Good & Bad News for Children - September 2015

Bad News, Good News

U.S. Census Bureau data released this month reveal 46.7 million poor people in America in 2014; 1 in 3 are children, and that Black child poverty rates increased by 10 percent between 2013 and 2014. The numbers continue to be staggering, especially when we know there are steps our Congressional leaders could take right now to end child poverty.

Child Poverty Hurts
Our Nation

Despite six years of economic recovery, new Census data released in September reveal that children remain the poorest age group in America with more than 15.5 million children (21.1 percent) living in poverty in 2014 — 70 percent were children of color, who will be the majority of children in America in 2020. They continue to be disproportionately poor, with 37 percent of Black children and 32 percent of Hispanic children poor, compared to 12 percent of White non-Hispanic children. The Black child poverty rate increased 10 percent between 2013 and 2014, while rates for children of other races and ethnicities declined slightly. The Black extreme child poverty rate increased 13 percent with nearly 1 in 5 Black children living in extreme poverty. Poverty hurts children, decreasing the likelihood of graduating from high school and increasing the likelihood of becoming a poor adult and becoming involved in the criminal justice system. In CDF’s recent Ending Child Poverty Now report, we proposed nine policy changes — to increase employment and make work pay more and ensure children’s basic needs are met — that would immediately reduce child poverty by 60 percent and Black child poverty by 72 percent. Congress must make permanent improvements in pro-work tax credits (both the Earned Income Tax Credit and Childcare Tax Credit), increase SNAP benefits, and expand housing subsidies and quality child care funding for children when parents work. Visit CDF’s national analysis of the new poverty data and see how your state fares in child poverty.

One Million Children Gain
Health Coverage

The new data show the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is working and helping to get people health coverage. New government support has had positive effects on the uninsured: there were 8.8 million more people insured in 2014 than in 2013. In 2014 nearly 1 million more children gained health coverage; 93.8 percent of children had health insurance coverage, though they were still covered at a lower rate than seniors. The high rate of coverage for children is also evidence that Medicaid and CHIP are working for children—and should be preserved as we work to further expand protections for children in private coverage. Although all 50 states and Washington, D.C. had a decrease in the number of uninsured people between 2013 and 2014, the greatest gains were in the states that have taken the ACA’s option to expand Medicaid.

However, there are still 4.9 million children (6.2 percent) under age 19 who remain uninsured. Hispanic children were more likely to be uninsured than other children, and the uninsured rate for noncitizen children in 2014 was 20.8 percent. We must continue to protect the tremendous gains already made covering children across the nation and expand coverage to ensure that every child in America has access to and is enrolled in the health coverage they need to survive and thrive.

Children's Sabbaths


You have the opportunity to speak up to end child poverty in your community and to join thousands of congregations and child advocates across the country on October 16-18 for the 2015 National Observance of Children's Sabbaths. The theme for the weekend is, "How Long Must I Cry for Help? Bending the Arc toward God's Vision of Justice for Children." Together, we will focus on real solutions to significantly reduce child poverty now. The Action Section of the 2015 Children’s Sabbaths manual suggests five key actions for the faithful to take. Together let’s ensure our political and community leaders hear the cries of our poor children and respond.

Please help us spread the word that real solutions already exist and we can make Ending Child Poverty Now a reality in rich America. We hope you will share photos and video from celebrations in your communities. For more information please visit or email

Advancing Early Childhood Learning and Development

Parents Advocating for Children Too. Haley Farm September, 2015

This month the Children's Defense Fund convened two important gatherings of thought-leaders, educators, advocates and parents to further the movement for quality early learning and development opportunities for all children in America.

A National Symposium on
Early Learning

The Children's Defense Fund partnered with Sesame Workshop® and the Educational Testing Service, to hold, "Success Starts Young: Closing Achievement Gaps Where They Begin — A National Symposium on Early Learning Standards, Kindergarten Readiness, and Technology and Early Learning," at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Participants explored the concept of “kindergarten readiness” and varying methods used to assess and prepare children to enter kindergarten. Participants also discussed how young children increase learning through technology, including accessibility and uses of technology by diverse and economically disadvantaged populations, and education apps and games for use both inside and outside of formal school settings. Keynote speaker, Rosemarie Truglio, Senior Vice President of Curriculum and Content at Sesame Workshop, was joined by special friend, Abby Cadabby, to discuss "How Sesame Street Helps Kids Grow Smarter, Stronger and Kinder: Language & Vocabulary Development." The symposium encouraged further discussions about the accessibility of technology and its benefits in early learning for the educational success of all children.

Parents Advocating for
Young Children Too

Parents, grandparent caregivers and others from 15 national and state-based parent advocacy organizations gathered at CDF Haley Farm the last three days of September. With the support of the Bezos Family Foundation, the goal was to add new parent and other caregiver voices to advocacy efforts for young children. Sarah Lytle, Director of Outreach and Education at the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences (I-LABS) at the University of Washington in Seattle, made the case for investments in young children by emphasizing the importance of healthy brain development and the use of Vroom and other approaches that use creative tools to help families build on children’s every day routines to promote healthy brain development. Elaine Zimmerman and Donna Thompson-Bennett with the National Parent Leadership Institute familiarized parents with its 20 session curriculum based on civic engagement to promote parent leaders in states and communities across the country. A panel of parent advocates highlighted their successful advocacy and participants learned about plans for a national network of parent advocacy organizations. The group shared excitement for opportunities to raise their voices and to insist on a role in program and policy development for young children.

Support CDF Beat the Odds® Scholarships

When you hear the stories of this year’s scholarship recipients you will be inspired by the difference one caring adult can make. Our Beat the Odds® scholarship and leadership development program identifies and rewards exceptional young people who have overcome homelessness and hunger, abuse and neglect, violence and family instability; help Bridgette, Elijah, Taylor, Anthony and Shawna follow their college dreams onto a path to successful adulthood.


As caring adults who want to make a difference join us November 5, 2015 at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. and register now to become part of the CDF family of support as we honor five extraordinary young people from the greater Washington, D.C. Metropolitan area at the 25th anniversary of the Beat the Odds scholarship and leadership development awards.

Fund the Future: Help us make their dreams come true. CDF Beat the Odds alumni have become outstanding citizens. They are doctors and lawyers and teachers, engineers and Peace Corps volunteers and responsible parents. They are living proof that no one should ever give up on a child.

CDF Freedom Schools® Program
in Detroit

“As a native Detroiter, it was truly awesome to see the CDF Freedom Schools program expand to reach 250 children this summer. I recall many positive stories and praises shared about the program and love knowing that we made an impact on not only our scholars, but also the parents, CDF Freedom Schools staff and the communities we served. We are eager to expand and hope to reach 500 Detroit children in 2016.” said Sheba Rogers, Director of Michigan Freedom Schools Expansion. We are so grateful for the support of UAW-GM, UAW-Ford and the Cynthia Estrada Charity Fund for for helping make the expansion in Detroit possible. We applaud the hard work of our two school-based partners (Academy of the Americas Detroit Public School & Detroit Service Learning Academy), two community-based partners (Delta Service through Detroit Foundation, Inc. & Don Bosco Hall Community Resource Center) and one faith-based partner (Second Grace United Methodist Church)—and for helping Detroit children fall in love with reading. The UAW-GM provided backpacks for all 250 scholars returning back to school. Learn more about the benefits of bringing the CDF Freedom Schools program to your community and communities across the nation with the greatest need.

Make a Difference for
CDF Freedom Schools® Children

In partnership with First Book and Jack and Jill of America, Incorporated are holding a virtual book drive to support the CDF Freedom Schools children.  

We ask that you help encourage the love of reading and learning for all children, particularly for our most vulnerable, by giving as generously as you can to the Children’s Defense Fund Virtual Book Drive and by spreading the word on your social media platforms using #ChildrenRead2Lead.

Every $100.00 donated supports 40 future readers and leaders—how many will you support? Visit the Children’s Defense Fund Virtual Book Drive today, leave a comment to show your support and invite your friends to participate. The virtual book drive ends on October 24, 2015.


Helping Children Heal

Read and share the report

The Children’s Defense Fund-California (CDF-CA) released a new report emphasizing the need for community-based services to address and heal trauma experienced by children and youth. The report, Helping Children Heal: Promising Community Programs and Policy Recommendations, highlights exemplary programs in the San Francisco Bay Area that are healing children and youth through trauma-informed mental health treatment paired with exposure to the arts. Building on the growing recognition among neuroscientists, mental health experts, teachers, child advocates and policymakers that childhood trauma can have a crippling impact on a child’s development, the report recommends developing systems that build resilience in children and youth and reduces exposure to trauma.

Marian Wright Edelman’s Child Watch® columns this month focused on facing the truths of our past, moving forward through “prophetic” grief, standing against unjust systems pushing children into the Cradle to Prison Pipeline, and demoralizing new child poverty numbers in the world’s greatest economy. We have programs that work. Let's expand them to End Child Poverty Now.

The Piercing Cry of Child Poverty in Economically Rich but Spiritually Poor America 

Young Black Males: Pushed Out and Pushed Away 

The Power of "Prophetic" Grief 

Bishop Tutu's Dream 

Your generous support to CDF's Leave No Child Behind® mission allows us to work for children at federal, state and community levels across the country.

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