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Children's Defense Fund

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Children's Defense Fund
Monthly Newsletter


35th Anniversary

Tell President-elect Obama to Cover All Children in 2009

Health Coverage for All ChildrenNow that the 2008 elections are over, we are in an excellent position to enact legislation in 2009 that will provide health coverage for all children. But our new leaders will face many challenges in the weeks and months ahead, and some may be tempted to push this goal off or go for a quick fix that falls short instead of ensuring health coverage for all children.

The only way we can be sure that covering all people in America—and especially our children—remains at the top of their agenda is for all of us to speak up loudly and clearly. We must remind our newly elected leaders that we expect them to fulfill their campaign commitments to cover all children in 2009 and keep our voices unified and consistent until they do.

President-elect Obama has launched a transition website where they are soliciting thoughts on policies you want to see carried out over the next four years. Send President-elect Obama a message letting him know you want him to make good on his promise to cover all children.

This Holiday Season, Help CDF Lift Children Out of Poverty

Help lift children out of povertyAs we sit down with our families this holiday season and count our blessings, we need to keep in mind those who aren’t as fortunate. Some might say we've made good progress for our children, but we must continue to step forward and take action to improve the lives of all children. We haven't made enough progress when more than 13 million children—one in six in America—live in poverty. Of these children, almost half live in extreme poverty. With your support, the Children's Defense Fund can continue to work to lift children out of poverty and put an end to the harmful effect poverty has on families, communities and our nation. Will you help by making a tax-deductible gift to the Children's Defense Fund today? With a baby born into poverty every 33 seconds, we don’t have any time to lose.

Take Action Today: Remind CA's Legislature to Step Forward for Children

BudgetJust days after this year's historic election, Governor Schwarzenegger announced that California is facing a shortfall of $11.2 billion in the current year's budget, with a projected deficit of $27.8 billion over the next 20 months. This financial emergency caused the Governor to call a special legislative session to reconsider the current year's budget that was passed in September.

The Governor and state legislature could have prevented this financial emergency if they had passed a responsible budget with real revenue. Instead, the Governor is proposing more devastating cuts to safety net programs that millions of children and families rely on—programs that can help keep California's children and families healthy and productive.

The Legislature could vote on these cuts as early as this Sunday, so now is the time to step up and take action! Email your elected officials today and tell them investing in California's children and families when they need help the most is part of a sound economic recovery strategy. Improving the lives of California's children improves the lives of all Californians.

Send Good Cheer to Friends and Family with CDF Holiday Cards

CDF Holiday CardsThis holiday season you can quickly and easily complete your holiday card shopping and support CDF at the same time by purchasing colorful holiday cards in our online store. These cards are a great way to wish your friends and family a happy holiday while encouraging them to join you in keeping the interests of all children in their thoughts this holiday season.


New: Inspirational Video Series for Faith-based Child Advocates

Rev. Dr. Cynthia JarvisEvery summer, some of our nation's most prophetic voices for social justice join hundreds of faith-based child advocates at CDF's Haley Farm in Clinton, Tennessee, for the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry. Beginning this month and continuing each month through July 2009, CDF's Religious Action Division will unveil a new video clip from last year's Proctor Institute to serve as an inspiration for the social justice work being done within the religious community.

Our first video in this series features a lively sermon by the Rev. Dr. Cynthia Jarvis, Minister at Chestnut Hill Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, on how ideology and its twin, idolatry, often prevent us from living ou t our call for justice.

Looking for Martin Luther King Day Worship Resources?

Childrens Sabbaths ManualRecently, CDF published When Will We Hear? Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Call to End Poverty in America? We originally put this practical guide together to offer ideas for worship services, educational programs and community activities in conjunction with our annual, multi-faith National Observance of Children's Sabbaths celebration, but many of our friends and supporters have asked us to send additional copies as they plan their upcoming Martin Luther King Day activities.

As your faith community begins planning its celebration of Dr. King's life and legacy, be sure to check out this valuable resource for ideas and inspiration. Download the manual online and order your copy today!

Watch CDF President Marian Wright Edelman on mtvU's "Stand In"

mtvU Marian Wright Edelman is not a professor at San Francisco State University, but for one day she surprised undergraduates as part of mtvU's Emmy-nominated series, "Stand In." The unique show engages college students by surprising them with a guest lecturer who is a cultural icon and role model. Mrs. Edelman gave a lecture to Jade Van Hasselt’s Professional Roles and Careers in Child and Adolescent Development class . Read San Francisco State University student Brittany Owens' reaction to Mrs. Edelman’s lecture and watch the episode online now.

Students also received a copy of Mrs. Edelman's new book, The Sea Is So Wide and My Boat Is So Small: Charting a Course for the Next Generation. Learn more about Mrs. Edelman’s book, view a slideshow of photos from her recent book tour events and find out more about her upcoming speaking engagements on our website.

Also this month, U.S. News and World Report named Mrs. Edelman one of their "America's Best Leaders" for 2008 as "one of the world's premier advocates for children." Mrs. Edelman is in good company this year with Lance Armstrong, Jeffrey Sachs, Steven Spielberg and Terence Blanchard just to name a few. The edition will be on newsstands later this week—pick it up and learn more about America’s inspirational leaders!

Auction of Autographed "Lost" Kubrick Figure to Benefit CDF-CA

Be@rbrickCharity Folks, an online charity auction website, has joined forces with the hit television series "Lost" and collector figure producer MediCom to auction the Kubrick figure "1000% LOST Be@rbricks" (pronounced Bear-Brick) signed by the cast, crew, writers, and producers of "Lost" to benefit CDF-CA. MediCom produced only three of these figures that are highly sought-after world-wide and they will not be re-released. The online auction closes at midnight on December 5, 2008 so place your bid today and help ensure that CDF-CA continues it work to improve the lives of all children.

Event: Rabbis for Human Rights Conference

Rabbis for Human Rights ConferenceOn Monday, December 8, Mrs.Edelman and her husband, Peter Edelman, will be honored at the Second Raphael Lampkin Human Rights Award Dinner as part of the Second Rabbis for Human Rights Conference at Adas Israel Congregation in Washington, DC. The conference also features music by Pharaohs’ Daughter, panel discussions and study sessions with human rights experts on issues in the U.S. and in Israel. The full conference runs December 7-9. All sessions are open to the public. Register today!

Make Affordable Health Coverage Available for All Texas Children

100 Percent CampaignThe Texas Finish Line Campaign and CDF-TX are working hard to secure access to affordable, comprehensive health coverage for all Texas children. Texas can do this right now through wise investments in the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and Children's Medicaid, programs that deliver the preventive care children need, while saving money for all Texans. Right now, we all shoulder the cost of uninsured patients through higher local taxes and skyrocketing private insurance premiums. Insuring children brings those costs down and millions of our federal tax dollars back home to Texas. That's why the chambers of commerce from Texas' largest cities support the goal of providing Texas children cost-effective health coverage through CHIP and Children's Medicaid.

Learn more about the campaign, read our 2009 legislative priorities and sign up to receive updates.

CDF-TX's Cradle to Prison Pipeline Forum Was a Phenomenal Success!

Cradle to Prison PipelineOn November 20, more than 500 community leaders, attorneys, judges, juvenile justice and child welfare professionals, elected officials and youth advocates participated in a one-day forum to present policy recommendations and discuss next steps on how to dismantle the Cradle to Prison Pipeline in Texas.

Listen to coverage of the summit from Houston Public Radio KUHF, "Dismantling the Cradle to Prison Pipeline."

At the forum, CDF-TX presented policy recommendations from six taskforces that CDF-TX convened over the summer to identify improvements in child poverty, early childhood development, education, child abuse prevention, health and mental health care and juvenile justice. A Youth Advisory Committee comprised of youth who have experienced the foster care and juvenile justice systems also presented their own policy recommendations and next steps.

As a result of this forum, CDF-TX developed a "Message to the 81st Texas Legislature" with policy recommendations for dismantling the pipeline, as well as the economic implications from a failure to take action. To endorse and show your support for the policy agenda, email bbrown@childrensdefense.org or submit this form.

For more information about CDF-TX Cradle to Prison Pipeline initiatives, visit our website.

CDF Minnesota to Lead Health Care Effort at State Capitol in January

MN Health Security Act92,000 children currently live without health insurance, and many thousands more are underinsured. In early 2009, CDF-MN along with the "Affordable Health Care for All" coalitions will step forward to push to enact the newly developed Minnesota Health Security Act (MHSA) to help Minnesota's children and families. This Act would ensure that all Minnesota children have access to quality and affordable health coverage by July 2010, and study ways to provide coverage to all adults in the state by 2012. It also would emphasize preventing illness before it occurs as well as eliminate the administrative barriers that currently prevent Minnesotans from getting coverage.

The Act is based on the Children's Health Security Act—developed by CDF-MN—that successfully passed the state House of Representatives in 2007 but did not become law. CDF-MN will work to harness the momentum created by the Children's Health Security Act as it advocates for the MHSA.

For information on the MHSA, contact Carole Specktor at specktor@cdf-mn.org.

CDF to Receive "Idol Gives Back" Gift

American Idol: Idol Gives Back This holiday season, the Children's Defense Fund gives its thanks to "Idol Gives Back,"  the musical celebration for aid and global awareness, which has allocated more than $64 million in charitable contributions made by generous "American Idol" viewers and corporate sponsors. CDF is joined by other grant recipients, Children's Health Fund; The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria; Make It Right; Malaria No More and the U.S. programs of Save the Children.

The special broadcast of "American Idol" aired in April and featured CDF Board Member Reese Witherspoon who highlighted CDF's work for children. We are immensely grateful to FOX and our longtime friend and Academy Award winning actress Reese Witherspoon for showing the millions of "American Idol" viewers nationwide that every step we take to improve the lives of children improves the lives of all of us. As CDF turns 35 this year, we could not ask for a better birthday gift!

View a video of Reese Witherspoon's presentation during the broadcast.

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

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