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Every Child Matters Education Fund December 21, 2008 4:01 PM

As part of President-elect Obama's plan to hit the ground running on January 20, transition teams have been meeting to advise the new administration on a wide variety of topics-national security, the economy, agriculture, etc. Last Friday, Every Child Matters president Michael Petit sent the letter below to the transition team members who deal with children's issues. It calls for a 10 year, $500 billion investment in a wide variety of proven children, youth, and family programs. It makes reference to two ECM reports--Homeland Insecurity and Geography Matters--documenting lagging federal investments in children's programs.

You can help reinforce this message to the transition team by e-mailing your own thoughts about the importance of investing in children to the incoming administration.

During the campaign, President-elect Obama routinely referenced the need for new investments in children. The front page of this morning's New York Times prominently features a story about the likelihood of the new President's plans to seek major spending for early learning and other programs for children. Read the article and forward it to your colleagues.

Finally, you can help us run an invest-in-kids advertisement in January aimed at the new president, and get a free ECM T-shirt, by making a tax-deductible contribution to ECM. Please, make your donation today. Thank you for your help. We look forward to working with you in the coming year.

Our letter to the administration:

To: Transition Team Members
From: Michael Petit
Subject: Investments in Children

December 12, 2008

We are writing to ask that President-elect Obama's stimulus/recovery package and first budget include new federal investments in a wide range of children, youth and family services. Since 2001, over 20,000,000 children have been reported abused or neglected, an additional million children live in poverty, there have been few gains in child health insurance coverage, and Head Start enrollment remains flat.

As the economic crisis continues to unfold, more children are swept into harm's way. As parents become unemployed, children lose access to health insurance. Their families may no longer be able to afford pre-kindergarten and after-school programs-even regular meals or their homes. State revenues, staggering under the recession, are forced to cut health, education, and even child protection.

We have attached two of our most recent publications, Homeland Insecurity and Geography Matters, which document how lagging federal investments are harming children.

They show that the United States now ranks a poor 20th out of 21 rich democracies in child well being, and ranks highest in infant mortality and lowest in life expectancy among the G7 nations. Even children within the United States are not guaranteed an equal chance. According to Geography Matters, a child born in Mississippi is 3 times more likely to live in poverty than a child born in Maryland, a child in Texas in 2006 is 5 times more likely to be uninsured than her counterpart in Rhode Island, and a child in Wyoming is 8 times more likely to be incarcerated than one in Vermont.

Just as President-elect Obama plans to rebuild and repair the nation's roads, bridges and buildings as a means of driving economic growth, so too should new investments in children be made to shore up a struggling economy. The Every Child Matters Education Fund is asking for investments to be made in the alleviation of child poverty, the prevention of child abuse, universal provision of high quality early learning and afterschool programs, and universal access to comprehensive health care for children. We believe the magnitude of these problems warrants $500 billion in new investments over a ten year period.

We would welcome a meeting with members of the transition team to discuss the issue.

Thank you,
Michael Petit
President
Every Child Matters

Thank you for your help to make children a political priority!

Please direct any questions to ECM@everychildmatters.org

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