There are moments in time when historic or transformational changes are made by our nation’s leaders to really make a difference for children and families in this country. If President Biden’s just released American Families Plan becomes law, today would be one of those moments.

Unfortunately, the reality we face is that children are often merely an afterthought of election officials, as kids do not vote, do not make campaign contributions or operate a Political Action Committee (PAC), and do not employ a team of lobbyists to demand that lawmakers hear their concerns and address their needs.

To overcome these…


Thanks to the South Florida Sun Sentinel editorial for highlighting significant concerns with a so-called “Parents’ Bill of Rights” (HB 241) that passed the Florida Senate this week and is now on the way to Gov. Ron DeSantis for either his signature or veto.

The Governor should veto this legislation because of its numerous problems and flaws. Instead, the Governor should form a special advisory committee that actually includes children and youth in the discussion about their health, education, and well-being. Kids, after all, might just have something to say about their own lives and future.

At the outset, let’s…


Children in the wealthiest nation in the world should not be living in poverty. And yet, 1 in 6 children in the United States do. The negative consequences that even short stints in poverty have on the health, education, and well-being of children is enormous. The National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) issued a report in 2019 that highlighted an estimated cost of child poverty to the nation of between $800 billion and $1.1 trillion annually.

In contrast, during the 1960s, the U.S. embarked on a “War on Poverty” that successfully cut poverty among senior citizens in this…


Every aspect of the lives of children and families are being negatively impacted by this global pandemic and economic recession. Our kids are NOT alright.

To ensure the full needs of our children are addressed as our nation attempts to “Build Back Better,” we need a Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that understands the full-array of challenges and issues facing our nation’s children and families.

That person is Xavier Becerra.

Over the years, I have had the pleasure of working with Xavier Becerra and his staff on issues related to health care coverage, public health…


No child should live in poverty in a country with the wealth of ours. Yet, there were 12 million children in the United States living in poverty in 2019. Children were more than 50 percent more likely to live in poverty than adults. In a great nation, there is simply no excuse for this.

The following chart from the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution further highlights the disproportionate impact of poverty upon children.


A 2020 election-eve survey of voters by Lake Research Partners reflects a divided nation on politics but finds American voters bridge that divide in their common support of a better life for children.

This vision includes ensuring that the “best interests” of children (81–13 percent support) govern decision-making involving them, an independent Children’s Commissioner is established (65–26 percent) “to protect and improve the care and well-being of children,” and that Congress and the President will work together to address issues such as cutting child poverty in half (70–20 percent) and covering all children (85–12 percent) with health insurance coverage.

While…


This election is a historic one in many respects, but we should all pause and reflect upon how Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, the daughter of two immigrants, will be the first female vice president, the first Black and first Indian American vice president, and her husband with be the first Second Man in the history of this country.

It is ridiculous and unacceptable that it took our nation 244 years to put a woman in one of the top two positions of leadership in this country, but it will be an incredible moment when think about how both Vice President…


In a just released Us Kids documentary by director Kim A. Synder focused on the high school students that survived the February 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, the failure of adults to protect, see, and actual hear our young people is clear, disturbing, and heart-breaking.

The Stoneman Douglas kids, who were preparing for prom, graduation, summer camps, summer jobs, and college, were left begging, pleading, pushing, urging, and demanding justice for their friends and teachers whose lives were taken right before their eyes on Valentine’s Day.

The documentary grants children their voice in a…


by Sandy Santana and Bruce Lesley

Public discourse in this election year has largely ignored the plight of our nation’s children. Debates and position platforms have glossed over what the COVID-19 pandemic has meant for their stability and well-being. And despite a new study released last week finding that poverty has grown by six million people in the past three months, with circumstances worsening most for Black people and children, candidates and elected officials have remained largely silent.

Even as the virus has devastated the health and economic well-being of many of our communities, we’ve acted like children are immune…


The law and the impact it has on the lives of children is critical to those who are:

  • abused and neglected,
  • victims of a crime,
  • caught in a custody battle between parents,
  • living in fear because of gun violence,
  • concerned about global warming,
  • accused of a crime,
  • subjected to corporal punishment,
  • victims of human trafficking,
  • denied access to services by adults that dismiss or fail to address their needs,
  • denied self-determination, agency, and inclusion in society by adults that dismiss their voice,
  • punished for the actions or status of their parents, or
  • discriminated against because of their race, ethnicity, gender…

Bruce Lesley

@BruceLesley — President of @First_Focus & @Campaign4Kids. Child advocate, husband & father of 4. Basketball fanatic. Follow on Twitter: @BruceLesley.

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