The Kid Angle: Children’s Week 2024 delivers solutions for what ails our kids

The children’s community and members of Congress joined forces this week to call for policies and programs that ensure the well-being of our nation’s 72 million children.

In celebration of First Focus on Children’s annual Children’s Week, which runs through Saturday, Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) and Jimmy Gomez (D-CA) called for restoration of the expanded Child Tax Credit, and parents shared their experiences and recommendations for making that credit even more effective. Advocacy organization SchoolHouse Connection, in coordination with U.S. Sens. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), hosted a conversation among eight young people about their experiences with homelessness in childhood and the challenges it posed for their education then and now (FAFSA also gets a frustrated shout out from the participants). Congressional staffers packed a Capitol Hill briefing room to hear experts from USAID and the @ThriveCoalition discuss effective programs that engage fathers in responsive caregiving in the U.S. and in low- and middle-income countries that receive U.S. funding. And First Focus on Children and lead-elimination advocate Pure Earth joined officials from Washington State to discuss solutions to lead poisoning in the U.S. and abroad, which comes from sources as diverse as contaminated soil, cookware, dishes, toys, candies, cosmetics, and other consumer goods.

From the House floor, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) urged his colleagues to support reform of the troubled teen industry and Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-OR) released the findings of a two-year investigation exposing systemic taxpayer-funded child abuse and neglect in youth residential treatment facilities (RTFs) across the United States. Reps. Morgan McGarvey (D-KY) and Barbara Lee (D-CA) led more than two dozen colleagues on a letter to the Office of Management and Budget calling for the creation of a Cross-Agency Priority for children. Establishing a cross-agency priority for children would help the federal government recognize and address the interlocking issues that affect the lives of children with nearly every government decision. Meanwhile, Reps. Kim Schrier (D-WA) and Julia Letlow (R-LA) introduced The Newborn Essentials Support Toolkit Act (NEST Act), which will provide newborn supply kits to parents that will include diapers, wipes, postpartum and breastfeeding supplies, blood pressure monitors, and information that many new parents need.

Rep. Gomez, head of the Dads Caucus, also stopped by Speaking of Kids to urge fathers to step up for kids at home and in Congress.

Visit First Focus on Children to catch up on all things Children’s Week 2024.