Speak for the children: Children’s Defense Fund, Parents United for Public Schools, Parent Aware

Mary Turck, News Day, February 3, 2015

Children's Defense Fund Twitter photo

For generations, the Children’s Defense Fund has been a national voice for children. Growing out of the civil rights movement, CDF has been led by Marian Wright Edelman, a civil rights activist and the first Black woman licensed to practice law in Mississippi. CDF’s just-released report, Ending Child Poverty Now, denounces the “national moral disgrace that there are 14.7 million poor children and 6.5 million extremely poor children in the United States of America – the world’s largest economy,” and describes a blueprint for reducing child poverty by 60 percent.

That’s consistent with CDF’s long-standing focus on “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.” The Minnesota CDF, led by Peggy Flanagan, focuses on Minnesota policies affecting children, such as the state budget, as well as running summer Freedom Schools and the annual Beat the Odds award program for high school seniors.

CDF’s annual Kids Count report includes an online data center accessible to all, with data on all kinds of factors that affect children. The data center can break out information on a national, state, county, city or Congressional district level.

Parents United for Public Schools works on public school funding and policy issues, closely following issues in the legislature and producing frequent reports and updates. The Minnesota organization focuses on “tracking, providing analysis of, and communicating complicated legislative education issues.”

Weekly updates during the legislative session help followers keep abreast of action in committees and on the floor of the Minnesota House and Senate.

Parent Aware focuses on identifying “tools and information to find the best quality child care and early education for your child.” Most prominently, the organization rates child care and preschool programs on a scale ranging from zero to four stars. One can criticize their rating system and especially their insistence on tying early childhood education and child care funding to that rating system. But their concern for children and advocacy for more and better early childhood development is a valuable service to the children and state of Minnesota.

Want to know more? Visit the websites, sign up for the newsletters, like the Facebook pages of these important voices for children:

Children’s Defense Fund

Children’s Defense Fund-MN

Parents United for Public Schools

Parent Aware

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