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Monthly Newsletter - May 2009

Two Ways to Keep the Momentum Going!

Help Ensure Every Child in America has Health CoverageYour efforts are paying off! We're excited to report that momentum for real health reform—especially reform for children—is building, thanks to advocates like you who are stepping up and taking action. Your voices are being heard on Capitol Hill, but there’s more to be done!

In the next few weeks, the Congress will be introducing and debating health care reform legislation that will shape our nation's health care system. We are thrilled that Congress is listening to child advocates like you—preliminary reports indicate that the legislation they are drafting could strengthen children's health coverage in the United States significantly!

This is a strong step forward towards our goal of ensuring every child in America has comprehensive health coverage, but it is now more important than ever that your Members of Congress hear you loud and clear! As states are facing tough budget choices, programs for children—including child health coverage— are often on the chopping block. Just this week, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed to address their state’s budget deficit in part by completely eliminating a program which provides more than 900,000 California children with health coverage—adding to the 700,000 children already without health coverage in the state.

There are two things you can do today to make sure Congress does the job right and includes child-appropriate health coverage for all children in health care reform, so that children aren't on the chopping block:

1. Email your Members of Congress and urge them to write an op-ed. Op-eds (opinion pieces in newspapers)—especially those written by Members of Congress are a great way to raise awareness about children's health coverage. Colorado Congresswoman Diane DeGette's recent op-ed in The Hill is a great example. Send an email to your Members of Congress today and urge them to write an op-ed for your local paper!

2. Host or attend a health care organizing kick-off. On June 6, in thousands of homes across the country, Organizing for America will gather to launch their grassroots campaign for health care. The events will include a live conference call with President Obama, discussing plans for winning health care reform and putting those plans into action. Join one of these events and be the voice for children! Learn more about the event and how you can host or find an event in your area.

CDF Analysis of the Obama Administration’s Budget Request

President ObamaThe Obama Administration's budget request for the fiscal year 2010 signals a new national commitment to children, families and America's future. The policies and funding changes proposed make clear that the President understands that investing in children now will ensure a more stable economy and a healthier, more competitive workforce for the future.

To better understand what the budget proposals mean for children, CDF has provided an overview of the budget, broken down by issue area, and provides information on some areas where more attention is needed. Read more about CDF's analysis of the President's budget request.

Mother's Day Children's Health Reform Child Watch Day

Jessica Alba and Keri Russell at Unity Cardozo ClinicIn honor of Mother's Day, a group of prominent Hollywood women—including Jessica Alba, Regina King, Keri Russell, Jurnee Smollett, Ali Wentworth and others—joined CDF President Marian Wright Edelman and Michelle Fenty, attorney and Washington, DC, First Lady, on a children's health reform Child Watch day in Washington, DC. They were joined by families from Texas, Virginia and Montana who spoke about the struggles they've faced trying to get their children the health coverage they need. (Mrs. Edelman discussed the Hebert family and La Croix family in her recent Child Watch Columns)

The group conducted a CDF Child Watch visit to the Unity Health Care Upper Cardozo Clinic in Columbia Heights, where they met children at the clinic and held a roundtable discussion with health care providers and working families from across the country about the difficulties in accessing quality affordable health care for their children. The women shared these experiences when they met administration officials and Congressional leaders later in the day to ask for guaranteed quality affordable health care for all children as part of the health reform legislation being drafted this month.

View pictured from the event.

Supreme Court Nominee Provides Inspiration to Children

This week, Judge SotomayorCDF President Marian Wright Edelman issued the following statement regarding the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor:

"As the first Latina person nominated to serve on the Supreme Court, Judge Sonia Sotomayor's selection to fill the seat of retiring Justice David Souter represents a genuinely historic moment. Through dedication, perseverance and hard work, Judge Sotomayor has overcome significant adversity to excel in her professional life—a perfect example of someone who truly 'beat the odds.'

"I know that for countless young people across our nation—especially children of color or those struggling just to get by—Judge Sotomayor's nomination to fill a vacant seat on the Supreme Court is as magnificent a professional milestone as it is an inspiration to children who share her roots and childhood journey."

Learn more about her nomination and view a photo slideshow of her life on the White House’s website.

Child Advocate Receives Foster Club 2009 Young Leaders Award

Lily Dormon-ColbyLily Eagle Dorman-Colby, an attendee of this year's Young Advocate Leadership Training (YALTSM) program at CDF Haley Farm and a junior at Yale University, was recently awarded the Foster Club's 2009 Young Leaders Award for her outstanding work as a child advocate. Removed from her biological parent’s home at the age of 12, Lily subsequently lived in five different placements. She emancipated from the foster care system at 18 and has become a dynamic and accomplished leader.

Lily had this to say about her recent child advocacy efforts:

"As a passionate child advocate I organized a group of former foster youth in the Orphan Foundation of America Intern America Program and the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute to put together amendments for Senator Dodd's office to review. Members of our group met with his and Senator Edward Kennedy’s staff on our proposals. These proposals included provisions that would require states to allow every child to have an attorney and provisions that would require states to track foster youth outcomes in the years after emancipation. The bill is yet to be authorized, but we have had continual correspondence from Dodd's office signaling that when it is authorized, it may contain one or more of our amendments."

CDF congratulates Lily for stepping forward and taking action to improve the lives of children.

How the United Nations Can Help Protect the Well-Being of Children in the U.S.

Convention on the Rights of the ChildThe United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is an international convention setting out the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of children. Nations that ratify this international convention are bound to it by international law and countries that have ratified the CRC are required to report on their progress on implementation of the CRC and the status of child rights in their country. Unfortunately, the United States has yet to join the 193 countries that have ratified the CRC.

Because of this, the Campaign for U.S. Ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child was created to bring about U.S. ratification and implementation of the CRC. Next week, the Campaign is hosting a National Convention in Washington, DC to address the CRC's impact on children in the US and CDF President Marian Wright Edelman will be one of the lead speakers.

To learn more about the National Symposium and how you can step up and take action to urge the U.S. to ratify the CRC, please visit the Campaign for U.S. Ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child's website.

Texas Study Offers Solutions to Dismantling the Pipeline in Prison

Dismantling the Cradle to Prison Pipeline ReportA recent report, Dismantling the Cradle to Prison Pipeline in Houston and Texas: A Study of Solutions, documents promising approaches that are effectively shutting down the pipeline to prison for poor and minority children by focusing on prevention and early intervention. These programs create a more positive future for young people and save taxpayers by avoiding the costs of incarceration.

The report and accompanying power point presentation, produced by the American Leadership Forum Houston/Gulf Coast Chapter, can be found on the American Leadership Forum's website.

Looking for a Graduation Gift or Good Summer Read?

The Sea Is So Wide and My Boat Is So SmallCDF President Marian Wright Edelman's newest book, The Sea Is So Wide and My Boat Is So Small: Charting a Course for the Next Generation, is an inspiring call to action for all Americans to address the urgent needs of the country’s youth. The book provides a great message of hope during this difficult economic time. This book is a great addition to your summer reading list or as a gift for a recent graduate.

Purchase your copy today at CDF's online store.


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

SurveyBy now, if you are a regular visitor to our website, 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).

2009, Children's Defense Fund, 25 E Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001 | 1 (800) 233-1200 | Unsubscribe
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.