Recommit to Children | March 2015

Raise the Age 

Last Sunday, children in New York made crucial progress in the fight for juvenile justice reform. The New York State Legislature wrapped up their contentious budget negotiations and set aside $25 million to fund the "Raise the Age" reforms, with details of the specific changes to be determined later in the legislative session. The funding is a critical first step toward passing legislation to provide better outcomes for youth, reduce recidivism, and keep communities safer from violent crimes. We are grateful for your support of CDF-NY’s two year-long campaign to raise the age of juvenile jurisdiction from age 7 (when children are losing their baby teeth, still believe in the tooth fairy, and are certainly too young to understand a trial) and to raise the age of criminal responsibility from 16 to 18 so New York's children are no longer held in adult prisons and have the opportunity to transform their lives. We are also grateful for Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Legislature's support and look forward to working with them to ensure New York pursues justice for children.

On March 16th Bryan Stevenson, founder of the Equal Justice Initiative and CDF Board member, members from Governor Cuomo’s Youth, Public Safety & Justice Commission including CDF-NY Executive Director Melanie Hartzog, and community leaders shared insights about implementation of these critical reforms.


For more information read Marian Wright Edelman’s latest Child Watch® column co-written with CDF-NY Executive Director, Melanie Hartzog, “Time for Justice for Children in New York.”

More Legislative Action

We are grateful for your support over the last two years helping us build public and political will to extend funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). We're almost there. Will you speak up for children today?

Progress for a Healthy Start for America’s Children

Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill with broad bipartisan support that takes care of seniors and doctors but leaves low-income children short. While the legislation permanently fixes rates to pay doctors for treating seniors, it only fixes funding for the critically important Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for two years.

This is progress for children but short of the four years of funding the majority of governors believe is necessary to ensure comprehensive, affordable, age-appropriate care to children in the hard working families in their states. Congress must stop playing politics with children and commit to this small but extremely important investment. We hope when Senators return on April 13th they will act quickly to give children and states the stability they need by funding CHIP for four years.

We need to invest in our children’s health if they are going to be able to support the growing number of seniors in the future.

Tell your Senators you support four years of funding for CHIP and hope they will too!

Serious Budget Threats

Both the Senate and House passed budget resolutions last week that if enacted would undermine and substantially cut critical programs that benefit tens of millions of children. The Affordable Care Act would be repealed and millions of children with pre-existing conditions would once again struggle to gain health coverage. Medicaid, which together with CHIP helps more than half of America’s children (44 million), would be block granted and face deep cuts. Millions more children could go hungry as funding for SNAP, which feeds 1 in 4 children in America and keeps children and families out of poverty, would be slashed by 33 percent by the end of the decade. Drastically fewer funds would be available for early childhood programs, elementary and secondary education, and other critical investments for children. Yet both budgets would increase defense spending, despite the fact we already spend more on defense than the next eight highest-spending countries combined. The biggest threat to our nation’s security is our failure to invest in a healthy, well-educated workforce. These budgets would only make things worse. We can’t afford to jeopardize our children’s future.

Tell your elected officials to stop the cuts.

Act Now For Inspiration in July

The 2015 Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry online registration is now open!

The 21st annual Proctor Institute, “How Long Must I Cry for Help?”  Bending the Arc Toward God’s Vision of Justice for Children, will be held July 20-24, 2015 at CDF Haley Farm. We hope you will join us to learn more about ending child poverty in our rich nation, during what promises to be an inspiring week of preaching, singing, strategizing, skill-building, and building a justice movement together.

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Rev. Lewis
  Dr. William J.
Barber III
Wright Edelman
  Dr. Gregory
Ellison, II
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Dr. Anna
  Rev. James M.
  Dr. Eileen
  Dr. Otis
Moss, Jr.
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Dr. Otis
Moss III
  Dr. Eboni

For Children: Children of participants may register for the special Proctor CDF Freedom Schools® program, which runs during the institute, and participate in meals and evening worship with their parents.

For Seminarians and Divinity Students: The Proctor Institute has special opportunities for students at seminaries and divinity schools. Seminarians who are interested in registering for the credit-bearing graduate course should contact the Rev. Janet Wolf,, for additional information. Learn more about opportunities for seminarians.

The Proctor Institute is far more than a “conference;” it is an experience of Beloved Community, an intergenerational, interracial, ecumenical community that gathers to renew and refresh, seek insight and inspiration, and equip ourselves with strategies and skills to work together to end child poverty.  Register now.

Let Freedom Ring!

Service is the rent we pay for living” – Marian Wright Edelman
Over 20 years, the Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools® program has served more than 125,000 low-income children. Not only has the program prevented summer learning loss and strengthened the self-esteem of the students but it has also given opportunities to over 15,000 college students and recent graduates to engage in mission-driven summer jobs that make a difference. We now are celebrating 20 years of actively seeking justice in education through service. In 2010 Sharde’ Chapman joined the CDF Freedom Schools program as a Servant Leader Intern in Memphis. She has climbed the ladder of engagement to become a Site Coordinator and an Ella Baker Trainer.

I have continued to come back to the program year after year because I believe it provides an invaluable service to children in communities who may otherwise fall through the cracks.

While Sharde’ has served as a teacher, role model, mentor, and confidant not only to many scholars, but also to fellow Servant Leader Interns over five summers, she’s also become a minister in the Baptist Church, and is pursuing her Doctorate in African American Religion at Rice University in Houston, TX. Read more about Sharde’s high expectations in her blog post, “Paying Rent Through Service.”

Support CDF Beat the Odds® Scholars Now

Beat the Odds CDF-Minnesota
On April 18th CDF-MN will host its 23rd annual Beat the Odds awards celebration in Minneapolis, MN to honor five extraordinary young people who have overcome tremendous adversity to achieve academic excellence and become leaders within the community in the Twin Cities-area.

(From left to right): Makayla Hout, Martell Peterson,
Randy Matthews, Kao Soua Yang, and Nasro Mohamed

Please support our 2015 CDF-MN Beat the Odds high school students by donating money or donating to the special auction.

Beat the Odds CDF-Ohio
CDF-OH will host its annual Beat the Odds awards celebration on April 22nd, in Columbus, OH. This year’s recipients will not only inspire you with their stories of hardships overcome, but will also remind you how at least one caring adult can make all the difference in a child's life.

      Ayriq Sims             Alberto Jones         Walter Thompson         Kaylyn Sigman           Britiny Lee

Support the 2015 CDF-OH Beat the Odds scholars now.
Your donation today will help change a child’s tomorrow.

Beat the Odds CDF-New York
On March 4th we celebrated five outstanding high school students and presented them with college scholarships at The Pierre in Manhattan. We are grateful to all who gave generously, with time and money, to help make the event a huge success.

For those of you who couldn’t be with us, here are our Beat the Odds stories from New York.

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Michael Borrello's
Joshua Hazelwood's
Sarye Huggins'
Shainek Edmundson's
Tiffany Rivera's

Click here to support our New York Beat the Odds scholars.


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