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The only truly happy man is always a fighting optimist. Optimism includes not only altruism but also social responsibility, social courage and objectivity.
—W. Beran Wolfe

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Children's Defense Fund

The Children's Defense Fund - Member of the Board of Directors


The Children's Defense Fund (CDF) is a non-profit child advocacy organization that has worked relentlessly for 35 years to ensure a level playing field for all children. The organization champions policies and programs that lift children out of poverty; protect them from abuse and neglect; and ensure their access to health care, quality education, and a moral and spiritual foundation. Supported by foundation and corporate grants and individual donations, CDF advocates nationwide on behalf of children to ensure children are always a priority.

The Children's Defense Fund's Leave No Child BehindŽ 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.

Policy Initiatives - Immediate Priorities for All Children:

In the richest nation on earth, nearly nine million children still are without health coverage and 13.3 million live in poverty - 5.8 million of them in extreme poverty. Through CDF's policy activities we are working to secure the future by investing in every child by supporting these six priorities for children:

  1. End Child Poverty
  2. Ensure Every Child and Pregnant Woman Access to Affordable, Seamless, Comprehensive Health and Mental Health Coverage and Services
  3. Provide High Quality Early Childhood Development Programs for All
  4. Ensure Every Child Can Read at Grade Level by Fourth Grade and Guarantee Quality Education through High School Graduation
  5. Protect Children from Abuse and Neglect and Connect Them to Caring Permanent Families
  6. Stop the Criminalization of Children at Increasingly Younger Ages and Invest in Prevention and Early Intervention

For more information on CDF's Policy Initiatives, please click here.

CDF Advocacy Campaigns:

Through our campaigns, our advocacy efforts continuously challenge our nation's elected officials to develop, fund and enact fair policy for children, mothers and families.

Cradle to Prison Pipeline® Campaign

CDF's Cradle to Prison Pipeline® Campaign is a national call to action to stop the funneling of tens of thousands of youth, predominantly minorities, down life paths that often lead to arrest, conviction, incarceration and, in some cases, death. Race and poverty are the major factors underpinning the Pipeline. For more information on the Cradle to Prison Pipeline Campaign, please click here.

Healthy Coverage for All Children Campaign

Nearly nine million children in America are uninsured-that's one in nine. The majority of uninsured children live in two-parent families; almost 90 percent have one working parent; and almost 90 percent are U.S. citizens. Healthy children are tomorrow's graduates and our nation's future workforce -- which is why it is crucial to ensure children have health coverage and get the care they need to maximize healthy development and reach their full potential in life. For more information on Healthy Coverage for All Children Campaign, please click here.

Katrina's Children Campaign

It is a national scandal that many children are stil plagued by the trauma of their horrific experiences of survival in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina. In March 2007, the Children's Defense Fund issued, Katrina's Children: Still Waiting, an update of the 2006 report, Katrina's Children: A Call to Conscience and Action. Katrina's Children: Still Waiting reported:

  • About 100,000 children still do not live where they did when the hurricane struck;
  • Only 55 public schools in New Orleans were open as of December 2006, 43 percent of the pre-Katrina number;
  • Before the hurricane, there were 3,200 physicians in Orleans Parish and surrounding parishes; CDF's report found only about 1,200 physicians there now.

For more information on Katrina's Children Campaign, please click here.

National Data:

Moments in America for Children:

  • Every second a public school student is suspended.*
  • Every 10 seconds a high school student drops out.*
  • Every 17 seconds a public school student is corporally punished.*
  • Every 25 seconds a child is arrested.
  • Every 35 seconds a baby is born into poverty
  • Every 36 seconds a child is confirmed as abused or neglected.
  • Every 41 seconds a baby is born without health insurance.
  • Every minute a baby is born to a teen mother.
  • Every 2 minutes a baby is born at low birthweight.
  • Every 5 minutes a child is arrested for a drug offense.
  • Every 9 minutes a child is arrested for a violent crime.
  • Every 18 minutes a baby dies before his first birthday.
  • Every 3 hours a child or teen is killed by a firearm.
  • Every 5 hours a child or teen commits suicide.
  • Every 6 hours a child is killed by abuse or neglect.
  • Every 14 hours a woman dies from complications of childbirth or pregnancy.

Each Day in America

  • 2 mothers die from complications of pregnancy or childbirth.
  • 4 children are killed by abuse or neglect.
  • 5 children or teens commit suicide.
  • 8 children or teens are killed by firearms.
  • 32 children or teens die from accidents.
  • 78 babies die before their first birthdays.
  • 155 children are arrested for violent crimes.
  • 296 children are arrested for drug crimes.
  • 928 babies are born at low birthweight.
  • 1,154 babies are born to teen mothers.
  • 1,511 public school students are corporally punished.*
  • 2,145 babies are born without health insurance.
  • 2,467 high school students drop out.*
  • 2,421 children are confirmed as abused or neglected.
  • 2,483 babies are born into poverty.
  • 3,477 children are arrested.
  • 18,221 public school students are suspended.

For more information on National Data, please click here.

To learn more about The Children's Defense Fund and to advocate on behalf of America's children, please visit

Angel Project of the Month

Target Target Gives $1 Million
to The Salvation Army

Malaak and Chris Rock Announce Gift at the Opening of The Bushwick Salvation Army Community Center's Newly Transformed Library

Angel of the Month

Read about Ken Fredman, web developer and marketing executive in Manhattan.

Angel Interview of the Month

Read about Pam Cope, co-founder of the Touch A Life Foundation, in Dallas, TX.

Angel Organizations of the Month

The Denise Amber Lee Foundation
National Organization of the Month

Coaltion to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers
International Organization of the Month

Angel Book of the Month

Stones into Schools: Promoting Peace with Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan by Greg Mortenson

Angel Website of the Month

FINCA International provides financial services to the world's lowest-income entrepreneurs.

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