Today, during the fourth and final hearing on the State of the American Child, Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) called for the creation of a National Council on Children, which will focus on improving the well-being of our nation's children. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) will join Dodd in introducing legislation to establish a council that will be responsible for annually assessing the state of American children's health, education, and overall well-being, and will be tasked with making recommendations to Congress on how to improve the policies that impact our children's lives.
Dodd is the Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Children and Families.
"This subcommittee has provided an important forum for our country's elected leaders and children advocates to focus on the needs of our children. And it has played a vital role, shedding light on the struggles our nation's children face," said Senator Dodd. "What we have learned is that our children are in crisis. It is critical that we create a new national council on children to closely examine the needs of children and identify solutions to improve their lives. With Senator Casey's deep understanding of the challenges children in America face, I am confident he will be able to champion this important effort in the next Senate. It is time to put a specific and targeted focus on our children, the future of our country, and create a national council on children."
"I am pleased to partner with Senator Dodd on the Children's Act of 2010 which will provide an opportunity to help a new generation of children and families," said Senator Casey. "By creating a National Council on Children, we will be able to help our nation and leaders in the public, private and non-profit sectors to develop a road-map to ensure that the current generation of young Americans has as many opportunities to succeed as possible. And we will ensure that even in challenging times, American families have the support they need to raise healthy families. Senator Dodd's dedication and work on children's issues during his time in the United States Senate has improved the lives of millions of children."
"It's in our nation's best interest to raise the most healthy, most educated, best-prepared children in the world for the challenges that lie ahead. Yet on virtually every index, America's children are falling behind. Today in America one in four kids live in poverty, 30 percent of students fail to graduate from high school, and 8 million children lack health insurance," said Bruce Lesley, president of the First Focus Campaign for Children. "A coordinated, national action plan to improve child well-being is essential to raise the visibility of children in federal policy, solidify our commitment to the nation's future, and ensure that we can meet the needs of the next generation. We applaud Senator Dodd and Senator Casey for their leadership in introducing this important piece of legislation which will generate momentum for improving the lives of our nation's youth."
The "State of the American Child" series, launched by Senator Dodd earlier this year, examined all aspects of children's lives: their health from birth to adulthood, their educational experience in and out of the classroom, and their life at home with their families and in their communities; with the focus of the hearings being on the inter-connectedness of all these aspects and how they shape and define the lives of our children.
As the Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee on Children and Families, and founder of the "Children's Caucus" in 1983, Senator Dodd has long worked to improve the lives of American families and children. Dodd began this series on the state of the American child earlier this year with a hearing that looked at the challenges facing our children and families and the tools they need to succeed in today's society. The second hearing, which was held in Connecticut, examined Connecticut social service, educational and health programs that are providing critical services and assistance to children and families in the state. The third hearing, which included senior Obama Administration officials, focused on the impact of federal policies on our children. The fourth and final hearing reviewed what the Subcommittee has learned over the past year about how children are faring in today's society and the effectiveness of public policy on their lives.