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.


We Should Be Investing in Education, not Incarceration

Earlier this school year, 6-year-old Kaia was handcuffed, arrested, and taken to a juvenile detention center where she was charged with battery for having a tantrum in her first grade class. How Kaia was treated is appalling, and yet the criminalization of our children is all too common: A child is arrested every 39 seconds in America and about 76,000 children are placed in the adult criminal justice system annually.

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Schools’ Misuse of Child Welfare System Puts Children at Risk

Coordination and partnership between school systems and child welfare systems is essential. Teachers, who in most states are mandatory reporters, often serve as the frontline when it comes to identifying children in their classrooms who might be suffering from abuse or neglect and filing reports with their local child welfare agencies. As a result, educators and other school staff make up the largest percentage of abuse and neglect reports, and protect countless children every year by. But recently we’ve seen several troubling cases of schools misusing—and thus endangering—this important relationship.

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Federal Judge Blocks Trump Administration’s Dangerous Flores Rule

In more good news and another victory for immigrant children, a federal judge upheld a landmark 1997 court settlement governing the standards of care for immigrant children in U.S. custody, rejecting the Trump administration’s attempt to dismantle protections for immigrant children and supplant them with regulations that would have had a devastating impact on children’s health, education and general welfare.

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Trump Administration Lifts Freeze on Medical Deferred Action

When the Department of Homeland Security notified Congress one week after the emergency hearing that it would reverse its misguided revocation of medical deferred action, it was, as Rep. Jamie Raskin, said, “[A] moment of good news.” That’s a moment of good news achieved by immigrant families, advocates and Congressional intervention. Here’s to many good moments to come.

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