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.


President Biden Takes Key Steps to Address Hunger in New Executive Order

Recognizing that hunger is a moral and political failure with devastating consequences for our children and nation, President Biden exercised his authority last Thursday to issue an executive order to strengthen federal nutrition assistance. This executive order includes a number of provisions to address shortcomings in existing COVID relief efforts and provide immediate relief for millions of families struggling to put food on the table.

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New Report on Child Maltreatment Showcases Rates of Abuse and Neglect Across the Country

This year’s report indicates that the number of children who were deemed to be victims of child maltreatment fell in 2019; however, so did the number of children receiving federally-funded services to prevent child abuse and neglect by supporting and strengthening families. And variations in rates of child maltreatment varied greatly by state, age, and race.

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Trump Administration Uses Final Days to Provide License to Discriminate in Child Welfare

Last week, in one of its final actions, the Trump Administration finalized a rule that would allow taxpayer-funded discrimination in the child welfare system. The rule reverses Obama-era regulations that provided blanket protections on the basis of sex, religion, gender identity, and sexual orientation from programs receiving federal funds from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). This rule is a license to discriminate and is in direct opposition to the cardinal rule of child welfare, that the best interest of the child is paramount.

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President-Elect Biden’s COVID Relief Proposal Would Help Families in Crisis and Begin to Address Child Poverty

Last week, President-Elect Biden released a $1.9 trillion COVID relief package to address the growing public health and economic crisis brought on by the pandemic, which continues to exacerbate the systems of economic and racial injustice that harm our children. Since the start of the pandemic, CDF has called on lawmakers to prioritize children in their response to the crisis and the President-Elect’s relief package would provide immediate relief while also taking a long overdue step to address our nation’s shameful child poverty crisis that could lead to the largest reduction in child poverty rates in decades. 

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2020: CDF’s Year in Review

The Children’s Defense Fund spent much of 2020 pushing Congress to take action to protect children and families from the harmful impacts of our country’s health, economic, and racial disparities while continuing to defend against harmful regulatory and administrative policies set forth by the Trump administration.  Our commitment to children and policies that protect them has never wavered, and we know we have many fights ahead to keep children and families safe in the new year. But as we reach the end of an unprecedented year, we are taking a moment to celebrate some important wins for children and families in 2020. 

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Why It’s Time to Think Universal School Meals for Our Children

Child nutrition programs help our nation’s children get the food they need to learn, grow, and thrive—especially children in low-income households. The long-standing problem of school meal access and reimbursements, lunch shaming, lunch debt, and the stigmatization of children having to prove they are hungry and worthy of meals means millions of children lose out. It’s past time to abandon burdensome reimbursement and eligibility requirements and fully fund universal school meals for every child so that our programs are flexible and robust to meet children’s needs, not the other way around. 

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After Nine Months of Neglecting the Needs of Children and Families, Congress Will Finally Vote on a COVID Relief Bill

After nine months of failing to pass a COVID relief bill and neglecting the needs of millions of children and families suffering the unprecedented public health, racial justice, and economic and unemployment crisis brought on by this pandemic, Congress will finally vote on a long overdue bipartisan relief bill. While this package was a step in the right direction under a strict timeline ahead of the holidays, it does not include many additional provisions that are needed to fully meet the needs of all our nation’s children and families, especially the most vulnerable.

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They Should Be High School Freshmen

Eight years ago today, twenty first-graders and six teachers were murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary School in an unthinkable act of violence. Among the victims were children like Ana Grace, who loved to sing and loved to dance; Noah, who loved superheroes and Legos; and Charlotte, who dreamed of opening an animal shelter. These and all the students horrifically murdered at Sandy Hook should have started high school this fall—but they never got the chance.

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