Child Health

Protecting children and families during this crisis: CDF’s response to COVID-19

March 13, 2020 | National

As we face a widespread, national health crisis, we hope you are taking steps to keep yourself, your loved ones, and your community safe. As we learn more about the spread of the COVID-19 virus, we want you to know what steps the Children’s Defense Fund is taking to ensure children and their families are protected. Our work at the national level and in states around the country remains committed to the increasingly urgent work of protecting our most vulnerable children and families.

Urging federal action

Right now, we are calling on Congress to take immediate action to protect children and families from the health and economic impacts of this crisis. Our focus is on children and advocating for policies that protect every child.

Many are out of school for the foreseeable future, including children who rely on school for meals and even health care. Many have parents and guardians who don’t get paid sick days or can’t work from home, forcing them to make impossible choices between staying afloat financially and protecting their families and communities from the spread of the virus. The foster care system, homeless shelters, and other systems that protect vulnerable children are under additional strain.

Congress must take immediate action to prevent the COVID-19 virus from spreading and ensure that children and families are safe and secure during this crisis. Congress should act right now to provide: paid sick leave and paid family leave for all; school meals and food assistance for children and families; free testing and treatment; emergency assistance to prevent housing instability and homelessness; and more Medicaid funding for states working to contain this outbreak.

Please join us in urging the Senate to pass a coronavirus relief package that includes these essential protections for children and families. Call (202) 224-3121 right now to be connected to the Senate switchboard.

Sharing resources with families

Many families are searching for answers in this time of uncertainty. We are compiling helpful resources including information from experts on how the coronavirus impacts children, guides for how to talk to children about the outbreak, and more. We will continue adding to this list as more resources become available.

Protecting the CDF community

The Children’s Defense Fund’s national office and state and regional offices are taking the necessary steps to protect our staff and partners. We are also developing contingency plans for our CDF Freedom Schools® program, which provides healthy meals and invaluable learning opportunities to more than 12,000 children every year. You help make this work possible, and we want you to know we are evaluating all of our options to ensure kids are able to learn in a safe and healthy environment.

Thank you for your ongoing support of children and families. We will keep you updated the coming days with additional information and more ways for you to be involved in the critical work of defending children. Please stay safe.