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Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) Hails Introduction of Bill to Create White House Conference on Children and Youth

For more information, contact
Joyce Johnson
Phone: 804/492-4519
Cell: 703/980-7641

February 15, 2008, Arlington, VA -- CWLA President and CEO Christine James Brown today hailed the introduction of bipartisan legislation by Representatives Chaka Fattah (D-PA) and Jon Porter (R-NV) calling for a White Conference on Children and Youth in 2010.

Coming just six months after CWLA launched a campaign to gain support for this conference, Fattah and Porter introduced legislation to reestablish the tradition of focusing a special White House Conference on children's issues every ten years. CWLA is calling on the next President to hold this conference and focus much needed attention on the issues of child abuse and neglect, and our nation's child welfare system.

"We firmly believe this legislation will help to move this country toward truly addressing the needs of our most vulnerable children and families and in fact all families in the United States. It has been nearly forty years since the last such Conference, during which much has changed and little has improved. It's time to rectify this failing," said James-Brown.

The legislation (HR 5461) would re-create what had been a decennial event by authorizing a call by the next President to convene a White House Conference in 2010. The Conference, similar to the White House Conference on Aging would actually be a two-year event starting in 2009 with a series of state, local and national gatherings.

"While this legislation starts out by focusing on what we refer to as child welfare issues such as child abuse, adoption and foster care, it is in fact a convening on all the issues that affect America's children: prevention services, access to health and mental health services, issues of poverty and so many of the challenges that have undercut the well being of far too many of our children. "Perhaps the single greatest part of this Conference is the fact that it will allow communities all across America to come together to address the range of challenges America's children face," commented James-Brown

H.R. 5461, similar to enabling legislation for past White House Conferences on Aging and Conferences on Children and Youth, would create a policy committee that is appointed by the President and bipartisan leadership of both houses of congress. That committee oversees events, meetings and policy forums on a range of issues. The culmination of these events is an actual convention of delegates in Washington DC selected by members of congress and state governors.

Founded in 1920, the Child Welfare League of America is the pre-eminent organization dedicated to ensuring that disadvantaged and vulnerable children are protected from harm and have the tools and resources available to help them grow into happy and healthy adults.

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