From head start to healthy start, America’s children need our support

Submitted by the Children’s Defense Fund Action Council

The Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) believes that children don’t come in pieces. It is critical that those we elect to office consider the development of the whole child when acting on behalf of a child’s well-being.
CDF’s mission statement outlines the five starts in life that we believe lead children to successful passage to adulthood. Our most recent data released in The State of America’s Children 2010 takes a closer look at how children are faring with respect to two of these starts.

A Head Start
The early years, ages birth to five, are critical years for a child’s social, emotional, and cognitive development. The Early Childhood Development section of The State of America’s Children 2010 shows that the development of poor children at nine months is already far behind their higher income peers. The learning gap widens from there, making it harder and harder for a child to catch up and further endangers them by increasing the likelihood that they will be trapped in the cradle to prison pipeline.
Review the Early Childhood Development section in its entirety to find out more about key indicators such as children who have parents in the labor force, children in Head Start and prekindergarten, and the cost of child care assistance.

A Healthy Start
Good health at birth and throughout childhood is essential for both children themselves and the adults and workers they will become. The State of America’s Children 2010 includes key indicators of child health. While the United States has the second highest infant mortality rate among 30 industrialized nations, the Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) have grown to insure almost 40 million children each year.
But today, in our rich nation, more than one in 10 children still remain uninsured, due largely to state-imposed barriers that have prevented children from getting the health coverage they need, and keeping it.
The data depicted in this report serve as an urgent call to action to all of us to ensure all children have a head start and a healthy start in life. And now, we need your voice to do just that. As soon as today, the Senate could vote on a jobs bill (H.R. 4213) that, thanks to your calls last week, now includes a critical six-month extension of extra Medicaid help. This extra Medicaid funding is of the utmost importance for children and families weathering the recent economic downturn and we need your help to ensure states continue to get the help they need to prevent deep cuts in health care and other services for children and families.

Take Action
Please call your Senators today. Tell them to vote for H.R. 4213 to prevent deep cuts in state health and other services by providing extra Medicaid help, restoring unemployment benefits and health care for the unemployed and funding youth jobs. Prevent the loss of hundreds of jobs that will result if aid to states is ended.
You can reach your Senators through the US Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121.

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