Children's Monitor Online
A Public Policy Update from the Child Welfare League of America

Vol. 20, Issue 44: 11/19/2007   

The White House Conference and You

The White House Conference and You

CWLA is grateful this Thanksgiving to have members and supporters that work every day to make a difference in the lives of abused and neglected children and make children a national priority.

This special issue of the Children's Monitor is focused on CWLA's aggressive campaign to hold a White House Conference on Children in 2010. This conference will focus the attention of national leaders on child welfare issues, ultimately improving outcomes for children.

Sign on in support TODAY!

Why a White House Conference
Holding a White House Conference on Children will bring together a cross section of policymakers, advocates, professionals (including the courts) and families and children directly affected by the child welfare system to create recommendations for policy and change. Much positive change has come from previous White House conferences for children, the last one being held in 1970. CWLA wants to reestablish this important policymaking tradition, and the time to act is NOW.

How the League Was Born
Many types of White House Conferences have been held in the past, perhaps the most familiar one being the White House Conference on Aging that's held every 10 years. CWLA was created as a result of the first White House Conference on Children, called by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1909: The Conference on the Care of Dependent Children. Out of this conference, a group of agency executives created the Bureau for Exchange of Information among Child-helping Agencies--which later became the Child Welfare League of America.

Read more about the history of White House conferences.

How It Works
The first step in the process would be for Congress to pass legislation authorizing spending federal funds and establishing policy committees to hold a White House Conference on Children. Funds would then need to be appropriated to establish a series of events and small conferences through the 50 states in 2009, the year before the national conference. The year 2009 will serve as an opportunity for all stakeholders to meet at the state and local levels regarding recommendations for the national event. Delegates would be sent to the White House event representing all states, tribes, territories, and Washington DC. Setting this conference for 2010 allows a new President, who will not start their term until January 2009, the time to focus on this as a priority.

CLWA has created a Q&A resource on the White House conference to answer questions about the process and other details.

Get Involved!
Your support and involvement with this effort is crucial to its success. As experts in the field, we look to you for your leadership in asking Congress and others to support this important campaign for children.

Sign On in Support
CWLA is calling on members and supporters to sign on in support of a White House Conference on Children in 2010.

Pass a Board Resolution
If your organization requires you to pass a board resolution officially support such an effort, CWLA has created a sample board resolution to help you in this effort.

Let Congress Know of Your Support
The League encourages you to send your resolutions and letters of support to your Congressional delegation. Without their support, a White House conference is not possible.

Support is Building
After the recent launch of this effort, CWLA has already received an overwhelming response and has gathered a significant number of organizations that have signed on in support. The League continues to work on recruiting a variety of national and local supporters for this effort. Join the list of supporters TODAY!

The League is also actively promoting the White House Conference on Capitol Hill and has received positive feedback from members of Congress and their staff. CWLA is working with a couple of members of Congress in drafting the legislation that will make this concept a reality.

Stay tuned for the latest information on efforts to achieve a White House Conference on Children in 2010.

There will be many opportunities to get involved in this important campaign for children. Visit our web page on the White House Conference for updates and action steps!

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