Friday, February 29, 2008

Hillary Clinton takes a stand on child poverty

Some of you may know that I am an Obama supporter, but I must admit that I was glad to see this post by Senator Clinton in the Huffington Post today. She is taking a stand against child poverty and setting some very tangible goals: to end child hunger by 2012 and to cut child poverty in half by 2020. I assume she is only talking about poverty in the US. While it is not as bold as Edwards' goals and it doesn't address global poverty, it is still a step in the right direction. It puts poverty back in the national debate where it should be. So...let's see what happens!

(C'mon, Obama...step it up!)

The Huffington Post
Posted February 28, 2008 | 07:07 PM (EST)

Marian Wright Edelman, my friend and founder of the Children's Defense Fund, says it best: "If we don't stand up for children, then we don't stand for much."

In my 35 years as an advocate for children and families, I have never met a child without potential. But I've met plenty of children growing up in extraordinary hardship and lacking the basic tools they need to succeed. Even in the United States, the wealthiest nation in the world, 13 million children still live in poverty and 5 million live in extreme poverty. Too many children are expected to overcome these hurdles, become productive citizens, and compete in a modern global economy without the benefit of sound schooling, decent housing, proper nutrition, and adequate health care.

This is not just an economic problem. It's a moral outrage.

I've been working to better the lives of children for 35 years, and the future of America's children will be a centerpiece of my presidency. The issue is personal for me. My own mother struggled through a childhood of neglect to give her own children the opportunities she never had. My mother taught me at a young age that all children deserve the chance to live up to their God-given potential and make the most of their lives.

For the better part of my professional and public life, I've focused on issues like children's health care, education, foster care and adoption, child care, and education -- all of which have a direct impact on children and their families. I took an extra year in law school to study child development and to work on legal assistance for the poor. Then I went to work for the Children's Defense Fund, where I represented abused and neglected children and children with disabilities. In Arkansas, I was tasked with leading an effort to reform the state's education system, then ranked near the bottom. I started a special program for mothers of pre-schoolers to get their kids ready for kindergarten, and also worked on reforming the state's rural health care system, which helped many poor families and their children. As First Lady, I pushed the effort to expand Head Start and help create Early Head Start, to reform our nation's foster care and adoption systems, and to strengthen child care across the United States.

After universal health care didn't succeed, I helped create the Children's Health Insurance Program, which now covers six million children in need.

Running for president has only strengthened my resolve to find solutions to problems affecting our children. In southern Ohio today, I announced a plan to take on child poverty -- and to end the moral outrage of children living in such neglect.

I have two bold goals: First, we're going to end child hunger by 2012. It's a national crisis and a national disgrace that more than 12 million children in America go hungry every day. I will do everything I can to reduce that number to zero.

Second, we're going to cut child poverty in half by 2020, lifting more than 6 million children above the poverty line.

You can learn the full details of my plan on my website.

These goals are ambitious, but we can -- and must -- achieve them. Child poverty is an affront to our most basic American values. Indeed, our treatment of children is a measure of our decency, compassion, and humanity as a people. It's time for the best of America -- our talent, innovative spirit, and potential for progress -- to be reflected in our children. The children of America are a national treasure -- and a national responsibility. Securing their future will be at the heart of my presidency.

1 comment:

VC said...

Hillary has done some amazing work against poverty over the years. You have to remember how poor Arkansas was in the 70's when she became 1st Lady there. Arkansas had entire areas without plumbing or sewer systems. She brought nurses into poor rural areas and she changed the education system in Arkansas from one of the worst in the US to being considered a model school program.

The Clinton Foundation has helped millions in child poverty and is expected to reach approximately 75 million kids in 10 years. That's huge.

In the Senate, Hillary has proposed many bills. One links local farmers to poor communities making healthy food more readily affordable. Others increase food stamps, expand the food bank, enlargens the school lunch program. But I think the wisest programs she supports are the ones that get people out of poverty permenantly. In the 90s she was a proponant of Early Head Start, and now pushes an extended Kindergarten for low-income kids to get them into free pre-school programs earlier, giving them a better chance at succeeding at school and in life.

She has been trying to pass a bill she created called the Education for All, which would give $10 billion toward schools and meal programs in poor countries all over the world. Hillary believes that the best chance you can give a child is love and a good education. And that with education we will see entire communities and countries raise themselves out of poverty, that education is the difference between poverty and potential.