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NCJ Number: 52024 Find in a Library
Title: IN DEFENSE OF CHILDREN'S RIGHTS
Journal: CURRENT  Issue:202  Dated:(APRIL 1978)  Pages:16-20
Author(s): M W EDELMAN
Corporate Author: Helen Dwight Reid Educational Foundation (HELDREF)
United States of America
Date Published: 1978
Page Count: 5
Sponsoring Agency: Helen Dwight Reid Educational Foundation (HELDREF)
Washington, DC 20016
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: STRATEGIES FOR CHILD ADVOCACY ARE OUTLINED BY THE DIRECTOR OF THE CHILDREN'S DEFENSE FUND (CDF), A NATIONAL GROUP SEEKING TO PROVIDE SYSTEMATIC ADVOCACY FOR CHILDREN.
Abstract: CDF IDENTIFIES PROBLEMS THAT SERIOUSLY AFFECT LARGE NUMBERS OF CHILDREN AND RAISES ISSUES LEADING TO INSTITUTIONAL REFORMS. THE ORGANIZATION HAS PUBLISHED REPORTS ON CHILDREN OUT OF SCHOOL, CHILDREN IN ADULT JAILS, CHILDREN WHO LACK HEALTH CARE, AND CHILDREN WITHOUT HOMES. THESE REPORTS CONFIRM THE WIDESPREAD FAILURE OF EDUCATIONAL, JUVENILE JUSTICE, HEALTH CARE, AND CHILD WELFARE SYSTEMS TO MEET THE NEEDS OF CHILDREN. CDF REPORTS OFFER RECOMMENDATIONS FOR REFORM AT THE FEDERAL, STATE, LOCAL, AND COMMUNITY LEVELS. A GREAT DEAL OF PUBLIC EDUCATION ABOUT THE UNMET NEEDS OF CHILDREN AND FAMILIES IS REQUIRED. AN EQUAL, IF NOT GREATER, NEED INVOLVES HELPING PARENTS, CITIZENS, ADVOCATES, AND POLICYMAKERS LEARN HOW TO BRING ABOUT CHANGE FOR CHILDREN. AFTER SEVEN WHITE HOUSE CONFERENCES ON CHILDREN AND COUNTLESS REPORTS AND SPEECHES ON CHILDREN'S PROBLEMS, CHILDREN REMAIN THE POOREST, MOST UNDERREPRESENTED AND UNDERSERVED GROUP IN THE UNITED STATES. THERE HAS BEEN AN ABSENCE OF SUSTAINED, SOPHISTICATED ADVOCACY ON BEHALF OF CHILDREN. TOO MANY POLICYMAKERS VIEW CHILDREN'S ADVOCATES AS 'DO-GOODERS' RATHER THAN AS MEMBERS OF A VIABLE, ORGANIZED CONSTITUENCY. CHILDREN'S ADVOCATES MUST CHANGE THIS PERCEPTION BY MOUNTING EFFECTIVE POLITICAL ACTION. IT IS NECESSARY TO RECOGNIZE THAT CHANGE MUST BE FOUGHT FOR, THAT EVERYTHING CANNOT BE ACCOMPLISHED AT ONCE, AND THAT REQUESTS MUST BE SPECIFIC. ADVOCATES NEED TO BE WELL PREPARED BEFORE ASKING POLICYMAKERS, POLITICIANS, AND COMMUNITY GROUPS TO ACT. CHANGES IN THE GROUND RULES AND ROLES FOR ADVOCATES MUST BE UNDERSTOOD. ADVOCATES MUST INJECT THEMSELVES INTO GOVERNMENT BUDGETARY PROCESSES, TAKE THE OFFENSE, AND ESTABLISH A POWERFUL, FLEXIBLE NETWORK THAT CAN WORK EFFECTIVELY FOR CHILDREN. CDF HAS BEGUN AN ANALYSIS OF CHILDREN'S ISSUES THAT WILL SERVE AS THE BASIS FOR THE ORGANIZATION'S LEGISLATIVE AND ADMINISTRATIVE AGENDA. SHORTER TERM CDF GOALS INCLUDE EXPANSION OF THE HEAD START PROGRAM, PASSAGE OF LEGISLATION TO PROVIDE BETTER HEALTH SCREENING AND TREATMENT FOR MEDICAID-ELIGIBLE CHILDREN, AND PASSAGE OF A BILL TO REFORM THE FOSTER CARE SYSTEM. THERE ARE FOUR REASONS TO PAY MORE ATTENTION TO CHILDREN'S NEEDS: CHILDREN ARE THE NATION'S FUTURE, A PREVENTION STRATEGY AIMED AT THE YOUNG IS MORE HUMANE AND LESS EXPENSIVE THAN A TREATMENT STRATEGY FOR ADULTS, THE NATIONAL RESPONSE TO CHILDREN AND OTHER VULNERABLE GROUPS UNABLE TO BE ENTIRELY SELF-RELIANT IS A REAL TEST OF NATIONAL DECENCY, AND CHILDREN'S NEEDS ARE URGENT AND CANNOT WAIT. (LKM)
Index Term(s): Childrens Defense Fund; Youth advocacy organizations; Youth advocates
Note: YALE ALUMNI MAGAZINE AND JOURNAL, FEBRUARY 1978, P 14-16
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http://www.ncjrs.gov/App/publications/abstract.aspx?ID=52024

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