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Monthly Newsletter - April 2009

Call to Action: Live Webcast with CDF President Marian Wright Edelman

Marian Wright Edelman Momentum is building—the next few weeks provide our nation with an unprecedented opportunity to make critical changes to our broken health care system. Our goal is to provide affordable, comprehensive health coverage to everyone this year—especially children.

Join CDF President Marian Wright Edelman and other child advocates for a live webcast and learn how you can step up and take action at this crucial time for our nation. Mrs. Edelman's speaking engagements are powerful experiences that change lives. Don't miss this exciting event!

May 12 at 3:00 p.m. EST/12:00 p.m. PST
RSVP today and submit a question for
Mrs. Edelman to answer during the webcast.

Thank You! Congress Passes a Transformative Budget for Children and Families

budgetThanks in part to your calls and emails to your Members of Congress over the past few weeks, the transformative federal budget Congress passed yesterday supports unprecedented investments for children and families. This budget resolution takes critical steps toward long-overdue health reform, including health coverage for every child in America. It also supports essential investments in refundable tax credits for families with children, early childhood development, education, and quality home visitation programs that promote healthy child development and school readiness and prevent child abuse and neglect.

Thank you for stepping up, taking action and truly making a difference in the lives of children and in the lives of all of us.

CDF's New Website: Tell Us What You Think!

SurveyBy now, if you are a regular visitor, you've noticed we've recently redesigned it. A year ago, with input from hundreds of website users like you, we began our redesign with the goal of creating a website that enabled visitors to easily learn about CDF's issue advocacy programs, products and what users can do to step forward and take action for all of America's children.

We hope this new website does just that.

However, websites are always evolving and we want to continue to make our website work for you. So, as we did at this time last year, we’d like to learn more about you, the user of our website, and what you think of the new redesigned site. Please tell us what you think by answering our short survey (it should take less than five minutes to complete).

Support the Leaders of Tomorrow

YALT program
"I was motivated by my peers to bring justice to children because if no one will stand for them, then youth will stand up for children!"
~ Brandon Stewart, Emory University, Atlanta, GA

Each year, CDF's Young Advocate Leadership Training (YALTSM) program attracts hundreds of young adults from across the country to participate in an intensive three-day training to develop community organizing and advocacy skills to improve the lives of children in America. This year, 116 young adults from 33 states and Washington, DC attended the YALT program and were trained in organizing communities and campuses around health care reform in 2009, especially for children. Participants developed their own customized action plans to organize a variety of activities to support health reform such as meeting with elected officials, letter writing campaigns, petition drives, rallies and collecting personal stories to deliver to elected officials.

Help CDF continue to train and cultivate the next generation of leaders and make a profound impact on the lives of children in America, by making a donation today.


CDF Joins Forces with National Civil Rights Groups to Advocate for Children

Earlier this month, to commemorate National Minority Health Month, leading civil rights groups, including the Asian American Justice Center (AAJC), the Children's Defense Fund (CDF), the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), and the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), announced a new partnership during a briefing on Capitol Hill to outline how to realize America’s promise of covering all children, ensuring that the millions of uninsured and underinsured children are not forgotten during the health care reform debate. The groups were joined by Neera Tanden, Counselor for Health Reform in the Office of the Secretary of Health and Human Services, where she is working on the President's health care reform plan.

The coalition is urging that health care reform legislation be seamless, comprehensive and affordable in order to make President Obama’s promise of coverage for all children in America a reality in 2009. Visit our website to learn more about this unprecedented partnership.

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

children's sabbaths manual vol 18Create Change for Children Today: Bring Hope and a Better Tomorrow, a multi-faith resource for year-round child advocacy is now available for faith communities. Unite with thousands of congregations across our nation and plan your National Observance of Children's Sabbaths celebration today!


CDF's "Children Need a Bailout Too" Video Wins!

children need a bailout tooEarlier this week, CDF learned that our video, "Children Need a Bailout Too," was the winner of the 2009 DoGooder TV Nonprofit Video Award! It was very exciting to hear the announcement (and have the video played!) in front of more than 1,300 attendees at the 2009 Nonprofit Technology Conference in San Francisco. A big thanks to all of the CDF supporters who voted for us!

CDF Is Now on Twitter!

twitterIn addition to finding CDF on Facebook, you can now join CDF and other child advocates on Twitter! Follow CDF and get the latest updates, stats and calls to action on how you can join CDF in ensuring a level playing field for all children. Send us a tweet too when you follow us and let us know why and how you are an advocate for children!

True Stories of Uninsured Children in Texas

In Harms Way ReportEarlier this month, CDF-Texas released In Harm's Way: True Stories of Uninsured Texas Children, a report that profiles the stories of uninsured children in 16 families across the state and documents the economic impact of high numbers of uninsured children on local property taxpayers, emergency rooms and businesses.

The stories and images are very moving and show the struggles facing working parents in diverse Texas communities. The report also identifies major problems with the state’s eligibility system that processes children’s health insurance applications as well as a general lack of affordable coverage options for families who are above the state's income eligibility limit—problems that are not unique to Texas alone.

After reading about the struggle these families and communities face, step up and take action! Email your Members of Congress and tell them to ensure health care reform includes health coverage for all children.

A Unique Opportunity for Rising Religious Leaders

The next generation of religious leaders is invited to step forward and take part in a special program: New Leaders: Joshua & Deborah Generation at the 15th Annual Samuel DeWitt Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry. New Leaders: Joshua & Deborah Generation affirms the important role that the next generation of religious leaders plays in the movement for children. In preparing to continue the mission of building the Blessed Community through the vocations of ministry and child advocacy, this experience will allow religious leaders of the Joshua & Deborah Generation to engage in meaningful dialogue and the exchange of ideas with each other and the wiser Moses & Miriam Generation.

Apply today for this unique opportunity. All applications must be received by Friday, May 25, 2009.

Watch Our Latest Great Teachers and Preachers Video

Rev. dr. CraddockEvery summer in July, some of our nation's most prophetic voices join hundreds of faith-based child advocates at CDF’s Haley Farm for the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry. The latest edition to CDF’s video collection of these great preachers and teachers is of Rev. Dr. Fred Craddock who led participants in Bible study each morning at last year’s Proctor Institute. During this session, Dr. Craddock asks whether or not God has too many children?

National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day

National Mental Health Awareness DayCDF is an official supporter of National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day, held May 7, 2009,  helps promotes positive youth development, resilience and recovery. The theme of this year’s Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day, Thriving in the Community, emphasizes how high school youths who receive the mental health services they need are more likely to have positive outcomes, such as better grades, and less likely to have negative outcomes, such as involvement with the juvenile and criminal justice systems. Better addressing the mental health needs of adolescents is central to CDF's Health Coverage for All Children Campaign and key to dismantling the pipeline to prison.

Learn more about the day's activities and what you can do to support it.

Washington, DC, Beat the Odds Program Now Accepting Applications

CDF's Beat the Odds program honors outstanding high school students who have overcome tremendous adversity, demonstrated academic excellence and given back to their communities. Started in 1990, the program identifies and rewards young people who have experienced great adversity in their lives and supports and trains them to become future adult leaders.

The Washington, DC, Beat the Odds program is now accepting applications from DC-area high school juniors. The deadline is June 5, 2009, so apply today! Read stories of past scholarship recipients and learn more about the program, scholarship eligibility and application requirements.

Youth Advocacy Day at the U.S. Capitol

Did you know that a Black boy born in 2001 has a one in three chance of going to prison in his lifetime? Join other child advocates on May 7, 2009, to rally on the Upper Senate Park of the U.S. Capitol for increased investment in youths and communities across the country. The rally will be followed by office visits to Congressional leaders to encourage support for Representative Robert C. "Bobby" Scott's Youth PROMISE Act. The Youth PROMISE Act is designed to assist communities facing the greatest youth gang and crime challenges by developing and implementing comprehensive, evidence-based prevention and intervention strategies to make communities safer, reduce victimization, and help at risk youths lead productive lives that are free from criminal involvement. For more information about the event, contact Congressman Scott's office at (202) 225-8351.

Learn more about the Youth PROMISE Act and what you can do to dismantle the pipeline to prison.

New Resource for Health Disparities in Ohio

The Face of Health Disparities Among Children in OhioThe Face of Health Disparities Among Children in Ohio, a new issue brief released by the CDF-Ohio KIDS COUNT program, exposes the significant health disparities and inequitable access to health care among Ohio’s racial minority and low-income children. According to the report, women from the most impoverished counties in Ohio are giving birth to low birthweight babies at the highest rate. Disproportionately, these children also experience a higher incidence of disease, poor oral health, childhood obesity and unmet mental health needs.

This issue brief examines trends in health outcomes among children in Ohio, highlights the barriers to an equitable system of care, and provides an overview of four key strategies to help ensure all children and pregnant women in Ohio have access to comprehensive health care.

CDF-MN Presses to Expand Children's Health Coverage at U.S. Senate Forum

Jim Koppel (L) and Senator Klobuchar (R)CDF-MN Director Jim Koppel discussed the importance of efforts to provide health coverage for all children in Minnesota and across the country at a recent forum sponsored by U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar at the University of Minnesota. Koppel told the Senator and the nearly 100 audience members that the recent expansion of the federal Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) would still leave millions of children in Minnesota and across the country without coverage. He urged passage of comprehensive health care reform this year in Congress.

The effort by Jim Koppel is in addition to the work CDF-MN is doing to expand children’s health coverage during the current Minnesota state legislative session.

Join CDF-MN in stepping up and taking action and tell your Members of Congress to provide affordable, comprehensive health coverage to everyone this year—especially children.

New York State Budget Is a Step Forward for Children

Justice Mapping Center - NY MapCDF-NY's recent summit, "Connecting the Neighborhood-based Dots: Promoting Solutions to Dismantle the Pipeline to Prison," is already having an impact on juvenile justice policy in New York. The state budget, passed in early April, included $5 million in new money for alternatives to detention with the directive that this funding be invested in the state’s highest need neighborhoods. The New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, the state agency drafting the request for proposals for this funding, requested the maps that were presented at the summit to ensure their grants are targeted to communities most affected by youth incarceration. These maps dramatically depicted the geographic concentrations of poverty, racial segregation, failing schools, high school suspensions, disconnected youth, foster care placement and juvenile detention.

The New York State budget also included important changes to the enrollment process for public health insurance that will make it easier for working families to enroll. CDF-NY has long advocated for these important simplifications that will go a long way in decreasing the number of uninsured children and adults in New York.

To learn more about CDF's Cradle to Prison Pipeline Campaign and to find out how you can step up and take action in your community please visit our website.

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The Children's Defense Fund's Leave No Child Behind mission is to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start, and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities.