CWLA Marks Child Abuse Prevention Month by Rallying Support for White House Conference on Children and Youth; the First in 40 Years
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Arlington, VA (April 1, 2010) -- The Child Welfare League of America (CWLA), the nation's largest and oldest membership-based child welfare nonprofit, is marking April's National Child Abuse Prevention Month by campaigning to have a White House Conference on Children and Youth. The last such conference was held in 1970.
"Today, historic changes are underway with the passage of foster care and health care reform legislation that bode well for children. To fully tap their potential, we must find ways to pull together the diverse groups and funding mechanisms that serve vulnerable children. A White House Conference is the forum to help guide and leverage these transformations so that we can greatly improve our children's odds of succeeding," said CWLA's CEO Chris James-Brown.
A White House Conference on Children and Youth will be a two-year process that culminates in a national event that brings together stakeholders in communities across the nation to seek solutions for the most pressing issues confronting children. Such a conference would examine the latest research and numbers, setting policy and reform recommendations to protect children into the next decade. For the Conference to become a reality, the President and Congress will have to act on legislation (HR 618 & S 938).
Incredibly effective policy has come from past White House Conferences on Children, which convene child welfare experts from around the nation. The first one was held in 1909, leading to better foster care services and the creation of the Children's Bureau. The last one was held in 1970. For years, these conferences helped steer the national discourse on children's issues, playing a key role in significant legislation and efforts. Notable results include the development of a Children's Charter offering 19 proposals on the requirements for a child's education, health, welfare, and protection; the creation of the Emergency, Maternity, and Infant Care program; and the establishment of a Subcommittee on Children and Youth.
To generate momentum for the conference, CWLA is focusing its Child Abuse Prevention Month efforts on drawing attention to the need to reconvene the conference. CWLA has asked its large membership to show their support by doing something each week of April, including officially registering their support online for the conference with CWLA, calling their member of Congress and both Senators, sending a post card to President Obama, and urging state legislatures to pass resolutions in support of the conference. In addition, CWLA's board is writing letters to the President and visiting Capitol Hill to make a case for the event.
Also every April, CWLA coordinates its Children's Memorial Flag Initiative, launched in 1998 to draw attention to the tragedy of violent child deaths. This year, the project will focus on supporting the White House Conference as an effective way to accomplish this goal. During Child Abuse Prevention Month, all 50 governors and hundreds of public and private organizations have united in an impressive bipartisan effort by flying the flag, issuing proclamations, or participating in ceremonies to memorialize children.
The centerpiece is simple--a red flag depicting blue, paper-doll-like figures of children holding hands. In the center, the white chalk outline of a missing child symbolizes the thousands of children lost to violence. Created by a 16-year-old student in Alameda County, California, and flown on the fourth Friday in April, the Children's Memorial Flag honors each lost child and raises public awareness about the continuing problem of violence against children.
CWLA is a powerful coalition of hundreds of private and public agencies serving vulnerable children and families since 1920. Through its programs, publications, research, conferences, professional development, and consultation, CWLA speaks with authority and candor about the status and the needs of American children, young people, and families. As the nationally recognized standard-setter for child welfare services, CWLA provides direct support to agencies that serve children and families, improving the quality of the services they provide to more than nine million children every year.
Since 1920, CWLA has been the nation's preeminent membership-based organization dedicated to ensuring that disadvantaged and vulnerable children are protected from harm and have the tools and resources they need to grow into healthy and happy adults. CWLA is the trusted authority for professionals who work with children and the only national organization with public and private member agencies working across all sectors of the children's services field.
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