Latest CWLA Letter to President Barack Obama
October 11, 2010
President Barack Obama
The White House
Dear Mr. President,
These are tough times for vulnerable children. The burgeoning poverty levels are adding to the woes of children born in need. Thatís why the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) has written several times urging you to show bold leadership on behalf of the nationís most vulnerable children by reconvening the White House Conference on Children and Youth. We are still awaiting a response and were surprised to learn that the administration backed a White House Community College Summit this week. We recognize that education is an important element to helping vulnerable children succeed; however, a more comprehensive approach is needed, as was the case with previous conferences for children. Larger systemic issues must be addressed to make meaningful, lasting changes.
Just over four decades have passed since a White House Conference convened to define a national policy agenda and advance the well-being of our nationís children. While much has changed since 1970, too many children are struggling to access and benefit from the economic, social, and scientific gains that we as a nation have made. We continue to see alarming unmet needs among our poorest and most vulnerable children particularly those who must be served by the child welfare system.
Since it was first convened in 1909, the White House Conference for Children and Youth has helped bring the nationís focus to the issues of safety, health and homelessness facing children and their families. That first conference articulated a set of values and goals that guide our childrenís policy even today. Still the nation has struggled to achieve the goalís articulated 100 years ago even as new challenges emerge, including the current deep recession which has devastated many families.
For this reason CWLA, and its nationwide network of public and private child serving member agencies, have called for the re-establishment of this conference. We believe that it provides a vital and inclusive approach to establishing a robust, knowledge driven, yet realistic national agenda for vulnerable children.
We were pleased that you cosponsored the legislation supporting the conference during your tenure as a U.S. Senator. We are also encouraged that this year both the House and Senate have reintroduced authorizing legislation. Many of our members and supporters have sent post cards and letters to you urging you to signal your support as President. Perhaps most notable among these is a letter from former U.S. Representative Patricia Schroeder, who wrote to you about the importance of this conference, the nationwide engagement leading up to it, and the opportunity the conference provides for historic impact as it transforms the lives of our most vulnerable children.
President Harry Truman said it best, ďThe White House Conferences have done much, over the years, to make our people and our Government conscious of the social problems, as they affect children, and to help solve those problems. These Conferences have made our democracy work better.Ē It is my hope that you can continue this valuable legacy.
You have shown your support now for a White House summit on community colleges. Will you now stand up for our children and families by reconvening the White House Conference on Children and Youth, and therefore assisting us with ensuring that children and families remain a national priority?
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