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.


The Biden Administration Must Advance Policies to Support LGBTQ+ Children and Adults in the Child Welfare System

As many as one in three children in foster care identify as LGBTQ+, and same-sex couples are seven times more likely to foster or adopt than their opposite-sex counterparts. Still, LGBTQ+ children and families, particularly LGBTQ+ children and families of color, disproportionately experience negative treatment in the child welfare system. CDF was proud submit comments detailing actions the administration could take to improve services for LGBTQ+ children and families in the child welfare system.

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Inequity Starts the Day a Child is Born

This crisis must be treated with urgency and as a matter of racial and economic justice. President Biden and Congress can and must respond by making the Child Tax Credit permanent with critical improvements so that Black, Latinx, Asian American and Pacific Islander, Indigenous, and immigrant children — who are too often excluded from support services — can receive the benefit. If we are truly committed to racial justice and systemic equality, the choice is clear.

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Child Tax Credit Payments Begin Today, But It’s Not Too Late to Sign Up

Today, the first round of Child Tax Credit (CTC) payments—up to $300 per child—are hitting the bank accounts of millions of families across the country. Thanks to the expansion of the CTC included in the American Rescue Plan passed in March by the House and Senate Democrats and signed by President Biden, all but the highest-income families will receive monthly payments for the rest of 2021.

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Making STEM Dreams Possible for Every Child

Representation matters. Black professionals are underrepresented in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields, while exciting opportunities in STEM careers continue to grow at a frantic pace. Thanks to a generous grant from the Boeing Company, the CDF Freedom Schools® program is doing its part to help produce the next generation of leaders in STEM by introducing Black children to the wide world of possibilities in STEM careers through a new initiative called CDF Freedom to STEM.

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What You Need to Know About Federal Rental Assistance

Federal rental assistance is a set of several programs—mostly administered through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Agriculture with support from tax credits—that help families with little or no income cover their housing costs. Our new fact sheet provides a useful primer on federal rental assistance.

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Supreme Court Rules on Foster Care Non-Discrimination Case

While this decision did not undermine the right of state and local governments to protect children and families from taxpayer-funded discrimination, it does underscore how tenuous these protections can be. The decision is a potent reminder of how crucial it is that we pass the John Lewis Every Child Deserves a Family Act (S.1848/ H.R. 3488) to ensure that all children and youth in the child welfare system are safe from discrimination, no matter where they live or who they love.

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The Juvenile Justice System Should Treat Kids Like Kids

CDF joined more than 50 organizations writing to Congress in support of this legislation to reduce children’s contact with the criminal justice system; address racial disparities in criminalization, arrests, and sentencing; and create more equitable and age-appropriate measures for those children that do encounter these systems.

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CDF Endorses the CAPTA Reauthorization Act of 2021

Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Richard Burr (R-NC) have introduced the CAPTA Reauthorization Act of 2021 (S. 1927), which would reauthorize and amend the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act. The Children’s Defense Fund was proud to endorse this legislation because of its significant increase in funding for prevention, its emphasis on race equity in child welfare, its overdue focus on child abuse and neglect fatalities, and the fact that the law would guarantee right to counsel for children and parents in all cases involving child abuse and neglect allegations.

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