More than a dozen organizations launch a nationwide pledge, listening tour and crowd-sourcing tool designed to develop a national strategy for the healthy growth and development of every child.
CHICAGO, IL (July 21, 2011) – More than a dozen child advocacy organizations today kicked off the National Movement for America’s Children to help ensure that every child in America is given an opportunity for healthy growth and development. The Movement is founded on the basic principle that all of our children deserve nurturing environments that support healthy brain development so they are prepared to learn in school, grow into productive, contributing adults and help their community, and our country, be prosperous and competitive in the global economy.
“We believe that most Americans agree that our country has a basic obligation to provide for the healthy development of every child,” said Jim Hmurovich, President and CEO of Prevent Child Abuse America, one of the organizations that founded the Movement. “But as a country, we’re not consistently fulfilling our commitments to all of America’s children. Research indicates that healthy development prepares children to become stable, contributing members of their community and our economy.”
Research shows that when this development does not occur, there is a greater potential for children to experience lifelong consequences including health and mental health issues, substance abuse, delinquent and criminal behavior and academic under-achievement.
“Our country cannot continue to over-promise and under-deliver,” added Hmurovich. “It contributes to domestic instability that threatens our communities and economy. Military leaders are now telling us these issues may also be threatening our national security. We must create a sustained public will that it must be a priority to truly deliver for our children and keep our nation strong.”
At the center of the Movement’s activities is the formulation of a crowd-sourced national strategy that brings every American citizen, business, faith institution and government entity into the development process. From now until November 6, Movement supporters will be hosting town hall events and listening sessions across all 50 states while simultaneously hosting an ongoing virtual debate and discussion at www.movementforchildren.org. Anyone can go to the site to sign a pledge supporting the Movement and contribute to the crowd-sourced development of a national strategy for America’s children. Visitors to the Movement site can also get involved at the community and state levels, serving as grassroots organizers on-line and locally.
The local and virtual “listening tour” is designed to help crowd-source a strategy made up of specific policies and actions to help deliver the most comprehensive possible opportunity for healthy growth and development to every child. The public is being asked to contribute to the national strategy by simply answering The Big Question: “How can we ensure that every child has an equal opportunity for healthy growth and development?”
Movement organizers plan to unveil the final national strategy in Washington, DC on November 6, 2011, exactly one year before the 2012 election. The message to officeholders and candidates will be clear: the healthy development of our children is a top priority for Americans and policies should be implemented at the national level to influence actions at the local level.
But the Movement focus is not solely on politicians and public policies. The Movement will be focused on seeing the national strategy implemented by all the segments and institutions in the country with a stake in contributing to healthy child development.
“Everyone has a role to play and there are positive strides being made by some businesses, faith-based organizations, local towns and cities, as well as individuals, policymakers and people working hard in the child advocacy field,” said Hmurovich. “What is lacking is organized and energized public will to expand these efforts to every child and hold our country accountable for consistently delivering for America’s children.”
Several child advocacy organizations have worked to form the National Movement for America’s Children. Founding Partners include American Humane Association; Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs; Child Welfare League of America; Children’s Leadership Council; Center for Law and Social Policy; The General Federation of Women’s Clubs; National Alliance of Children’s Trust and Prevention Funds; National Exchange Club Foundation; National Healthy Start Association; Prevent Child Abuse America; Voices for America’s Children; The Washington Children’s Foundation; and ZERO TO THREE, National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families.
Please visit www.MovementforChildren.org to sign the pledge, get more information on the National Movement for America’s Children and to find out how you can get involved in your community.
Quotes from Founding Partners
“Throughout history, progress to advance the cause of society’s most vulnerable members has been made only through the concerted efforts and leadership of committed, passionate advocates and organizations. The establishment of the National Movement for America’s Children marks the beginning of another such effort, with the critical goal of ensuring our nation’s future by ensuring the future of our children. American Humane Association is proud to join with our fellow founding partners to lead this much-needed movement to drive a national strategy that supports the well-being of children and, thus, fosters the development of more humane, compassionate communities that benefit everyone.”
- Robin R. Ganzert, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer, American Humane Association
“Our nation has long articulated its commitment to assuring every child gets a fair chance to live the American Dream. However, children don’t live in isolation – they live in families and communities. Ensuring children have the opportunity to thrive often requires assisting their families and neighborhoods. We are honored to be a founding member of the National Movement for America’s Children because it highlights that we’re all in this together. Helping a child, a family, or an individual also helps the nation be healthier, stronger and more prosperous. It’s a win-win to which we all need to Awaken.”
- Rutledge Q. Hutson, Director of Child Welfare Policy, Center for Law and Social Policy
“Public understanding of proactive ways to promote healthy child development is a critical way to make children and families a national priority.”
- Linda Spears, Vice President of Policy and Practice, Child Welfare League of America
"The National Alliance of Children’s Trust and Prevention Funds is pleased to be a Founding Partner in this national discussion about how we will collectively ensure that ALL of our nation’s children have the opportunity to reach their potential while nurtured by strong families and communities."
- Teresa Rafael, Executive Director, The National Alliance of Children's Trust and Prevention Funds
“Children’s well-being is one of the civil rights issues of our time. The purpose of this movement is to give people who care about children a way to make their voices heard – we hope to make citizens care as much about all of America’s children as they care about their own. There are millions of us who believe that investing in children today is an investment in their future – and ours.”
- Bill Bentley, president and CEO, Voices for America’s Children
“ZERO TO THREE is pleased to be a founding partner in the National Movement for America’s Children. We know the ingredients children need to flourish, starting from birth: good health, strong families, and positive early learning experiences that help them explore their world. And we know far too many children start life and grow up without these essentials. The Movement offers a unique way to translate our collective knowledge and will as individuals and communities into actions we can take at every level to help all children reach their potential. How we are cared for and nurtured as young children profoundly shapes who we will become. In joining together to nurture and care for all children, we in turn shape our society’s future.”
- Matthew E. Melmed, Executive Director, ZERO TO THREE, National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families