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It's Time for a White House Conference

Support a White House Conference on Children and Youth

This week CWLA launched the Campaign for a White House Conference on Children and Youth to take place in 2010. This White House Conference on Children and Youth would be the first since 1970. Three decades have passed without the White House bringing the focus of the nation to examine the state of our children. CWLA is calling on Congress to authorize this conference so that the next President will convene a conference in 2010. We must once again use the power of the White House to organize a national conference on the welfare of our children to establish national goals for improvement in the subsequent ten years.


As our first step in making this conference a reality, we are calling on our members and on our national partners to join with us in this effort.



As I indicated in our statement to the press, "The world has changed and the strategies from nearly forty years ago are insufficient. Imagine the fate of a young child named Maggie born in 2000, the year of hope and renewal for our country. Yet at age seven, Maggie is still in our foster care system and just getting by on the strength of her own resolve. It shouldn't be that way, but it is because we have failed her as a nation in so many ways."

The fundamental purpose of the 2010 White House Conference on Children and Youth is to fulfill the nation's need for an overall vision in child welfare and to refocus an inspired understanding of the many facts we have at our disposal to put them into practice at this critical juncture. There has never before been the summation of knowledge and experience as what now lies before the 2010 conference. Now is the time to bring together the years of research and expertise that will make a difference in the lives of children if focused upon nationally.

Previous conferences made significant contributions to establishing priorities for protecting and supporting children in need:

1909 - The conference for the first time committed the nation to oppose the institutionalization of dependent children.

1919 - The White House Conference on Standards of Child Welfare produced the first significant report on child health and welfare standards.

1920 - CWLA was creeated when White House Conference delegates cited an urgent need for a national child welfare agency.

1929 - This conference produced the most comprehensive report on the needs of children ever written, and resulted in the issuance of a national Children's Charter.

1939 - The Conference on Children in a Democracy highlighted the democratic values, services, and environment necessary for the welfare of children.

1950 - The Mid-Century White House Conference focused on healthy personality development.

1960 - The Golden Anniversary White House Conference on Children and Youth expanded upon this theme to examine ways for children to explore their potential in order to discover creative freedom.

1970 - The last White House Conference on Children and Youth strived to strengthen the individuality and identity of children through the support of healthy personality development.
A White House conference on Children and Youth is needed to focus the attention of the nation on the children who, after all, are our responsibility. The conference will examine the greatest needs and set the country on a path to reform. The commitment of the President and the power of the White House is needed to once again make vulnerable children a national priority and point the way to significant reform and improvements.

To read CWLA's press release and History of White House Conferences, visit
Web link

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