We Never Give Up | February 2015

Marian Wright Edelman on PBS

In case you missed it, CDF President Marian Wright Edelman appeared on The Tavis Smiley Show on PBS February 19 to discuss real solutions to child poverty in America — identified in CDF’s groundbreaking report, Ending Child Poverty Now. The report shows that by investing an additional 2 percent of the federal budget in existing programs and policies that increase employment, make work pay, and ensure children’s basic needs are met, the nation could reduce child poverty by 60 percent and 97 percent of poor children would benefit. Please watch the interview and share with friends, family, neighbors and members of your faith community.


Poor children need a voice. Speak up to help #EndChildPoverty now!

Aloha from CDF Freedom Schools!

Did you know the Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools® movement expanded to the Hawaiian Islands in 2013?  And in just two years, under the leadership of Project Director Lilinoi Grace, the CDF Freedom Schools Hawaii Knowledge, Opportunity, and Achievement (KOA) program has made a difference and spread to 13 sites planning to serve 650 children this summer. The program seeks to increase academic performance of Native Hawaiian students in reading, math, and science and improve student knowledge of the Native Hawaiian culture and language. The dedicated staff — including 70 college students and recent graduates — have all been trained to deliver the empowering CDF Freedom Schools model. The success of the CDF Freedom Schools expansion in Hawaii further demonstrates how the program curbs summer learning loss and closes achievement gaps, and is a key to CDF’s work to ensure a level playing field for all children in Hawaii and across the nation.

For two decades the CDF Freedom Schools program has helped boost student motivation to read, generate more positive attitudes toward learning, increase self-esteem and connect the needs of children and families to the resources of their communities. Your support today will help empower children to make a difference in themselves, their families, communities and our country.

Legislative Action

CDF provides a strong, effective and independent voice for all the children of America who cannot vote, lobby or speak for themselves. When child advocates like you speak up, our legislators listen and often learn about the critical needs of children. February has been a busy month on Capitol Hill.


Giving Children a Healthy Start

For over a year CDF has worked relentlessly with our coalition partners to get the successful Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) funded for at least four more years. We’re thrilled that two bills were introduced, in the Senate and in the House, that would extend funding for CHIP. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) introduced Protecting and Retaining Our Children’s Health Insurance Program Act or “PRO-CHIP” (S.522). On the House side, Representative Gene Green (D-TX) introduced the CHIP Extension and Improvement Act of 2015 (H.R. 919). Both bills will provide stability for the more than 8 million children enrolled in CHIP, peace of mind for their hard-working parents, and the funding states need to continue providing comprehensive health coverage to low-income children. CHIP has had bipartisan support from its beginning, and together Medicaid and CHIP have cut the number of uninsured children in half and today provide coverage to more than 44 million children. Act now for CHIP: Tell your members of Congress you want them to stand up for healthy children.Urge them to support a clean, four year extension of CHIP as soon as possible!

Protecting Education for Poor Children

Serious threats to essential education supports for poor children will likely pass today or tomorrow when the House of Representatives considers H.R. 5, The Student Success Act, approved by a party line vote by the Education and Workforce Committee earlier this month.  H.R. 5’s “portability” provision will unravel the intent of Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) by taking resources away from children in areas of concentrated poverty and offering extra resources to wealthier schools and districts with a few poor children who may not need them. The poorest students in schools with the highest concentrations of poor children need extra help to combat poverty’s barriers. Compounding this huge backwards step, H.R. 5 also removes strong accountability provisions required to make sure the children who need help most will actually be helped. It is way past time for us to level the educational learning field for all children, especially those left behind.

Take action now, tell your representative to promote educational success for poor children by voting “no” on H.R. 5.

Held Captive

The Ohio Department of Education recently reported that children in Ohio’s public schools were secluded about 5,000 times and restrained approximately 9,000 times last year. About 80 percent of those restrained were children with disabilities. “Force in schools should be used only as a last resort.  Overuse of seclusion and restraint does lasting harm to our children, especially those with disabilities,” said Renuka Mayadev, Executive Director of CDF-Ohio.

This month CDF-Ohio released a hard-hitting brief, “Preventing Seclusion and Restraint in Ohio’s Schools,” that explores the negative physical, psychological, and developmental consequences of seclusion and restraint on children, as well as how the use of seclusion and restraint destroys school culture and often unfairly targets students of color and students with disabilities. This brief recommends alternative policies that would further limit the use of these aversive practices, with a goal of eliminating—or at a minimum reducing—the use of seclusion and restraint in Ohio schools. Read, download, and share the report. Together we can make a difference for children in Ohio. 

CDF-NY to Host 2015 Beat the Odds® Awards Gala

On March 4, 2015 New Yorkers will gather at The Pierre to celebrate five exceptional youths who have overcome tremendous odds to succeed academically and give back to their community. Each one will inspire with their story of hardship and perseverance. Each one will be closer to realizing their dream by receiving a CDF Beat the Odds® scholarship and support through the college admissions process. Join us Wednesday, March 4, 2015, at The Pierre (a Taj Hotel) as we salute these extraordinary young people who beat the odds stacked against them. Help us make their dreams come true.

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If you cannot attend, please give as generously as you can to support the CDF Beat the Odds scholarship and leadership development program that has changed lives for 25 years


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