Fw: CDF Update 4-17-98

H. C. Covington (ach1@sprynet.com)
Fri, 17 Apr 1998 21:42:21 -0500


     Children's Defense Fund Update      April 17, 1998

     In This Issue:

     -- Juvenile Justice
     -- Family Income
     -- Child Care



     *** Juvenile Justice ***

     ---PREVENTION AND LIMITS ON GUNS A MUST IN ANY YOUTH VIOLENCE BILL ---

     Just before the recess began, Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS)
     indicated that he wants the Senate to consider a juvenile crime bill.
     And Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced legislation to ban the
     high capacity clips used in assault weapons, while Senators Richard
     Durbin (D-IL) and John Chafee (R-RI) introduced a bill that would
     require gun owners to limit children's access to their guns.  Because
     of the strong interest in moving a youth violence bill, heightened
     since the tragic Jonesboro, AR killings several weeks ago of 4 school
     children and a teacher by two boys, we need to continue to urge
     Senators to oppose S. 10.  We need to tell them to oppose S.10 and any
     other bill that destroys the core protections for children (such as
     keeping them separate from adult inmates), fails to invest in
     prevention, and does not limit children's access to guns.

     * Contact your Senators now, as they return to Washington.  There
     could be a vote on a youth violence bill at any time.  Tell your
     Senators not to support any youth violence bill that doesn't include
     significant investments in prevention and strong limits on children's
     access to guns.

     Note: There has been some confusion about a statement the President
     made earlier this week.  In announcing the release of a study on
     school crime, the President said, "Congress can help lead the way by
     passing the anti-gang and youth violence strategy that I sent to them
     more than a year ago..."  Some reports have suggested he called for
     passage of S. 10.  This is wrong, as reflected in his statement.  The
     President did not call for passage of S.10, but rather, the bill he
     sent to Congress last year.


     *** Family Income ***

     --- CDF STUDY FINDS $130 BILLION COST OF CHILD POVERTY ---

     For every year that America allows 14.5 million children to experience
     poverty, their future productive capacity will decline by an estimated
     $130 billion, according to a new CDF study titled POVERTY MATTERS.
     The study also finds that:

     * Poor children score lower on reading and math tests, suffer more
     mental and physical disabilities, and earn 25 percent lower wages as
     young adults.

     * A baby born to a poor mother in America is more likely to die before
     its first birthday than a baby born to a high school dropout, an unwed
     mother, or a mother who smoked during pregnancy.

     * Poverty puts children at greater risk of falling behind in school
     than does living in a single parent home or being born to teenage
     parents, according to findings from the U.S. Department of Education
     during the Reagan Administration.

     The report traces poor children's problems back to countless
     poverty-related disadvantages, such as high rates of iron deficiency,
     lead poisoning, and frequent moving from home to home.  The emotional
     strains of poverty also have been found to interfere with proper
     parenting and to weaken many families.

     While many Americans are tempted to blame poor children's worse
     educational and job trajectories not on poverty but on character flaws
     ingrained in poor parents, POVERTY MATTERS cites major new academic
     studies that contradict such scapegoating -- including studies of
     siblings born several years apart who experience different amounts of
     poverty.  The finding that poverty matters even for these siblings --
     who are raised by the same parents -- shows that parental traits are
     not the cause of the poor outcomes.

     POVERTY MATTERS concludes with a "pro-work, pro-family" plan for
     ending child poverty.


     *** Child Care ***

     --- STAND FOR CHILDREN DAY '98:  STAND FOR QUALITY CHILD CARE
     HAPPENING ON JUNE 1 IN YOUR HOMETOWN! ---

     Stand For Children helps grassroots activists organize to improve the
     lives of children in their communities through successful policy
     change, awareness-raising and service initiatives.  This year's Stand
     For Children Day will highlight the need for quality, affordable child
     care and after-school activities.  Already, there are hundreds of
     events planned around the country.

     Stand For Children Day is 6 weeks away, but there is still time to get
     involved.  The Stand For Children staff is here to help you organize
     or get in involved with an activity in your community to improve the
     quality and affordability of child care and after-school activities.
     To find out about Stand For Children Day activities being planned in
     your community, visit the Stand For Children web site at:
     <www.stand.org>, email <tellstand@stand.org>, or
     call (202) 234-0095.

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     Kimberly Taylor
     Children's Defense Fund
     25 E Street, NW
     Washington, DC 20001
     202/662-3540 (fax)
     CDFupdate@childrensdefense.org