Tuesday, September 16, 2008

America's leading thinkers propose innovative new ideas for investing in America's children and the nation's future - Check it out.

A selection of America’s leading thinkers, including a Nobel laureate, award winning economists, researchers, and other notable experts have come together to provide 22 innovative new proposals for dramatically improving the lives of America’s children.

The publication, entitled Big Ideas for Children: Investing in Our Nation’s Future, is a compilation of creative solutions to once again increase the federal investment in children. The book has been published by First Focus, a bipartisan children’s advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C.

Included within Big Ideas are blueprints for major new initiatives to improve the health, well-being, education, and economic status of American children.

“The willingness of some of the most influential thought leaders in American to contribute to this compilation illustrates the universal recognition among them that children are not a major priority at the federal level, and that we must place a renewed focus on investments in our children,” said Bruce Lesley, President of First Focus. “As a nation, we are standing at a critical juncture. The upcoming presidential and Congressional elections present a critical opportunity to bring forth a new series of big ideas for public policies designed to improve the lives of children in the United States. Now is the time for policymakers to make dramatic changes in our national policy toward kids. A lack of investment at this critical juncture will ensure that our nation’s children will not be able to live up to their full potential.”

The compilation features reports from thought leaders such James M. Hmurovich, CEO & President, Prevent Child Abuse America who identifies the six basic steps necessary in order to promote a change in the manner we develop, implement and sustain public policies that focus on child and family well-being

Included in the book are proposals to assist families struggling to cope with rapidly increasing health and child care costs while gas and food prices surge, such as a large-scale expansion of the Child Tax Credit and increased investments in early childhood programs. In addition, comprehensive overhauls of our health, education, and child welfare, systems are proposed, to improve the well being and academic attainment of our nation's children.

"We are honored to have contributed to the development of Big Ideas for Children: Investing in Our Nation's Future from First Focus," says Hmurovich, "because we welcome any opportunity to discuss how we can change the way the nation thinks about the prevention of child abuse and neglect. There is nothing more important than our children being raised in loving, nurturing and stable environments and we want to thank First Focus for taking the lead on this important discussion."

Over the past five years, the federal government has seen investments in children decline while other discretionary spending has grown dramatically. These papers have been written in an effort to highlight the growing need to end the neglect and instead act in the interest of our nation's children in federal public policy.

Lesley added, “History has shown that significant achievements in federal policy for children typically happen in the first year after a president is elected. We believe this is our moment to raise the visibility of children and youth on the national policy front, address challenges, generate solutions, and formulate big ideas to respond to the needs of our children.”

Other proposals encompass various issue areas, including poverty, child health, early childhood, education, home and community, child welfare, and child safety. The book was published with support from The Atlantic Philanthropies, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Casey Family Programs, The Joyce Foundation, The Pew Charitable Trusts, and the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

For more information, please visit First Focus' website here.

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