First Focus on Children — and over 30 other organizations working to improve the lives of children — sent the following letter to President Biden asking him to join in the global prioritization of children and issue a Presidential Proclamation marking November 20 as World Children’s Day this year.

Excerpt from the letter:

The mission of each of the undersigned groups is as varied as the needs of children. We are joining together in writing this request because we recognize that progress cannot be made for children without addressing each one of our missions. While our approaches may differ, providing children with the holistic support they need and deserve to thrive is the driving force of all our work.

The impacts of the pandemic in the past two and half years have deepened the challenges children face and shown that children are one of the most vulnerable populations. More than 10 million children (about half the population of New York) have lost a parent or caregiver to COVID-19. In low- and middle-income countries, school closures have left 70 percent of ten-year-old children unable to read. More than 1 in 7 adolescents aged 10-19 is estimated to live with a diagnosed mental disorder globally. Eighty percent of the world’s children fear sexual abuse or exploitation online. Eighty-five percent of the world’s children live in places most vulnerable to climate change. Worldwide, 2.2 million children (about the population of New Mexico) in refugee-hosting countries need humanitarian assistance. Unfortunately, in politics, children’s developmental needs have often been considered an afterthought or overlooked completely by even the most well-meaning elected officials. The United States government has an opportunity as a world leader to reverse the recent downward trends for children by uplifting youth voices and working to advance their collective health, safety, and well-being.

Read the full letter.