A 4-year-old girl reads outside of her home in California.
As a staff member of the Save the Children Action Network (SCAN), I see matters arise every day that have serious impacts on children here and across the world. At SCAN, we advocate for access to affordable, high-quality early childhood education programs, the safety of children at the border and the protection of children living in conflict zones. Though these issues are very different, they all have lasting effects on children and can help change the trajectory of their lives.
For that reason, I know how important it is that we use our voice for kids. They cannot vote, and often they cannot change the circumstances they were born into. So, it’s up to us to represent their needs and make sure our leaders protect, prioritize and invest in kids!
SCAN is certainly not alone in this endeavor. Many organizations are also encouraging leaders in the U.S. and across the world to put children’s needs first.
We asked some of our partners to tell us what issues kids are facing today, and how we, as voters and advocates, can help them. Here is what they said:
“There are 12 million infants and toddlers in this country and each of their brains are developing more rapidly than they will at any later point in their lives. Early experiences shape how their brains develop, laying the foundation for future learning, behavior, and health. Advocates must encourage their leaders to Think Babies and do right by our infants and toddlers by enacting policies and investing in budgets based on sound science. It’s time to make the potential of all babies our national priority.”
– Myra Jones-Taylor, Chief Policy Officer, ZERO TO THREE
“Migration is a vital issue, as more children and families are on the move every year and almost half of the world’s refugees are children. We need to address the root causes of migration and make sure that children are safe in their communities so they are not forced to flee to save their lives. The unaccompanied immigrant and refugee children KIND serves are full of hope and eager for the safety and opportunity that the United States provides. KIND believes we need to invest in representation for all these children so they can fairly navigate the court and other systems to remain in safety. The return on this investment is invaluable—giving children a future and a chance to lead full and productive lives.”
“Though the world has made great progress improving child health, still about 15,000 children under five will die TODAY mostly from preventable causes. Children today also face new challenges: economic and political polarization, environmental change and extreme weather, exposure to violence, massive population movements and online misinformation and abuse. At UNICEF, we believe every child has a right to childhood. As advocates, we must ask our leaders to put children first in their decisions.”
“Children are one-quarter of the American population, but all of our future. Investing in them and their success is a moral obligation, as well as an economic necessity. Nurturing the physical, mental and emotional well-being of children — not just in the U.S., but around the world — promotes peace, stability and a strong global economy. When we secure what they need to succeed, all of us win.”
– Bruce Lesley, President, First Focus on Children
No matter where they are born, every child deserves a chance to survive, thrive, learn and grow. We can make that happen by advocating for their unique needs.