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The State of the American Child Posted

Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) is hosting a series of hearings, beginning today, on “The State of the American Child.”  According to the Hartford Courant, “The hearings will be sweeping in scope, touching on every aspect of childhood, from birth to adulthood.  The goal is to provide a comprehensive look at the issues faced by children and families so that Congress can draft legislation to address their needs.”

Though that sounds a bit vague, there’s no need to worry about whether or not Dodd’s intentions are good.  The senator helped launch the Senate’s Children Caucus in 1983, which ”championed early childhood education, funding for child care programs” and helped pass the Family and Medical Leave Act law in 1993, allowing workers time off to care for a new baby or a sick relative.

Dodd, whose days in the senate will end in January, says he’s most enjoyed “working on the children’s issues, child care, family leave … after-school [programs], Head Start. Those issues have given me the greatest sense of satisfaction from a public policy standpoint.”

Dodd said in his opening remarks today that “while Head Start has proven to be effective in preparing kids for kindergarten, it serves less than half of eligible children, and Early Head Start serves only 6 percent of eligible kids.”  He hopes to change that. 

While illuminating what he believes to be “children’s issues,” Dodd said, “every 101 minutes, a child in the United States dies from an unintentional injury, such as a vehicle crash or a fire, making it the leading cause of death and disability for children ages 1 to 14 in the United States.” 

So, Dodd announced, he plans to “introduce legislation to create a national commission on children, in order to regularly and closely examine the needs of American families and identify solutions.” 

source

Tags: children
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