Declaration for Dependants

Declaration for Dependants

As we prepare to celebrate our nation's Declaration of Independence critical programs for our dependent children hang in the balance. If you haven’t been following the latest developments, we are in crisis! Congress must vote to raise the debt ceiling by August 2nd, otherwise the government will default on its bills for the first time in history. Economists warn if the government defaults, the consequences would be catastrophic for the U.S. and global economies. Negotiations have stalled in Washington as Republicans have drawn a line in the sand by demanding massive spending cuts with no new taxes. Democrats have demanded a shared sacrifice with fewer spending cuts to programs serving the most vulnerable and increased contributions from the richest Americans and corporations. The clock is ticking for America’s children who depend on food through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, healthcare through Medicaid, early learning through Head Start, and other crucial programs to survive and thrive.

Yesterday, in a news conference President Obama challenged Congressional leadership to make “responsible” deficit reduction choices, and starkly defined those choices, “Before we ask our seniors to pay more for health care, before we cut our children’s education, before we sacrifice our commitments to the research and innovation that will create more jobs in the economy, I think it is only fair to ask an oil company or a corporate jet owner that has done so well, to give up that tax break that no other business enjoys.”

Earlier this week, CDF President Marian Wright Edelman joined with the leaders of prominent national religious, civil rights, charitable, economic research, and low-income advocacy organizations to call on executive and congressional leadership to honor the precedent set by previous negotiations that have reduced the deficit without increasing poverty. CDF is seeking a budget agreement that will protect children from all budget cuts, invest in children to strengthen the nation’s economic future, and ensure that the richest individuals and corporations contribute their fair share. Read the letter and stay up-to-date through our Children’s Budget Watch. We will need your help soon in this fight. America’s children are depending on you. Stay tuned.

Closing The Achievement Gap Before It Starts

Marian Wright Edelman addresses the symposium

On June 14th, over 350 leading educators, researchers and policy experts gathered in Washington, D.C., to confront the crisis facing many of our nation’s school children, particularly the 3.5 million Black boys between the ages of 0 to 9. Co-convened by CDF and the Educational Testing Service (ETS), the symposium entitled, A Strong Start: Positioning Young Black Boys For Educational Success examined startling research and discussed effective policies and innovative programs that help close the daunting achievement gap. Described by Michael Nettles of ETS as an “unwelcomed guest that arrives early and stays late,” the achievement gap between Black boys and their White peers exists soon after birth and continues throughout childhood. The message was clear, we must invest in the early years, before birth, in the cradle, and in quality Pre-K programs seamlessly connected to the third grade year. One of the featured programs was the CDF Freedom Schools® program.

Getting Black boys off to a strong start begins with building academic as well as solid social and emotional skills so that they have the foundation to be proficient learners in the early grades. “Children live up or down to our expectations,” said Marian Wright Edelman during her call to action. Ensuring that Black boys live up to their potential and our expectations begins by ensuring that they have a strong start. For more information and video, click here.

Making the Case for Full-Day Kindergarten

CDF is launching a new portion of our Web site to make the case for full-day kindergarten (FDK). For many young children FDK is a broken step in the early learning continuum. Unequal access to publicly funded, full-day and full-week high quality kindergarten programs means too many young children lose a critical opportunity to develop and strengthen skills necessary for success in school and lifelong learning. The advantage of FDK was highlighted at our symposium in June. All children should be guaranteed access to publicly funded, full-day kindergarten if they are to meet the learning and work-force challenges of the 21st century. Watch videos and learn about all the benefits from national leaders in early childhood development.

From Freedom Rides to Freedom Schools

<EM>CDF Freedom Schools</EM>

The CDF Freedom Schools® program recently held its 17th Ella Baker Child Policy Training Institute (June 3 -11, 2011) at the CDF Haley Farm. Over 1,200 college students and young adult program administrators participated in this annual event. Educators, civil rights veterans and an auxiliary faculty including Mrs. Myrlie Evers-Williams, Chair Emeritus of the NAACP, and Mr. Wade Henderson, CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, addressed the servant leader sharing their passion, wisdom and support for the CDF Freedom Schools program. Mr. Byron Pitts, CBS news correspondent and author, delivered the standing ovation graduation address. Programming during the nine-day training for the servant leaders included a special celebration of the 50th anniversary of the 1961 Freedom Rides. Dr. Charles Payne, University of Chicago professor and Chief Education Officer for the Chicago Public Schools, moderated a panel of original Freedom Riders who engaged the servant leaders after viewing Stanley Nelson’s documentary Freedom Riders.

Step Up for Children

Watch this video of the young people at the training talk about the importance of stepping up for children in their community.

The CDF Freedom Schools program provides summer and after-school enrichment that helps children fall in love with reading, increases their self-esteem, and generates more positive attitudes toward learning. Children are taught using a model Integrated Reading Curriculum that supports children and families around five essential components: high quality academic enrichment, parent and family involvement, civic engagement and social action, intergenerational servant leadership development, and nutrition, health and mental health. This summer, we expect to serve over 9,500 children at 151 program sites in 87 cities and 27 states. Our goal is to double the number of children served in CDF Freedom Schools programs over the next three years. Our mission to address the needs of low-income children and especially Black and Hispanic children is more important now than ever.

Please contact Dr. Jeanne Middleton-Hairston, National Director for CDF Freedom Schools ( or visit our Web site for more information on how to bring a CDF Freedom Schools program to your community or to make a contribution to support our work.

Dozens of Dynamic Workshops at Proctor Institute

It’s not too late to register for the 2011 Samuel DeWitt Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry to be held July 18-22, 2011, at CDF Haley Farm in Clinton, Tenn. Don’t miss this opportunity to be inspired, informed, and equipped for effective faith-based efforts to serve and advocate for children.

Dozens of dynamic, interactive workshops offered at the Proctor Institute have just been announced. Check out the array of small group sessions where you will:

  • gain new models to effectively serve children and families in your congregation and community;
  • learn innovative approaches to foster care, dismantling the Cradle to Prison Pipeline, and closing the education achievement gap;
  • join in movement-building discussions and strategy sessions, including documentary screening and discussion with Civil Rights Movement leader Rev. C.T. Vivian;
  • acquire new advocacy and organizing skills to create change for children from the local to the national level;
  • get plugged into CDF programs and efforts like CDF Freedom Schools program and National Observance of Children’s Sabbaths®;
  • “continue the conversation” in a small, interactive setting with our nationally noted plenary speakers including Fr. Greg Boyle of Homeboy Industries, multi-faith organizing panelists, and speakers from the foster care panel including young alumni of the foster care system.

Learn more about this year’s Proctor Institute and sign-up today!

Happy 45th Anniversary Medicaid!

Forty-five years ago, the Medicaid program was born. Since then, Medicaid, together with the Children’s Health Insurance program, has brought comprehensive and affordable health coverage to hundreds of millions of the most vulnerable children across the country. Today, Medicaid and CHIP insure one in three children living in America. These cost effective and vital programs are at-risk. Help us protect the programs, arm yourself with the facts, check out Medicaid Myths and Medicaid Works for Children and for America!