120+ Advocacy Groups Endorse Children’s Bill of Rights
The resolution, recently introduced by Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.), Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.) and Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.), would establish a national Children’s Bill of Rights recognizing that every child is entitled to:
- Basic needs such as shelter, clothing and food;
- Protection from abuse and/or neglect, access to medical treatment;
- Educational supports and opportunities;
- Representation by attorneys and advocates in legal proceedings;
- Rehabilitative services if detained or incarcerated; and
- Protections from unsafe child labor.
“The Children’s Bill of Rights is an important step forward in federal recognition that children are entitled to basic rights and protections that promote their physical, social and emotional well-being. In addition, it promotes access to education and other opportunities that enhance their life skills to ensure the healthy development of all children in the United States,” said the groups in a letter sent to Congress.
Endorsing organizations include the American Federation of Teachers, Child Labor Coalition, Child Welfare League of America, First Focus Campaign for Children, Kids in Need of Defense (KIND), and National PTA.
The United States stands alone as the only nation that has not ratified the U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child and lacks a comprehensive framework governing the rights of children.
“The United States has no framework governing the rights of our children to ensure their basic needs are being met. That is shameful,” said Bruce Lesley, President of First Focus Campaign for Children. “The rights of the child should be our first thought every time we make a decision about their well-being.”
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The First Focus Campaign for Children is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization affiliated with First Focus, a bipartisan children’s advocacy organization. The Campaign for Children advocates directly for legislative change in Congress to ensure children and families are the priority in federal policy and budget decisions. For more information, visit campaignforchildren.org.