After 20 years, the Journalism Center for Children and Families will close in just a couple of weeks. I’m going to miss them, and you should too.

JCCF did great work that made the news more responsive to the needs of kids and their parents. And those of us in the child advocacy communications business are enjoying the benefits. Every once in a while, when I’m doing the research required before effectively pitching a reporter, I’ll note that the journalist had completed a JCCF fellowship or contributed to a JCCF best-practices series. When I do, I know I’ve got a better shot at getting a story – and a better story – because that journalist understands that kids aren’t just little adults, so issues from hunger to taxes affect kids differently. That awareness – and the empathy it presupposes – are huge assets for those among us who work to get children’s interests in the news.

Smart, caring journalists, and many more like them, are still out there. They want to tell important stories about children’s needs and problems, and about the solutions that are making a difference. Without JCCF, we’ve all got to recommit to finding them, educating them, and encouraging them. Because for advocates, the news matters: solving the problems children face begins with understanding the problems children face.

But that’s a challenge we can tackle together tomorrow. For now, please join me in thanking Director Julie Drizin ( / @jccfnews) and the entire JCCF team for 20 years of service as the voice for children in America’s newsrooms.