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Children's Defense Fund

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Children's Defense Fund
Monthly Newsletter


35th Anniversary

Supreme Court's Decision Strikes Down Handgun Ban Critical to Protecting Children & Teens

Protect Children Not Guns 2008CDF is disappointed with the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent decision to strike down Washington, D.C.'s decades-old handgun ban (District of Columbia v. Heller). Laws such as the D.C. ban not only provide reasonable restrictions, but also are critical to protecting children and teens who are extremely vulnerable to gun violence, as highlighted by CDF's recently released report, Protect Children, Not Guns, which tracks the first increase in the number of gun deaths among children and teens since 1994.

In addition to learning more about the latest stats in CDF's report, including how many children and teens died in your state from firearms, you can also learn more about how you can step up and take action to protect children and teens from gun violence.

The High Cost of Health Care: How Much Do You Know?

health cost quizYou know how fast gas prices are rising. And the rising cost of food is evident every time you go to the grocery store. But do you know how fast health care is becoming unaffordable? It may be less obvious than prices at the pump, but it is squeezing family budgets and jeopardizing their access to care.

In the current economy, being insured is no longer a guarantee that families, and particularly children, can get the health care they need. Families are struggling to meet health expenses that are much higher than they used to be — often because of some combination of higher premiums and fewer benefits. Too often, health coverage for children is simply out of reach.

Test your knowledge about the cost of health coverage by taking our quiz.

Step Up and Be Part of CDF's Cradle to Prison Pipeline Campaign

Cradle to Prison Pipeline CampaignCDF's Cradle to Prison Pipeline Campaign is a national call to action to stop the funneling of thousands of children and teens down life paths that often lead to arrest, conviction, incarceration and even death. Disparate educational opportunities, intolerable abuse and neglect and ineffective juvenile justice systems are prominent examples of systems that fuel the Pipeline. Below are two opportunities to step up and take action today to dismantle the Pipeline and help solve this problem.

Action #1: The Stop Child Abuse in Residential Programs for Teens Act of 2008 passed in the House of Representatives last week. The bill will protect thousands of youth against physical and mental abuse by employees of private and public residential programs, such as boarding schools, wilderness camps, boot camps, and behavior modification facilities. The maltreatment of youth in residential programs is a nationwide problem, but solvable. This legislation takes a step in the right direction toward protecting our children. Find out if your Representative voted in favor of this legislation and send them an email thanking them for their support.

Action #2: Last week, the House of Representatives also passed the Fostering Connections to Success Act marking a significant step toward protecting children in foster care from abuse and neglect. The bill will help ensure permanent families for these children who are being raised by relative guardians, provide notice to relatives when a child enters foster care, offer grants to help connect children with relatives to the supports they need, and require steps to help ensure that siblings will be placed together in foster care. Action is now needed in the Senate where similar bills (S. 661 and S. 3038) are pending. Please call your Senators (1-888-226-0627) and urge them to support children being raised by grandparents and other relatives now by voting for the Kinship Caregiver Support Act (S. 661) and the Improved Adoption Incentives and Relative Guardianship Support Act (S. 3038).

Victory! Vital Children's Health Coverage Protected Thanks to You

Medicaid Regulations BlockedLast year, President Bush's administration issued damaging Medicaid regulations that would result in children, especially children in foster care and children with disabilities, losing vital programs and services and would force states to make drastic cuts to Medicaid or other social service programs. Yesterday, President Bush was forced to sign a bill that blocks those same regulations his administration issued from going into effect for one year!

This victory is in large part due to activists like you who have been calling on Congress for months to take action to block these regulations that threaten Medicaid's vital health services for our nation's most vulnerable children. Your voices have been heard, your perseverance has paid off and we can't thank you enough for stepping up and taking action!

Unfortunately, we can't forget that this victory does not move us forward—it merely prevents damaging steps backwards. With 9.4 million children in America uninsured, simply preserving the status quo is not enough! Join CDF's Healthy Child Campaign and its growing number of supporters in calling on Congress to act now to cover all children and pregnant women. With a child born uninsured every 41 seconds, we don't have a moment to lose!

New video! Learn more about CDF's Healthy Child Campaign as CDF's General Counsel Susan Gates talks with kaisernetwork.org about the importance of covering all children in their Viewpoints: The Health Care Debate series.

The Sea Is So Wide and My Boast Is So SmallNew Book Out This Fall from CDF President Marian Wright Edelman

CDF President and the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Measure of Our Success, Marian Wright Edelman, will release her new book, The Sea Is So Wide and My Boat Is So Small: Charting a Course for the Next Generation, in September 2008. Mrs. Edelman's new book will be a look at what's been done and what still needs to be done to make our world safe and fair for all children.

Sign up to receive an email notification when the book is available for purchase.

College Students Gather to Strengthen Child Advocacy Skills

CDF Freedom Schools trainingThe CDF Freedom Schools program kicked off this summer with their annual Ella Baker Child Policy Training Institute 2008 National Training. Nearly 1,100 college students gathered at CDF's Haley Farm in Tennessee for this year's training with the theme highlighting the Cradle to Prison Pipeline crisis. Students attended a variety of workshops that focused on health issues, conflict resolution, nonviolent communication and music therapy. Some notable guests included civil rights leaders Carolyn McKinistry, Hollis Watkins, Charlie Cobb, Lawrence Guyot and Dr. Bernard Lafayette; prominent legal theorist and educator Charles Ogletree, Jr.; critically acclaimed song writer and R&B vocalist Lyfe Jennings; and our keynote speaker, actress Jurnee Smollett, who recently appeared in the movie The Great Debaters. (Check out Lyfe Jennings' interview on "The Steve Harvey Morning Show" last week in which he talks about his experiences at this moving event.)

In addition to the CDF Freedom Schools sites that will operate throughout this summer, the CDF Freedom Schools program will be holding an event at the ESSENCE Music Festival on July 5th in New Orleans, Louisiana, and conducting a National Day of Social Action on July 11th with thousands of CDF Freedom Schools children around the country.

Multi-Faith Resource for Child Advocacy Now Available

Children's Sabbath Manual: Volume 17CDF has just released the latest edition of the National Observance of Children's Sabbaths Manual—a multi-faith resource for year-round child advocacy. This manual can assist your house of worship in planning a Children's Sabbath celebration during our National Observance of Children's Sabbath's Weekend, October 17-19, 2008, and provide ideas on ways congregations can work to improve the lives of children throughout the year. Order your copy today!

Thank You Virginia School Counselors Association!

VSCA logoThe Children's Defense Fund would like to extend a heartfelt "thank you" to the Virginia School Counselors Association (VSCA). Each year VSCA selects an organization to be the focus of its Human Rights and Social Justice Project, and this year, CDF was selected because of its longstanding advocacy work and outstanding commitment to children. Funds donated to CDF were raised at the annual VSCA conference by conference attendees, and the total amount raised was matched by VSCA. The mission of the VSCA is to actively promote excellence in the profession of school counseling and to provide member support through professional development, advocacy, leadership, accountability and collaboration. We are so thankful to VSCA for their generous donation, and as CDF turns 35 this year, we could not ask for a better birthday gift!

You can join VSCA in supporting CDF's efforts to be a voice for all children by making a donation today!

KIDS COUNT Data Book Released: Data on Well-Being of America's Children

KIDS COUNTThe Annie E. Casey Foundation's 19th annual KIDS COUNT Data Book, a national and state-by-state profile of the well-being of America's children, is now available. The Data Book ranks states on 10 key measures and provides data on the economic, health, education and social conditions of America's children and families. This year's KIDS COUNT Data Book essay, "A Road Map for Juvenile Justice Reform," looks at the nearly 100,000 children confined to juvenile facilities and what can be done to reduce unnecessary and inappropriate detention and incarceration and increase opportunities for positive youth development and community safety.

CDF-Minnesota and CDF-Ohio are part of the Annie E. Casey Foundation's KIDS COUNT Network, a nationwide network of state-level KIDS COUNT projects that provides a more detailed, community-by-community picture of the condition of children. Learn more about CDF-Minnesota and CDF-Ohio's KIDS COUNT projects.

CDF Launches Speakers Bureau

Every day CDF's talented advocates, educators, organizers, policy experts and other spokespeople use their voices to help lift children out of poverty, protect them from abuse and neglect, and ensure access to health care, quality education, and a moral and spiritual foundation to help them succeed. This year, in an effort to reach even more individuals and communities, CDF has launched a formal Speakers Bureau. The Speakers Bureau will connect a range of CDF's spokespeople and surrogates with the public and news media to help provide information on critical children's issue to new and diverse audiences.

In addition to providing background information about CDF's spokespeople, the Speakers Bureau also lists recent speaking engagements, interviews, articles, etc. Our most recent addition is Senior Policy Associate for Juvenile Justice, Lynn White's interview with Knowledge For Life on BlogTalk Radio about the Cradle to Prison Pipeline Campaign and juvenile justice issues.

CDF Takes "A Broader, Bolder Approach for Education"

Broader Bolder Approach for EducationEarlier this month, CDF signed on to "A Broader, Bolder Approach for Education" statement that marks the beginning of a long-term effort to persuade federal, state and local policy makers to consider a more enriching framework as they work to support every child. CDF supports high quality education for all, to help each child reach his or her full potential and succeed in work and life.

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

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