'State Of America's Children/Youth' Is Discouraging

WASHINGTON, Feb. 11, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- As the President prepares to deliver the State of the Union Address tomorrow night, advocates are delivering a "discouraging" assessment of the "State of the Union" for children and youth.

"The 'State of the Union' for America's Children/Youth is discouraging," said Alan Houseman, Chairman of the Children's Leadership Council (CLC), the nation's largest coalition of child and youth organizations, based in Washington, DC. "The 'State of America's Future' is tied to the well-being of our children both now and in the future. Our leaders need to address the issues raised in Hear Our Voice."

To set a children/youth agenda for the new term, CLC and SparkAction produced a video ("Hear Our Voice") recently that features the unscripted voices of youth, aged 5 to 25, telling the President what needs to be fixed now. Click here for video.

The kids argue that college affordability, gun control, hunger, health care, and education need to be addressed by the President. In America today:

  • One in five children go hungry every day;
  • 22% live in poverty;
  • Nearly 700,000 are abused or neglected every year; yet, nearly 40 percent of the children whose maltreatment is substantiated receive no services – not home visiting, therapy, foster care or anything else;
  • Nearly 10% do not have health insurance (7 million);
  • Nearly two-thirds of fourth-graders and more than two-thirds of eighth graders cannot read or do math at grade level;
  • Only 14% of three-year-olds and 40% of four-year-olds eligible to be served by Head Start are enrolled in early childhood education programs;
  • Two-thirds of students with four-year bachelor's degrees graduate with an average student loan debt of more than $25,000, and 1-in-10 borrowers now graduate owing more than $54,000;
  • In 2012, Congress spent about 8% of the budget on children.

"Every child deserves a chance at a healthy, successful life, regardless of economic circumstances," said Caitlin Johnson, co-founder & managing director of SparkAction, a journalism and advocacy site to mobilize action by and for young people. "As President Obama lays out his plans for the next four years, we hope this video will continue to raise awareness of issues that concern young people and give them a voice in Washington."

SOURCE Children's Leadership Council

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