News

New Bill Aims to Improve Student Achievement by Strengthening School-Community Partnerships

WASHINGTON D.C. – Today, Representative Dave Loebsack (I-IA) introduced the Working to Encourage Community Action and Responsibility in Education (We CARE) Act (H.R. 2565). By amending Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the bill requires states and local educational agencies to assess the nonacademic factors affecting student academic performance. They then must work with other public, private, nonprofit, and community-based entities to address those factors.The WE CARE Act also requires annual report cards issued by states and local education agencies to include additional performance data, including information on their efforts to increase community and parent involvement in...

House Approves Drastic Cuts to Nutrition Supports for Low-income Children and Mothers

Washington D.C. – Yesterday, the United States House of Representatives approved devastating cuts to important nutrition supports for hundreds of thousands of low income infants, children, and pregnant and postpartum women by passing the fiscal year 2012 House Agriculture Appropriations bill.The bill drastically slashes funding for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), resulting in low-income women, infants, and children losing much needed nutrition assistance. Ironically, these cuts will force more people to rely on local charities for food assistance, yet at the same time, the legislation reduces support for emergency food providers, such as food...

Congresswoman Roybal-Allard Introduces Critical Legislation to Protect U.S. Farmworker Children

Washington D.C. – Today, Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) introduced legislation to protect hundreds of thousands of children employed in agriculture work from working longer hours, at younger ages, in more hazardous conditions than children in other working sectors. The legislation amends the Fair Labor Standards Act (FSLA) by correcting inequities in current labor law.Entitled the Children’s Act for Responsible Employment (CARE), the legislation was introduced at a press conference this morning where Representative Roybal-Allard was joined by actress and activist Eva Longoria, who is also the executive producer of a new documentary The Harvest/La Cosecha.Bruce Lesley, president of bipartisan...

First Focus Hails Introduction of Landmark Early Childhood Bills

Washington D.C. - Yesterday, Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) unveiled his two landmark pieces of legislation that will help young children get the social, emotional, and cognitive development and learning they need to succeed. The two bills, The Starting Early, Starting Right Act (S. 1155), and The Prepare All Kids Act (S. 1156) were co-sponsored by Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee on Children and Families, who promised a prompt hearing in the subcommittee and her full support in pushing these bills forward.The bills were announced at a press conference co-sponsored by Senators...

Child Advocates Urge Congress to Reject the State Flexibility Act

Washington D.C. - Today, the First Focus Campaign for Children urged Members of Congress to reject the State Flexibility Act (H.R. 1683/S. 868), legislation that will put at risk the health coverage of an estimated 14 million children and fundamentally reverse the enormous progress our nation has made in reducing the number of uninsured children.The State Flexibility Act would repeal a provision of the health reform law that requires states to maintain current eligibility and enrollment requirements for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Without this so-called “Maintenance of Effort” (MOE) provision, scores of children currently covered...

The Secondary School Reentry Act Provides Avenue to Reengage Disconnected Youth

Washington D.C. – Senator Bernard Sanders (I-VT) introduced the Secondary School Reentry Act. The bill will amend the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) to increase the role of State and local educational agencies in implementing secondary school reentry programs that focus on reengaging young people who are disconnected from both the education system and the workforce.“We commend Senator Sanders for demonstrating his support of youth by introducing the Secondary School Reentry Act,” said Bruce Lesley, President of the First Focus Campaign for Children, a bipartisan advocacy organization. “This legislation will create an avenue to meet the diverse needs of...

House Approves Legislation that Cuts Children from Health Coverage

Washington D.C. - Today, the First Focus Campaign for Children expressed strong opposition to the legislation approved by the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee that will significantly increase the number of children without health insurance. The State Flexibility Act (H.R. 1683) would repeal a provision of the health reform law that requires states to maintain current eligibility and enrollment requirements for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Without this so-called “Maintenance of Effort” (MOE) provision, an estimated 14 million children currently covered by either Medicaid or CHIP could be dropped from coverage.While the legislation seeks to secure some...

DREAM Act Provides a Brighter Future for Hundreds of Thousands of Children

Washington D.C. – Today, Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Harry Reid (D-WV), and Robert Menendes(D-NJ) along with Representatives Howard Berman (D-CA) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) introduced the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act. The bill would provide undocumented students who have grown up in the United States with the opportunity to earn permanent legal status by meeting certain requirements, including completing two years of college or military service.Bruce Lesley, President of the First Focus Campaign for Children, issued the following statement:“We are pleased to see Senators Durbin, Reid, and Menendez and Representatives Berman and Ros-Lehtinen demonstrating their steadfast...

American Voters Oppose Proposal to Eliminate State Medicaid Requirements

Washington D.C. - Today, the First Focus Campaign for Children expressed deep concern about legislation introduced yesterday to eliminate state Medicaid requirements, which will put 14 million children at risk of losing access to coverage through Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Representative Phil Gingrey (R-GA) introduced bicameral legislation yesterday to repeal a provision of the health reform law that requires states to maintain current eligibility and enrollment requirements for Medicaid and CHIP. This so-called “Maintenance of Effort” ( MOE) provision ensures that children and other vulnerable populations currently eligible for and covered by...

Senator Rockefeller Joins Child Advocates in Commemorating the 20th Anniversary of a Critical Report on America’s Kids

Washington D.C. – Today, policymakers and child advocates are recognizing the impact of a critical report on the state of our nation’s children released 20 years ago this month. The final report of the National Commission on Youth, released on May 1, 1991, led to the enactment of the Earned Income Tax Credit, the Child Tax Credit, and the creation of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), among other important initiatives.The National Commission on Children was formed in 1989 at the direction of Congress and the President to “serve as a forum on behalf of the children of the Nation.”...