how can we be sure they are taken care of in the future? This passion has encouraged me to start a nonprofit organization. One that provides mental health services to youth in areas where these services aren’t available. One that uplifts children of color and shows them that anything is possible. And one that may change everyone’s opinion about mental health.

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The Senate’s Proposal, the HEALS Act, Falls Far Short of Meeting the Needs of Children and Families in Crisis

The Senate returned to work last week promising to unveil additional COVID-19 relief legislation that their Republican leadership said would focus on “making sure we take care of our kids” in the face of the unprecedented national economic and public health crisis. This week, they finally introduced their idea of relief—The HEALS Act—and it falls far short of the meeting the needs of children and families in this country.

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The Senate Promised to Focus on Kids in the Next COVID-19 Relief Package. Here’s What They Should Do

The Senate returned to work in Washington this week promising to act on additional COVID-19 relief legislation that their Republican leadership says will be focused on “bringing back jobs and making sure we take care of our kids.” But for more than two months, as children and families suffered, with Black families and other families of color disproportionately losing their lives and livelihoods to this crisis, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) “hit pause” on additional relief legislation and refused to take up the HEROES Act passed by the House of Representatives in mid-May, which builds on the groundwork laid by previous coronavirus relief packages to ease the damaging health and economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the Senate considers additional relief legislation this week, they must prioritize the needs of children and families

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CDF leads sign-on letter urging Congress to include the Pandemic TANF Assistance Act in the next COVID-19 bill

As Congress swings back into session this week, the need is clear for another robust COVID-19 relief package that includes flexible emergency assistance to help families cover groceries, the rent, and housing. We’ve heard stories all over the country of families having to choose between keeping the lights on and putting food on the table.

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We Must Protect Our Children in the Criminal Justice System Amid the Pandemic and Beyond

The roughly 44,000 incarcerated children across the country are living in fear of COVID-19 and are facing solitary confinement as a form of social distancing, limited access to PPE, limited or no visitations or contact with loved ones, and limited educational and recreational activities. This is cruelty, not rehabilitation, and our nation’s leaders must take action to protect our children. 

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Millions of Children Could Lose Their Homes if Congress Fails to Act

The scale of the COVID-19 crisis is already staggering, but what comes next could be even more significant: Unless Congress provides robust housing assistance and fully extends the eviction moratorium to cover more families, more than 20 million people will be at risk of eviction by the end of September—disproportionately Black and Latinx renters—making housing and racial justice a key concern for our communities and Congress.

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Family Unity: It’s the foundational principle of child welfare law and woven into the moral fabric of our society. Families belong together. This is not supposed to be a controversial concept. Yet the Trump Administration continues to advance family separation policies for immigrant families, both at the border and within the interior of the U.S.

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