As of press time, the President and Congress have not agreed on a course of action to ensure America does not default on its bills. The countdown to the August 2nd deadline continues. But as CDF’s The State of America’s Children 2011 shows, we’ve already defaulted on our promise to our children today. Children are the poorest age group: one in five children live in poverty, and every 32 seconds another child is born poor. Homelessness among preschoolers increased 43 percent in the past two school years. Millions of children are without the health coverage they need to survive and thrive. More than 60 percent of fourth, eighth and 12th grade public school students, and nearly 80 percent or more Black and Hispanic students in these grades are reading or doing math below grade level. Make no mistake: children are falling further behind and we’ve already defaulted on our responsibility to level the playing field for every child.
Yet, the threats facing children—already unprecedented—continue to mount as Congress looks for ways to lower the budget deficit. That’s why we asked you to do something we’ve never asked before and sent you multiple alerts in the same week asking you to take action. Thank you for stepping up for children. The good news is 40 members of Congress responded to your calls by sending a letter to congressional leadership and President Obama asking them to spare our children from all budget cuts including Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance program.
There are new developments almost hourly as Congress debates proposals to save the nation from default. The two leading proposals at this moment are disappointing as both make only budget cuts without asking the wealthiest Americans and corporations to contribute to reducing the deficit. It should be unthinkable that our government would cut programs that invest in children while the rich and rich corporations in America are not asked to pay their fair share!
Our work is far from over. In the coming weeks and months, your congressional lawmakers need to continue to hear that your priorities are babies, not billionaires; and children, not corporations. Our children must not be sacrificial lambs on the altar of adult politics. For more details about specific plans and Congressional action, please visit our Children’s Budget Watch page.
Justice, Justice Shall You Pursue
Prime your congregation to make a difference for children all year long. Join with the thousands of faith communities that are planning for the National Observance of Children’s Sabbaths® weekend, October 17-19. The Children’s Sabbaths brings together Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Bahá’í communities, as well as multi-faith coalitions that will lift up children in need and answer their own faith tradition’s call to pursue justice. The Children’s Sabbaths is one more way to organize around the budget battles that are placing our children directly in harm’s way.
Download this year’s Children’s Sabbaths resource manual, “Justice, Justice Shall You Pursue: Answering God’s Call to Nurture and Protect Children”, which provides all you need for planning a service and advocacy in your house of worship.
Join Us At the September 15th GrandRally!
Grandparents play a crucial part in many children’s lives. But for more than 940,000 grandchildren, grandparents step in and raise them without their parents present. One in five grandparents raising grandchildren lives in poverty. Grandparents often have to stretch and struggle to give their grandchildren what they need. On September 15th, hundreds of caregivers will gather at the U.S. Capitol for the Fourth National GrandRally for Grandparents and Other Relatives Raising Children. CDF is co-sponsoring the event with AARP, Generations United, Child Welfare League of America, GrandFamilies of America and the National Committee of Grandparents for Children’s Rights. The 1:00 p.m. program featuring national leaders including members of Congress, kinship caregivers and their children and others will celebrate the incredible role these grandparents and other relatives play for children. Caregivers will meet with their senators and representatives to share facts about kinship care, the inter-generational lifeline many of them receive through Social Security, and the additional help they need. Learn more and sign-up to join us for the GrandRally.
CDF Freedom Schools® Program’s National Day of Social Action
Earlier this month, thousands of CDF Freedom Schools young leaders and students marched and rallied, made signs, wrote letters, and called on leaders to protect education from federal budget cuts that pose great harm to children.
Artwork prepared for Congressional members by CDF Freedom Schools scholar Shaniya Montgomery, 14 years-old, Riverdale, Md.
In Columbus, Ohio, Lamar Graham shared his story with community leaders and the local press. He grew up in foster care for eight years and said he was placed with “too many families to count,” but that the experiences gave him an “inner strength to better not only my life, but others’.” Now a graduate of Columbus State Community College and Wilberforce University, Graham said, “I never would have been able to go to college without Pell grants. If you cut educational funding, it’s like the foundation: if there is no foundation, the house can’t stand.” Lamar and all the other young leaders and children who participated believe they can make a difference with your help! We were thrilled to have National Day of Social Action events with our 151 CDF Freedom School sites, in 87 cities across 27 states. Watch video of a site in Maryland reading their letters aloud, nightly news coverage of Lamar and the children in Ohio, and engage your own community in the letter writing campaign by utilizing this easy template.
The State of America’s Children
How much do you know about the state of America's children? Find out with our new quiz which accompanies the interactive report “The State of America’s Children 2011.” Also be sure to read Marian Wright Edelman’s recent Child Watch® Column of the same name and to share it with your network to help spread the alarming news of our children in jeopardy.