CWLA 2009 Children's Legislative Agenda
The White House Conference
© Child Welfare League of America. The content of these publications may not be reproduced in any way, including posting on the Internet, without the permission of CWLA. For permission to use material from CWLA's website or publications, contact us using our website assistance form.
In the fall of 2007, CWLA called for a re-establishment
of the White House Conference on Children and Youth
in 2010. Despite being the oldest White House Conference
(President Theodore Roosevelt presided over the first conference
in 1909) no Conference on Children and Youth has
been held since 1970. To be clear, we are not calling for a
gathering at the White House, but a two-year process identical
to previous Children and Youth's conferences and the
White House Conferences on Aging.
With enactment of the Fostering Connections Act, the
current recession, and the start of a new Administration and
new Congress, this call is even more important.
Like the Aging conferences, the process begins with
Congress passing legislation that sets up a policy committee.
The President issues the call, which sets the date.
The committee sets an agenda with public input. It holds a
series of mini-conferences to address a range of key issues
in the year before the actual conference. Most importantly,
the policy committee sets the parameters for state and
local groups to hold their own meetings to shape that
agenda and address some of the most vital issues confronting
Some argue that a White House Conference on Children
and Youth would be a show or a media event. Others argue
that it could delay any new legislation; still others will say
that the call is too narrow. It is none of these. It will involve
serious discussions across the country involving key partners
and stakeholders. It will encourage new legislation
that can improve the lives of children and families, and it
will bring to light all the challenges children and their families
face every day: issues of neglect, poverty, and barriers
to families and children.
Imagine bringing together key experts, partners, foundations,
faith-based and nonprofit organizations, state and
local governments, and families, children, and youth to
address the problems in their communities and states.
Topics would include:
We call on the new President and new Congress to convene
the next conference in 2010.
- preventing child neglect and child abuse;
- improving access to needed health care and mental
- navigating courts and the legal system;
- utilizing the nonprofit community and faith-based
- securing housing;
- combating poverty;
- receiving quality education;
- accessing critical family services like child care
and early childhood education;
- implementing services that can begin to address
- intensifying teen pregnancy prevention;
- increasing collaboration between states, cities, and
local community leaders;
- facilitating cooperation between agencies, and the
involvement of foundations; and
- solving the biggest problem in your community,
city, or state.
Back to Top Printer-friendly Page Contact Us