Children's Initiatives (May 2010)

Making the DREAM Act a reality

The Arizona law recently signed by Gov. Jan Brewer would require police to check the immigration status of an individual if there is “reasonable suspicion” the person is an undocumented immigrant. Like former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and former Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano, I have serious concerns about the fairness and constitutionality of the Arizona law.

We must find the political will to save lives of millions of children, mothers

Last year’s G8 Global Health Experts Report had an important but understated sentence in it: Women and children are among the most vulnerable groups, and progress toward the Millennium Development Goals related to maternal, newborn and child health remains too slow.

All federal buildings should have facilities for changing babies

We have all walked into a bathroom and seen a parent struggling to change a child perched precariously atop a sink, or kneeling on the bathroom floor while trying to stay out of the way of others.  Areas such as public benches, office floors and even lunch tables are sometimes used as makeshift baby changing stations when a desperate parent cannot find a suitable location. The problem for these parents is that too often there isn’t a suitable location available, forcing parents to change their children in entirely unsanitary and potentially dangerous conditions. Not only does this put babies at risk, but it endangers the health of the baby and caregiver, not to mention the health of others.

Choice is the key to building stable foster care system

This past Mother’s Day, my family and I had the privilege of welcoming a reporter and camera into our home from the local CBS affiliate in Minnesota. They were doing a piece commemorating the special day, and as a mom to five biological children and 23 foster children, I suppose I offered them a unique perspective. When I think of Mother’s Day, I usually think of my own mother; honoring her and honoring my grandmothers. Fortunately, my husband and I have had the incredible opportunity to follow in their footsteps and raise children of our own.

Expand the child tax credit

At long last, after a recession of frightening duration and historic intensity, we are starting to see some shafts of light break through the economic clouds. Given that GDP has now grown for three quarters in a row, and given Friday’s announcement that 290,000 jobs were created in April – the fourth month in a row of job creation and the most new jobs seen in America since 2006 – we now have some clear indications recovery is beginning to take hold.

Tackle obesity and we lower healthcare costs

Childhood obesity is a national problem approaching epidemic proportions. This unprecedented rise in obesity directly correlates to a decrease in physical activity. Helping children adopt a healthier lifestyle now will give them a better chance to live a long and productive life. And, given the attention to public health and health care services, healthier children will save $190 billion per year spent on treating obesity-related diseases. Left unaddressed, seven in 10 Americans will die from chronic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, obesity and hypertension.