Children's Voice July/August 2008

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Advocacy Day Sparks Results

Many cosponsors were added to the House bill for a White House Conference on Children and Youth (H.R. 5461) after receiving visits from CWLA member agencies and State Leaders during Advocacy Day at CWLA's national conference.

Cosponsors that signed on within days of visits from member agencies include:
  • Rep. Diana DeGette (CO-1) - 2/26/2008
  • Rep. Phil Hare (IL-17) - 2/26/2008
  • Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (TX-18) - 2/26/2008
  • Rep. James P. McGovern (MA-3) - 2/26/2008
  • Rep. Jeff Miller (FL-1) - 2/27/2008
  • Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro (CT-3) - 3/4/2008
  • Rep. Jose E. Serrano (NY-16) - 3/4/2008
  • Rep. Howard L. Berman (CA-28) - 3/5/2008
  • Sen. Richard G. Lugar (IN) - 4/2/2008
Several more legislators signed on to the House and Senate bills in the months following, including Senators Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Visiting your member of Congress can really make a difference. Keep making phone calls and keep scheduling visits with Congress in Washington and at home! Check to see if your members of Congress have cosponsored H.R. 5461/ S. 2771!

Speaking Out

"Today, by cosponsoring this crucial legislation, presidential candidates Clinton and Obama sent a very strong message that we truly need to make children a national priority."

-- CWLA President and CEO Christine James-Brown in a statement in April, shortly after Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama signed on as cosponsors of the bill calling for a White House Conference on Children and Youth in 2010. Advocacy efforts have taken place with Senator John McCain as well, and CWLA is hopeful he will sign on soon.

Upcoming Conferences

SEPTEMBER 15-17: Western Region Training Conference
It Takes Courage and Compassion to Serve Children and Families: Tools for Competence and Confidence
Hilton Hotel, Portland, Oregon

FEBRUARY 23-25, 2009: CWLA National Conference
Children Today -- America's Future!
Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, Washington, DC
Dates and locations subject to change. For more information on the CWLA calendar, including conference registration, hotels, programs, and contacts, visit CWLA's website, or contact CWLA's conference registrar at register@cwla.org or 703/412-2439.

News from the Hill: A White House Conference on Children & Youth Has Liftoff

Specifically because of CWLA's efforts and leadership, legislation to reinstate a White House Conference on Children and Youth was introduced earlier this year and is off to a strong start. Both the House and the Senate bills have strong bipartisan support that we must continue to build upon in order to pass the legislation.

A White House Conference on Children and Youth would re-establish this conference that took place every ten years from 1909 to 1970. This one would take place in 2010. This conference would function like past children's conferences and aging conferences: funding would be provided to establish a series of events and small conferences through the 50 states. This would take place in the year before the national conference. Delegates would be sent to the White House event representing all states including the tribes, territories, and Washington, DC. Authorizing legislation would outline the focus and goals of the conference and it would be specific to child welfare, including the range of issues from prevention and intervention to permanency, including reunification, kinship care, and adoption. Indirectly this is a conference that will affect all communities and touch on such issues as access to health care, mental health and substance abuse services, housing, and support services such as child care.

What's Next
Legislation would require this White House Conference to be held sometime in 2010, allowing for a two-year process for state and local gatherings and input. It also offers an opportunity for communities, states, and cities to come together in a dialogue about how to make real change in the lives of vulnerable children and families. Think of meetings across the country to deal with each community's unique challenges. In addition, setting this conference for 2010 allows a new president, who will not start his term until January 2009, the time to focus on this as a priority.

What You Can Do to Promote a White House Conference
First and foremost, you can contact your Senators and Representatives in Congress and urge them to support the legislation. Call 202/224-3121 to connect to Congress.

Get Cosponsors!
Call your member of Congress today and ask them to cosponsor this monumental legislation! For a list of current cosponsors, click here.

Contact the Committee!
The House Education and Labor committee has been assigned this important legislation. If your member of Congress is on this committee, contact them right away and tell them to support a long-overdue White House Conference on Children and Youth! To see a list of committee members, click here.

Sign-on in Support!
You will receive regular updates as the campaign progresses, alerts to upcoming key developments, and most importantly you will be part of a movement to make children a national priority! Join in the campaign!

CWLA Radio: Speaking for America's Children

In February, CWLA launched a thought-provoking, interactive radio program focusing on subjects, stories, and strategies of special interest to child welfare policymakers, providers, and practitioners. Solely devoted to the welfare of America's vulnerable children, the show features a forum where the voices of child welfare experts, CWLA's member agencies, and political figures working on behalf of children can be heard. Programs are broadcast live every Wednesday from 2:00 to 2:30 p.m. EST at www.blogtalkradio.com/CWLA-Radio. You can also listen to previous broadcasts at any time. Shows that aired recently include "Policy Actions on Health Care Coverage for Foster Children," "Family Matters: Kinship Caregivers Around The Country Convene At The Capitol," "Call to Action Alert: CAPTA's Coming Up For Reauthorization," "Child Welfare Workers: Overworked and Underpaid," and "Labor Pains: Strengthening The Child Welfare Workforce."


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