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Children's Defense Fund

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Children's Defense Fund
Monthly Newsletter


35th Anniversary

Join Us As We Celebrate Our 35th Anniversary

35th Anniversary GalaOn the evening of October 6, 2008, friends of the Children's Defense Fund from across the country and from all walks of life will come together to celebrate our accomplishments and rededicate our efforts to ensure a brighter future for America's children. The 35th Anniversary Gala will be held at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., and will include celebrity hosts America Ferrera, Malaak Compton-Rock, Samuel L. Jackson, Jessye Norman, Holly Robinson Peete, Rodney Peete, Sidney Poitier, LaTanya Richardson, Jurnee Smollett, George Stephanopoulos, Susan L. Taylor, and Ali Wentworth.

Register and purchase seats today!

CDF President Marian Wright Edelman Honored at 2008 Democratic National Convention

Jennifer Lopez and Mrs. Edelman at DNC Capitol File Magazine, Viacom and Jennifer Lopez, in cooperation with an honorary host committee, honored CDF President Marian Wright Edelman at an event at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. Ms. Lopez and the event hosts honored Mrs. Edelman's efforts to provide a strong, effective voice for all the children of American who cannot vote, lobby or speak for themselves. At the reception, Mrs. Edelman spoke about how everyone can step up, take action and make a difference to improve the lives of children and the lives of all of us. "This is America's future," Edelman said. "This is a nation-defining election year. It is crucial children are our top priority."

View a slideshow of photos from the event.

New Data: Number of Children in Poverty Increased by 500,000

Children Waving American Flags SmallThis week, the U.S. Census Bureau released data showing that in 2007 nearly nine million children were uninsured and 13.3 million children lived in poverty. Since 2006, there has been an increase of 500,000 children living in poverty. This problem is solve-able if we all step up and do our part. We can do this through investments like high quality education for every child, livable wages for families and income supplements like the Earned Income and Child Tax Credits.

Learn more about child poverty by taking our quiz, use our interactive conversation guide to learn more about children's health coverage and read local articles about the new data in the Houston Chronicle and the Columbus Dispatch.


Marian Wright Edelman Interview on "I Have a Dream" Speech 45th Anniversary

Marian Wright EdelmanYesterday marked the 45th anniversary of Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech at the March on Washington. CDF President Marian Wright Edelman remembers her experiences on that historic day and the progress our nation has made since, in an interview on NPR's "Tell Me More."

Mrs. Edelman will release her new book, The Sea Is So Wide and My Boat Is So Small: Charting a Course for the Next Generation, next month. Sign up to receive an email notification when the book is available for purchase.

Katrina's Children Still Neglected Three Years Later

Katrina's ChildrenToday marks the third anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and as New Orleans and the Gulf Coast face the threat of another hurricane, we must take this opportunity to remember the thousands of families—and especially children—still suffering three years after Katrina. It is a national scandal that so many children are still plagued by the trauma of their horrific experiences of survival in the aftermath of the storm. When one of the country's most vibrant and diverse cities falls behind, America as a whole suffers. We must urge Congress to commit to the reconstruction of New Orleans and the Gulf Region to ensure that their communities, schools, and homes are rebuilt so the children living there can have the level playing field every child deserves.

Learn more about CDF's work in the region and the two reports released documenting the affect the hurricane had on the area's children.

Still Fighting to Preserve & Expand Children's Health Coverage

CDF CaliforniaLast August, the Bush Administration issued a damaging directive requiring states to meet extremely strict new standards in order to receive federal funding to provide health coverage to children with family incomes above $53,000 through the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). These requirements would have been nearly impossible for states to meet. At the same time, the rising cost of health care is squeezing family budgets and making it more difficult for even middle-class families to get access to care.

Fortunately, for the past year, activists like you have kept the spotlight on the need for all children to have health coverage, and earlier this month, your perseverance paid off! On August 15, the last day before this directive would have gone into effect, the Bush Administration chose not to enforce it. We can't thank you enough for stepping up and taking action!

However, we must not forget that this victory does not move us forward—it merely prevents damaging steps backwards. With 9.4 million children in America uninsured and another child born uninsured every 41 seconds, simply preserving the status quo is not enough! Step up to improve the lives of children and the lives of all of us—join CDF's Healthy Child Campaign and its growing number of supporters in calling on Congress to act now to cover all children and pregnant women.

Success in Texas! More than 176,000 Children Get Health Coverage

100 Percent CampaignCDF-Texas and the Houston Independent School District (HISD) along with Houston Mayor Bill White and more than 70 community partners announced the success of the first year of the 100% Campaign which aims to identify every uninsured child in HISD and link them with health coverage. Since August 2007, Texas' Child Health Insurance Program (CHIP) enrollment has grown by more than 176,000 children. This exceeds the number of Texas children expected to be enrolled by January 2009 by nearly 50,000! CDF's 100% Campaign, contributed to this success by helping increase Harris County CHIP enrollment by more than 33,700 children, a 54 percent increase from the previous year.

This extraordinary effort—featured on Houston Public Radio, The Houston Chronicle, CW 39 and a host of other news stations— shows that the problem of uninsured children is solve-able if we all step up and do our part. Learn more about CDF-Texas and how the 100% Campaign is expanding.

Now Available Online: The National Observance of Children's Sabbaths Manual

Children's Sabbaths at UMC Columbus, OHEach year, thousands of faith communities celebrate and advocate for children during the National Observance of Children's Sabbaths weekend (October 17-19, 2008). This weekend is a part of a broader Children's Sabbaths movement that aims to unite religious congregations of all faiths across the nation in shared concern for children and a common commitment to improving their lives and working for justice on their behalf.

Download this year's Children's Sabbaths Manual online and learn how you can engage your house of worship in this powerful movement for children. Lesson plans for all ages and multiple faiths are also available to accompany your Children's Sabbath celebration. Learn how you can incorporate all or part of these lesson plans into your faith community's regular curriculum.

CDF Youth Advocacy Training Inspires Young Minnesotan to "Live His Passion"

Kenny ScalesHelping people is Kenny Scales' "passion." Thanks to two CDF youth and advocacy training sessions this year at CDF's Haley Farm in Tennessee, the 21-year-old North Minneapolis resident is living his passion by stepping up and taking action in his community.

His experiences at CDF's Haley Farm motivated him to want to serve people as a vocation. "It was very humbling to me to meet so many people with a passion for youth and leadership," he said. "I learned that when you seek to serve, you find your passion."

Now as a staffer at the Minnesota Peace Foundation, he helps young people stay out of trouble and leads weekly meetings about the youth movement to end Northside violence. "To be here working every day and see the faces of the kids we help is a humbling experience," he said. "I try to help change their mindset. Many have anger issues or are anti-social. Now, before they raise their fist in anger, they think about it. As I get more involved in the Northside, I've said to myself that this is the place to be."

Find out more about opportunities for youth to get involved with CDF and their communities.

Senate Considers Legislation to Improve Lives of Youth in Foster Care

Fostering Connections to Success ActThanks to the efforts of many of you, Senate action on legislation that would improve the lives of hundreds of thousands of children and youth in foster care will resume when Congress returns to Washington, D.C., in September. The House already passed the Fostering Connections to Success Act in late June, and together these bills will ensure that more children and youth find permanent families through adoption and relative guardianship, increase supports for older youth in foster care and offer protections and assistance to American Indian children, many for the first time.

By providing children in foster care with what they need to thrive, we help to ensure that society will not pay the greater cost later on when these children are forced to leave foster care at age 18 without an education, connections to their families and communities, or the support they need to succeed as an adult. Again, our thanks to those who stepped up and took action earlier this summer. Your efforts have ensured that the Senate will keep this issue on their front-burner. Keep an eye out for opportunities in the coming weeks to ensure that this critical legislation is passed.

Find out how many youth are in foster care in your state and may be affected by this legislation.

CDF's Haley Farm Selected for 2009 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture

Haley Farm CDF is pleased to announce that the Association for Library Service to Children has selected the Langston Hughes Library at CDF's Haley Farm as the host for the 2009 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture, which features individuals who have made a significant contribution to the field of children's literature. Walter Dean Myers, renowned author of outstanding fiction, poetry and nonfiction for children and young adults, was selected to deliver the 2009 lecture.

Learn more about May Hill Arbuthnot and the Honor Lecture at the Association for Library Service to Children website.

Children's Defense Fund
25 E Street, NW - Washington, DC 20001

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