One-hundred-and-twenty members of Congress made children a priority in 2021, according to a new analysis by First Focus Campaign for Children, achieving the best results for our nation’s children in decades.

Lawmakers in the first year of the 117th Congress achieved the largest investment in our nation’s children since First Focus on Children began tracking the measure 16 years ago. Legislation passed in response to the coronavirus pandemic — including the improved Child Tax Credit — increased the share of federal spending on children from 7.64% to a historic 11.15%.

“The members of Congress in our scorecard showed a real commitment to our nation’s children, making long overdue investments in family economics, education, early childhood, child care, family medical leave, child nutrition, health care and other areas that affect their well-being,” said Bruce Lesley, president of First Focus Campaign for Children. “These investments cut child poverty nearly in half, significantly reduced childhood food insecurity, offered more children health care and improved every aspect of our children’s lives. We hope that the Champions and Defenders of Children in Congress will renew these commitments — and inspire their colleagues to follow suit — even as the national emergency winds down. We must make such care for our children the norm, not the exception.”

First Focus Campaign for Children identifies 40 Senators and 80 members of the House of Representatives from both parties as “Champions” or “Defenders” of children in its 2021 Legislative Scorecardreleased today. Champions and Defenders earned their title by repeatedly using their legislative power to prioritize the well-being of our nation’s children — sometimes against the instruction of their party leadership. Our report also identifies the eight worst performing lawmakers, individuals whose votes and decisions actively harm children.

FFCC’s 2021 Legislative Scorecard ranks policymakers according to votes and bill sponsorships taken during the first half of the 117th Congress (2020-2021) that prioritize the well-being of our nation’s children. The new report examines key pieces of legislation on children’s mental and physical health, child hunger, homelessness, and poverty, treatment of immigrant children, environmental dangers to children, global child malnutrition and education issues, and other issues critical to advancing the needs of our children and the families who care for them.

Some key takeaways from the 2021 Scorecard:

  • Women were more than twice as likely as men to be Champions or Defenders.
  • Lawmakers from the Northeast are most likely to be Champions or Defenders.
  • Lawmakers from the Southwest and Plains states are least likely to be Champions or Defenders.

Percentage of delegations who are Champions or Defenders breaks along regional lines:

  • 40% of lawmakers from the Northeast are Champions or Defenders
  • 27% of lawmakers from Western states are Champions or Defenders
  • 14% of lawmakers from the Midwest are Champions or Defenders
  • 13% of lawmakers from the Southeast are Champions or Defenders.
  • Just 7% of lawmakers from the Southwest and Plains states are Champions or Defenders

Please view and download the full report at