Just and Caring Communities
Our nation’s young people should have the freedom to play in parks, walk to bus stops, and attend school—safely. They deserve neighborhoods where both neighbors and public servants actively safeguard their well-being. We work to transform this vision into reality, advocating for safe environments where young can thrive without fear.
of young individuals
in the juvenile justice system are children of color
1 in 4
have at least one foreign-born parent
In the U.S., our young people face challenges that deeply affect their sense of peace and security. Guns have become the leading cause of death for children and youth, highlighting a pressing issue that needs immediate attention. Our justice system reveals stark disparities, with two-thirds of young individuals in the juvenile justice system being children of color, underscoring the need for systemic change. Immigration enforcement efforts also cast a shadow, impacting one in four U.S. children who have at least one foreign-born parent. These realities emphasize the importance of creating safe spaces for our children and youth, free from violence and discrimination.
Our Policy Path
We advocate for crucial policy changes to foster safer communities for our youth. Our focus areas include:
Gun Safety and Restrictions: Enacting common-sense gun laws such as universal background checks, safety storage requirements, and industry accountability.
Public Health Approaches to Public Safety: Providing law enforcement with de-escalation and implicit bias training for community safety and ensuring access to care, support, and protection for LGBTQ+ youth.
Youth Justice Reform: Implementing “Invest-Divest” strategies to shift resources from traditional public safety methods to youth support and intervention programs.
Immigration Reform: Supporting family unification and reunification policies for children with foreign-born parents.
We call on policymakers to center their decisions on research, data equity, and community voices, creating tangible actions that protect young people and their families from the dangers and trauma of community violence.
Ten years ago this year, Ramesh Raghavan and Anna Alexandrova published research on child development in a scholarly article entitled, Toward a Theory of Child Well-Being. In the article, they document historical conceptualizations of child well-being, a policy history of the notion of child well-being, methods, and implications for measuring well-being, and–after reviewing several theories–posit one for adoption in the field. …
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It is a busy time for Children’s Defense Fund! Last week, we kicked off a yearlong celebration of the 50th anniversary of our founding. We rejoiced with a Celebration of Joy at the National Museum of African American History and Culture.…